One of the most perceptive comments on the original article by BlackOwl18E:
“Guess what the USN is also looking at guys? The USN admitted that they are now seriously considering adding the conformal fuel tanks to the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. Tests for them are scheduled this summer.
What I find funny is the fact that they said the conformal tanks might cause a decrease in aerodynamic performance for the Super Hornet and that they may need to buy the EPE engines with a 20% increase in thrust to compensate for it. Sounds like they are looking for excuses to buy the other upgrades too. The AMC Type 4 is also being funded for by the USN and it is the exact same computer that the Super Hornet would need for a glass ****pit display.
In other words, the USN has now made significant moves toward three of the upgrades from the International Road Map program. Boeing better be smart about this and start independently funding the development for these immediately so it’s as easy on the USN as possible. The USN is going to have a hard time as it is trying to pull funding away from the F-35 black hole to get this done.
The fact that they are funding the Super Hornet upgrades and the UCLASS during sequestration show where their tac air values are. The Navy even supposedly tried to get out of the F-35 program, but failed and ended up getting stuck with buying the jet in order to counter cost increases in the others. The CNO practically said that we are now only buying them so the other models don’t increase in cost.
Further to this post, and the link at the end,
more details (with video), using their own money:
Navy plans to fund four in UCLASS development
The Navy has pushed forward with its intentions to build a carrier-based drone by 2016 with the announcement it plans to fund four companies in the competition to develop it.
Service officials have worked hard to keep the unmanned carrier-launched airborne surveillance and strike (UCLASS) program alive despite threats from budget cuts to include sequestration. The presolicitation is towards raising the necessary funding on Capitol Hill.
The Navy hopes to issue a formal Request For Proposals for the UCLASS this summer. According to a report by Flight Global, the Navy stated in its announcement that Lockheed Martin, Boeing, General Atomics and Northrop Grumman all “have credible, existing, comprehensive UCLASS design solutions, and associated…
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