Super Hornet in Full AB

U.S. NAVY TO UPGRADE ITS F/A-18 SUPER HORNET AND EA-18G GROWLER AIRCRAFT WITH NEW MORE POWERFUL ENGINES

By Dario Leone
Apr 5 2017
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The new engines would increase the F414-GE-400’s power output from 22,000 lbs to 26,400 lbs

As reported by DefenseNews, the U.S. Navy has awarded to General Electric (GE) a $114.8 million contract aimed to install new engines on the service F/A-18 Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler aircraft.

The fixed-price contract provides procurement funding for 28 Lot 20 and 21full-rate production F414-GE-400 engines.

Noteworthy the new engine could be the so called General Electric’s enhanced performance engine (EPE), that would increase the F414-GE-400’s power output from 22,000 lbs to 26,400 lbs. EPE development commenced in 2009 and features several improvements over the standard F414-GE-400, including greater resistance to foreign object damage, reduced fuel burn rate, and potentially increased thrust of up to 20%.

As explained by Department of Defense (DoD), the work will be carried out in several locations: Lynn, Massachusetts, Hooksett, New Hampshire, Rutland, Vermont and Madisonville, Kentucky. Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR), at Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River, Maryland is overseeing the project, that is due to be completed in Feb. 2019.

This print is available in multiple sizes from AircraftProfilePrints.com – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS. F/A-18E Super Hornet VFA-31 Tomcatters, AJ100 / 166776 / 2014

EPE is one of the several improvements that could feature the Advanced Super Hornet.

The aircraft in fact would have a 50% reduction in frontal radar cross-section (RCS), conformal fuel tanks (CFTs), and an enclosed weapons pod (EWP). An Advanced Super Hornet prototype was self-funded by Boeing and Northrop Grumman and its flight tests began on Aug. 5, 2013 and continued for three weeks, testing the performance of CFTs, the EWP, and signature enhancements.

In March 2013, the U.S. Navy was considering the widespread adoption of conformal fuel tanks, which would allow the Super Hornet to carry 3,500 lb (1,600 kg) of additional fuel. Flight testing demonstrated CFTs could slightly reduce drag while expanding the combat range by 260 nautical miles. Boeing stated that the CFTs do not add any cruise drag but acknowledged a negative impact imposed on transonic acceleration due to increased wave drag, hence the EPE development as a mitigating measure.

Advanced Super Hornet

Top image: Photographer’s Mate 3rd Class Bo Flannigan / U.S. Navy

Bottom image: Boeing

Artwork courtesy of AircraftProfilePrints.com


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Dario Leone

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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