Strike Fighter Shortfall: Are More Super Hornets The Answer? | Fighter Sweep

For the purposes of full disclosure, I have a duty to inform you all that I am a U.S. Navy (Reserve) F/A-18 Hornet pilot. And while some may remark of a bias because of that, please follow along and draw your own conclusions.

When I read the remarks of the current Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Jonathan Greenert, to Congress about the impending Navy strike fighter shortfall, I couldn’t help but feel that the answer is staring us right in the face: the Navy needs to buy more Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornets as a stop-gap measure until Lockheed-Martin can deliver the F-35C Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter to the fleet.

Originally designed to serve for 6,000 flight hours, the Navy and Marine Corps’ Hornet fleet is well into its prime with over 62% of the fleet already beyond 7,000 flight hours. Instead of reconstituting the fleet with newer aircraft, the Navy has gone “all in” on the Joint Strike Fighter.

via Strike Fighter Shortfall: Are More Super Hornets The Answer? | Fighter Sweep.

Jack argues for 36 more Supers. That’s a good start, but I’d really like to see a two year buy of 36 Supers each year. That covers the shortfall, covers attrition, and may even allow some of the very oldest legacy Hornets retire, all while buying just a bit of cushion for any more slippage in the F-35C program.

Seriously, the Navy has never had too many planes. And Congress is likely to be in a fairly giving mood, even in the face of very tight budgets.

3 thoughts on “Strike Fighter Shortfall: Are More Super Hornets The Answer? | Fighter Sweep”

  1. Then again they could sh*tcan the F-35 debacle, start from scratch and reauthorize the f/a-18 for a few years until they get a plane that DOESN’T seem to mostly suck and cost too much. I am certainly not qualified to have an opinion. but based on everything I’ve read, the f35 seems like the Sgt York of the air Arm. And instead of canning it as a program gone haywire, we’re going full speed ahead.

    Granted that there is nothing that ISN”T F***ed up about new aircraft procurement programs, but the F35 seems to be a buy-in based on smoke and mirrors and sweet promises worth about as much as the Manilla Hooker gave the guys on shore leave last night. -And what about the VTOL variant? God knows the Marines need an upgrade. All we have is a proof of concept? Will it be another AV-8A?

    1. I’m in the minority, but I think the F-35 is going to turn out to be a fairly decent strike aircraft… eventually. And cancelling now and starting over would simply guarantee a repeat of the entire process, with us looking at 2040 as the IOC for any other program. Which, that would mean we would be forced to buy something like 500 more SuperHornets. The problem there is, while the Super is going to be just fine for 90% of first day of war missions, we’ll not have anything for the other 10% that need be done.

  2. Common sense thinking and I agree with all except…replace the word “deliver” with the term “unf_ _k” and this article will be 100%.

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