Advanced F/A-18F Super Hornet US Navy Strike Aircraft
US Navy, Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet
NOTE: See the Flickr Album Here for all of the high res pictures. Or, click on each individual pic for a slightly higher resolution version
The proposed US Navy Advanced F/A-18F Super Hornet
After producing an outstanding upgrade to the original F-18 Hornet aircraft (from the 1980s) and calling it the F/A-188E/F Super Hornet (E bing the singel seat air superiority fighter and F being the dual seat stike fighter, which came on line in the 1990s and into the 200s, the US Navy now has the opportunity to receive another upgrade to this outstanding ircraft.
The Advanced Super Hornet first flew in 2013 and is being proposed to the navy as both a new build and or an upgrade to any and all Super Hornet aircraft available...this inluded the EA-18G Grwler electronic warfae aircraft that has been produced on the same airframe and replaced the EA-6B Electronic warfare aircraft on US Navy aircraft carriers.
Boeing has done some marvelous work here. The Advanced super hornet has new engines which boost output from 22,000 pounds to 26,400 pounds per engine. They added Conformal fuel tanks which increased the aircraft's combat range by 260 nautical miles while adding 3,500 pounds (1,600 kg) of fuel per fill-up. They added a large, stealth weapons pod under the aircraft that can carry up to six AMRAAM missiles, or numerous combination of weaponry in a stealthy pod. They addded AESA Radar, and they added more stealthy coatings and design that allow the aircraft to operate in a near stealth mode.
All of this will increase and prolong the relevance of these 4th generation aircrat in a 5th generation world dominated by the F-22 and the F-35. In fact, it will allow the Super Hronet, which is already a very effective and dangerous aircraft, to challenege any potetnial argresor nation's own 5th generation aircraft with near stealth and with very pwerful US sensors and weapons.
The Advanced Super Hornet can either be nuilt new, or, as stated, most of the enhancements can be added to any of the over 500 Super Hornets already produced, or to the over 100 EA-18G GRoler electronic aircraft as well.
This is a very useful oportunity for the US Navy and for any other users (ie. Australia) in terms of keeping their Super Hronet fleets relevant and on the cutting edge.
Here are the characteristivs:
Crew: 2 (pilot and weapon systems officer)
The Kit - What's in the Boox: March 12, 2017
There are numerous F/A-18F Super Hornet kits available in 1/72 scale. I have purcahsed and built the Revell Super Hornet F/A-18F, and a HAsegawa EA-18G growler.
This Hasegawa kit is the one and only 1/72 (of any other scale) kit f the Afvnced Super Hronet I am aware of on the market.
HAsegawa is an excellent model maker, and has been for many years. They prodced excellent detail with their kits.
This is basically and F/A-18F kit with additional arts added to produce the F/A-18F Advanced super Hornet, sort of like the Navy would do if they brought iun an F/A-18F to make the change.
Altoghter, there are over 130 parts to the kit, including three resin parts for the conformal fuel kits and the stealth weapns pod.
There is an excellent set of decals represneting Boeing's naval markings in the marketing aircraft, which are very similar to normal F/A-18F markings
The instructions are decent. They provide step by step instructions for the building of the aircraft and the various options. I have seen more intuitive instructions sets. These seem a bit hectic and crowded. Nonetheless, they will suffice just fine and do appear straight forward.
A decent decal and color scheme are included on the last sheets of the instructions for both aircraft, and these, though not in color, or very well done.
The Build - Main fueselage and Air Frame Assembly - March 13, 2017
So, I first cut the attachment points and sprue attachments off of the various parts, leaving only a signle attachemnt for each on the sprue to which it was attached. This helps avoid exccessive touch up painting later. I then painted the various in the various Model Master colors i intend for this aircraft. I used Light Ghost Gray for the lower aircraft and Dark Ghost Gray for the upperr. Flat Black for the darker cockpit surfaces and Weathered Black for the tires and vertical stabilizors. Wheel wells and landing gear are flat white for this model. Once all of this painting was done, it was time to put together the fuselage and main air frame.
Here's how that went:
The Build - Cockpit and Wing supports - March 14, 2017
I put together the cockpit, using the decals in this instance for the instrumentation, and then added the various wing fairing supports.
It is always nice to get the cockpit on these aircraft done. With the stick provided and the fairly decent ejection seats they provide, and then with the instrumentation, you can get a very decent and realistic look.
The Build - Landing gear and engine nozzels - March 15, 2017
I built the landing gear, and then added them to the aircraft, along with the wheels. Once they dried, I added the various details for support structure for the landing gear. I then added the engine nozzles to the rear of the aircraft.
Here's the pictures from that ortion of the build:
The Build - Fuel tanks, Weapons Pod, and adding the decals - March 16, 2017
In this session I built and added the fuel tanks and weapons pod. I am building specifically a long range, stealthy strike version that would give this aircraf abou a 1,000 nm combat radius with some loiter time, using the fuel from the tanks on the outward bound trip and ejecting them when approaching enemy detection range. Then using the internal fuel with the additional conformal tanks for the interdiction and loiter if necessarly, and a mixed strike mode of two AMRAAM missiles for self defense and 2-4 guided munitions inside the od.
That's what this Advanced Super Hornet configuration would provide for.
I then added the fuel tanks and the weapons pods, and then added the decals for the model.
Here's how all of that went:
The Build - Comlpeting the model - March 18, 2017
At this point the model was complete and all that was left was for touch up painting and then adding two coats of clear dull coat.
Here's how she looks
...and some close ups:
...and finally, here are all three of the SUper Hornet aircraft types together, less the single seat Super Hornet, F/A-18E.
So, the F/A-18F. the EA-18G, and the Advanced Super Hornet, up front:
Very nice indeed.
Completed Carrier and ARG groupings:
The completion of the PLAN Carrier group was centered on the already completed Trumpeter's 1/350 scale PLA Navy's Aircraft Carrier CV-16, Liaoning, (in addition to the other escorts already completed) included Mini Hobby's PLAN Guangzhou, DDG-168. I recently pre-ordered a 1/350 scale model of the PLAN Type 071 LPD, Yuzhao Class, announced by Dragon and due out in October, 2013. I will end up adding two of those, probably LPD-998 Yuzhao and LPD-999, Jinggangshan, add the PLAN- DDG-139, Ningbo, and the PLAN DDG-115, Shenyang, along with the PLAN Weifang, FFG-550 and thus build a PLAN ARG.
The completion of the US Carrier Strike group was centered on the completed Tamyia's 1/350 scale USS Enterprise, CVN-65, (in addition to the other escorts already completed) included Dragon's, USS Freedom, LCS-1, Dragon's USS Preble, DDG-88 and Hobby Boss's USS Texas, SSN-775. When a 1/350 scale USS Enterprise, CVN-80 (or any Gerald R. Ford Class) is released from Dragon, Tamiya, Dragon, or whomever else, I will add it to this group along with another AEGIS Cruiser. Whichever Ford Class coms out in 1/350 scale, I will build it as the USS Enterprise, CVN-80.
The US ARG includes Tamiya's 1/350 scale, USS New Jersey, BB-62 (which I have already completed), Gallery's 1/350 scale USS Iwo Jima LHD-7, Gallery's 1/350 scale (already completed), USS New York, LPD-21 (Completed), Cyber Hobby's USS Independence, LCS-2 (Completed), Bronco Model's 1/350 scale USS Coronado, LCS-4 (Completed), a Flight IIA US AEGIS class destroyer based on Dragon's 1/350 scale USS The Sullivans, DDG-68 (Completed), a Ticonderoga AEGIS cruiser (Completed), and a 1/350 scale Orange Hobbies USS Harper's Ferry, LSD-49...all of these models which I already own.
The completion of the UK Group featured the Airfix 1/350 scale HMS Illustrious, R06 as its center piece until a 1/350 scale Queen Elizabeth carrier is released. When that happens, I will add that carrier to the group as its centerpiece. The Royal Navy CSG will also include two Airfix 1/350 scale Daring Class DDGs (one of which is already completed), two Dragon 1/350 scale Type 23 HMS Duke class Frigates (one of which is already completed), and the Hobby Boss 1/350 scale HMS Astute SSN (which is also already completed) and Airfix 1/350 scale HMS Trafalgar SSN. One day, when a 1/350 scale HMS Ocean LPD comes out, I will use it to start building a Royal Navy ARG.
The French CSG is centered on Heller's 1/400 scale Charles De Gaulle, R91. I have purchased the 1/400 scale Heller French De Grasse, D612 DDG, which is an ASW DDG, the French Aconit F713 and Gueprattet F714 Lafayette FFGs, both of which are Lafayette class frigates. These four vessels round out my French CSG and are all completed. As soon as a French Robin class nuclear sub, like the French Pearle S606 SSN is released in 1/350 or 1/400 scale, I will add that to the group. Also as soon as the Forbin D620, Horizon class anti-air DDG is released in 1/350 or 1/400 scale, I will purchase one of them for the AAW defense DDG. One day, when a Mistral Class LPD is released in 1/350 or 1/400 scale so I will create a French ARG.
The completion of the Japanese JMSDF group was centered on Fujimi's very finely detailed, 1/350 scale Hyuga, DDH-181. It will be escorted by Dragon's 1/350 scale DDG-177, Atago, an AEGIS class DDG and the JMSDF, DDG-174, Kongo class (which I own), Dragon’s 1/350 scale DDG-114 Susunami and DDG-111 (both of which are Takinami Class DDGs which I own), and by the 1/350 scale SS-503 Hakuryu (which I own), one of Japans new, very modern and capable AIP Diesel Electric submarines. It also included a Arts Technic 1/350 scale, DDG-116 Teruzuki (Akizuki class) destroyer. Should a 1/350 scale Osumi Class LPD and/or the larger 1/350 Izumo class DDH be released, I will buy those vessels and add them to the group.
Then, finally the Russian CSG (centered on Trumpeter's Kuznetsov which I own) the Russian Kirov Class nuclear battle cruiser (CGN), the Peter the Great, by Trumpeter, the Russian Slava Class cruiser, Varyag by Dragon (which I own), two Dragon 1/350 scale Udaloy DDGs (which I own), Hobby Boss's Akula II class SSN (which I own), and the new Yasen class Russian SSN (which I own), all in 1/350 scale. These are all completed as well. Sometime in the more distant future when a 1/350 scale Russian version of the French Mistral class comes out (which is building in real life right now), I will add two of those and build a Russian ARG.
Recently I purchased Heller's 1/400 scale Foch, the Clemenceau Class carrier that was sold to the Brazilians in 2000 and in 2002 was refitted and became the Brazilian CV, Sao Paulo, using steam catapults. I will build the model as the Sao Paulo and thus start a Brazilian group, though the Type 22 DDGs and the FFGs the Brazilians use are not available at present. I have however purchased a set of 1/400 scale A-4 Skyhawks and S-3 Trackers to build a suitable air wing for the Sao Paulo.
Then, again, once the models are available, I'd like to build an Italian Carrier Strike Group centered on the Cavour and their Horizon DDGs, a Spanish Carrier Strike Group centered on the Juan Carlos and their F-100 AEGIS FFGs, and ultimately an Australian Strike Group centered on the new Canberra Class LPD and the Hobart class AEGIS DDGs. If they ever build the models, an Indian Carrier Strike Group centered on either the Vikramaditya or their new ADS Carrier, the Vikrant, and their Kolkata class DDGs and Shivlak class FFGs would also be nice.
You can see all of these actual carriers, read their histories and specifications at my site:
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