Seeing two F/A-18 in landing configuration approaching my living room window on Tuesday was indication enough that it’s ILA time again. The largest aviation fair (including air show) in Germany is taking place right now in Berlin.
The news are full about some deals being prepared.
It seems like the Luftwaffe is looking for a replacement for it’s aging Tornado fleet. German Tornados have lost ability to participate in NATO operations (no IFF, no Data Link). There are four prospects:
F-15E Strike Eagle
F/A-18 E&F Super hornet
F-35 Lightning II
What do you guys think?
All aircraft are on display. Unfortunately only the Eurofighter will make a dynamic display for sure. I expect the US jets to stay on the ground
There are also talks about a joint development program between France and Germany for a fighter to be finished in 2040…
Not very good for strike in regards to range and weapons integration status
Still expensive unit cost
Stealth ? Sensor fusion? All classified…
Development status and weapons integration
F-15E Mudhen vs F/A-18E/F Super Hornet
Weapons: Mh may have slight edge, both good
Road ops: Super Hornet is the only one in the list that gets somewhat close to Tornado in this regard
Folding wings, specialized nose wheel assembly, carrier specific instruments. You could probably remove the tail hook, but there’s no real point in it. The only “capabilities” I can think of is the structural strengthening, which adds weight, but isn’t necessarily a bad thing to have if you want to operate off less prepared facilities.
Exactly! More weight = less performance (or higher cost due to more sophisticated engines), probably worse fuel fraction, etc. I don’t think that this should be shrugged off as insignificant. IMHO for strictly non-naval warfare, you probably get more bang for your buck with a Mudhen (depending on available options like radar and weapons integration of course).
Somebody left a copy of “Air Force” magazine in the cockpit today. Good article about how the F-22 and F-35 are unable to communicate with each other and unable to send data to the rest of the battlefield - except voice. They can both receive link 16 but cannot transmit. And the cost to ever change that situation was too much for the pentagon. So yeah since NATO uses link 16 extensively the F-35 would be an odd choice.
As a result, Air Force combat communications can become a kind of Tower of Babel. While Raptors can receive over the Link 16 network—the standard across US and NATO aircraft—it can’t transmit over the system. Instead, it uses the F-22-only Intra-Flight Data Link (IFDL). F-35s can transmit on Link 16 to fourth gen jets and talk among themselves using the stealthy Multifunction Advanced Data Link (MADL), a capability the Air Force had planned to install on the F-22 but canceled because of cost about five years ago.
If I understand this correctly the F-22 has IFDL. The F-35 has MALD and Link-16. The MALD cannot talk to Link-16. IFDL can translate Link-16 into IFDL, but not the other way around without a third party transceiver such as TALON HATE or BACN. IFDL and MALD cannot talk to one another.
So tl;dr F-35s can talk to other F-35s, Link-16 aircraft and F-22s because they have two data-links. F-22s can listen to everyone, but cannot talk back.