Boeing F/A-18 Hornet

Aircraft Profile
Canadian CF-188A “917”. Seen at the London, Canada air show 1999.

Development

The F/A-18 Hornet is an all-weather aircraft used as both an attack and fighter aircraft. As a fighter, the Hornet is used as a fighter escort and for fleet air defense. In its attack role, it is used for interdiction and air support.

The F/A-18 Hornet is a twin engine, mid-wing, multi-role tactical aircraft. The F/A-18A and C are single seat aircraft and the F/A-18B and D are two-seaters. While the B aircraft is used mainly for training the D version is the current Navy aircraft performing the forward air control, reconnaissance, tactical air control and attack roles. The latest E and F models were rolled out in September 1995. The E being the single seater.

The F/A-18 Hornet was designed to meet a requirement for a multi-role combat aircraft to replace the ground attack role of the A-7 Corsair, and the air defense and ground attack role of the F-4 Phantom. It also had to be a low cost complement to the F-14 Tomcat and be able to operate from forward airstrips for the US Marine Corps.

The Hornets origins go back to the 1960’s and Northrop’s Light-Weight Fighter project that eventually led to the YF-17 prototype. The YF-17’s first flight was on 9th June 1974. After the YF-16 was chosen by the USAF, US Congress decided to evaluate two aircraft for the Naval Air Combat Fighter (ACF) project. The YF-17 was not initially designed for carrier operation, so Northrop collaborated with McDonnell Douglas to win the competition with General Dynamics and LTV. After modifications by the two companies, the YF-17 became “model 267” and on 2nd May 1975, the US Navy declared the aircraft the winner. It is from this point that the Hornet becomes a McDonnell Douglas aircraft as they were the prime contractors. Originally there were two types – the F-18 and the A-18, but a Defense Systems Acquisition Review decided, on 8th December 1982, to call the aircraft the F/A-18. It is the only aircraft in services with US forces to have a dual designation. On 1st January 1977, Secretary of the Navy, W. Graham Claytor decided to call the F/A-18 “Hornet” after the USN ships with the same name.

The Hornet has been regularly upgraded since entering service in 1983. The first F/A-18’s equipped with night strike capability were delivered in November 1989. Since 1991, they have had F404-GE-402 enhanced performance engines fitted and since May 1994, the Hornet has been fitted with upgraded APG-73 radar.

Canada was the first export customer for the Hornet and it has the largest fleet of Hornets outside the US. The Canadian F/A-18’s are designated CF-188 by that country.

Variants

Requirement Specification: ?
Manufacturers Designation: ?

Development History:
YF-17 First prototype manufactured by Northrop and competed against YF-16 in the USAF competition.
YF-17 model 267 Northrop/McDonnell Douglas joint prototype.
F-18 Initial designation of dedicated fighter version.
A-18 Initial designation of dedicated strike/attack version.
F/A-18 Revised designation when common airframe selected for both fighter and attack missions. McDonnell Douglas led programme.
YF/A-18A Unofficial designation for the first nine single-seat development aircraft.
F/A-18A First model in the Hornet range of single seat fighter attack aircraft.
TF-18A Initial designation of F/A-18B two-seater.
F/A-18B Two seat, dual-control variant of the ‘A’ model. Combat capable but only used for training.
F/A-18L The ‘L’ refers to this being a ‘Land’ variant of the F/A-18A. Northrop led programme. It never went into production.
TF/A-18L Two seat, dual-control variant of the ‘L’ model.
RF-18A Initial designation for F/A-18(R).
F/A-18(R) Planned reconnaissance version of the production F/A-18A, with recce camera system replacing M61A1 cannon in bulged nose. One test aircraft converted. Development cancelled.
CF-18A McDonnell Douglas designation for single seat version for the Canadian Armed Forces. Fitted with spotlight on port side of nose.
CF-188A Canadian Armed Forces designation for single seat version.
CF-18B McDonnell Douglas designation for two seat version for Canada.
CF-188B Canadian Armed Forces designation for two seat version.
AF-18A Single seat version for the R.A.A.F.
AF-18B Two seat version for R.A.A.F. Also referred to as the ATF-18A.
EF-18A Single seat version for the Spanish Air Force. Designated C.15 by the Spanish.
EF-15B Two seat version for the Spanish Air Force. Designated CE.15 in Spain.
F/A-18C Improved and updated version of the ‘A’ model. Revised and updated avionics fit, Martin Baker NACES ejection seat, ability to fire AIM-120 AMRAAM missiles, addition of small strakes on wing LERXs.
F/A-18C Night Attack Improved version with colour cockpit displays, night vision goggles compatible cockpit and external FLIR pod.
F/A-18C Night Attack Late production F/A-18C aircraft (June 1994 onwards) have AN/APG-73 radar in place of the previous AN/APG-65 unit.
F/A-18D Two seat combat capable version of the ‘C’ model.
F/A-18D+ Original designation for F/A-18D Night Attack.
F/A-18D Night Attack F/A-18D with night attack avonics fit from FA-18C Night Attack. Dedicated attack aircraft. Rear cockpit has sidestick weapons controllers in place of control column.
F/A-18D(RC) Reconnaissance Capable version of F/A-18D with wiring for ATARS recce pod. Retains night attack mission capability.
KAF-18C/D Unofficial designation for the F/A-18C and D Hornets supplied to the Kuwaiti Air Force.
F/A-18E Super Hornet Enlarged version of F/A-18C to replace F-14 Tomcat. Lengthened fuselage, larger wing and tailplane, rectangular air intakes for new F404 engines but F/A-18C standard avionics fit.
F/A-18F Super Hornet Two seat combat capable version of F/A-18E.
F/A-18G “Growler” Projected Electronic Warfare version of F/A-18D to replace EA-6B Prowler.

History

Key Dates:
9th June 1974    First flight of YF-17.
2nd May 1975    YF-17 Model 267 declared winner of competition.
1st March 1977    Named “Hornet” by the Secretary of the Navy.
18 November 1978    Maiden flight of first F/A-18A.
May 1980    First deliveries to US Navy operational test and evaluation force.
August 1982    First deliveries to a service unit – VMFA-314.
7 January 1983    VMFA-314 declared operational.
15 August 1984    Maiden flight of F/A-18(R) test aircraft.
3 September 1986    Maiden flight of first F/A-18C.
1 November 1989    Delivery of first F/A-18C Night Attack version.
15 April 1992    Maiden flight of first AN/APG-73 equipped F/A-18C.
1987    ‘Blue Angels’ aerial display team debut with the F/A-18.
29 November 1995    Maiden flight of first F/A-18E Super Hornet.
late 1998    First production delivery of F/A-18E/F to US Navy.
2002    First carrier air wing cruise for F/A-18E/F.
EF/A-18A C.15-36 from Ala 15 of the Spanish Air
Force. (photo, Anthony Noble)

Operators

Military Operators

U.S. Navy & Reserve (31 Sqns with F/A-18A/B/C/D, 2 Sqns with F/A-18E/F)
U.S. Marine Corps & Reserve (21 Sqns. with F/A-18A/C/D)
Australia – Air Force (4 Sqns. with 57 AF-18A and 18 AF-18B)
Canada – Armed Forces (5 Sqns. with 98 CF-188A and 40 CF-188B)
Finland – Air Force (57 F/A-18C and 7 F/A-18D)
Kuwait – Air Force (2 Sqns. with 32 KAF-18C and 8 KAF-18D)
Malaysia – Air Force (8 F/A-18D)
Spain – Air Force (4 Sqns with 60 EF-18A and 12 EF-18B)
Switzerland – Air Force (26 F/A-18C and 8 F/A-18D)

Government Agencies

NASA F/A-18B

Civilian Operators

None  

Specifications

Boeing F/A-18A Hornet
Crew: One (Two in F/A-18B)
Dimensions: Length 56 ft 0 in (17.07 m); Height 15 ft 3.5 in (4.66 m); Wing Span 37 ft 6 in (11.43 m) without wingtip AAMs, 40 ft 4.75 in (12.31 m) with wingtip AAMs; Wing Area 400.00 sq ft (37.16 sq m)
Engines: Two General Electric F404-GE-400 turbofans each rated at 16,000 lb st (71.17 kN) with afterburning
Weights: Empty Equipped 28,600 lb (12,973 kg); Normal Take-off 33,585 lb (15,234 kg) on a fighter mission; Maximum Take-off 48,253 lb (21,888 kg) for an attack mission
Performance: Maximum level speed ‘clean’ 1,033+ kts (1,190 mph, 1915 kph) at high altitude; Maximum rate of climb at sea level 45,000 ft/min (13715 m/min); Combat ceiling 50,000 ft (15,240 m); Ferry range with drop tanks 1,800+ nm (2,073 mls, 3,336 km); Combat radius on a fighter mission 400 nm (460 mls, 740 km) or 575 nm (662 mls, 1065 km) on an attack mission
Armament: M61A1 20-mm Vulcan cannon in the nose with 570 rounds in a drum tank located below the gun and behind the radar. Four AIM-9M Sidewinders carried on the sides of the wing pylons, two on each side. (This arrangement allows a drop tank or bombs to be carried at the same time). Up to 15,500 lb (7030 kg) of bombs, fuel tanks and missiles can be carried on 9 external stores stations – four wing pylons, 2 engine nacelle ‘corner’ stations, one fuselage centre-line hardpoint and one launch rail on each wingtip.
Boeing F/A-18C Hornet
Crew: One (Two in F/A-18D)
Dimensions: Length 56 ft 0 in (17.07 m); Height 15 ft 3.5 in (4.66 m); Wing Span 37 ft 6 in (11.43 m) without wingtip AAMs, 40 ft 4.75 in (12.31 m) with wingtip AAMs; Wing Area 400.00 sq ft (37.16 sq m)
Engines: Two General Electric F404-GE-400 turbofans each rated at 16,000 lb st (71.17 kN) with afterburning or (early 1992+ production) F404-GE-402 turbofans each rated at 17,700 lb st (78.73 kN) with afterburning
Weights: Empty 23,050 lb (10,455 kg); Normal Take-off 36,710 lb (16,652 kg) for a fighter mission or 51,900 lb (23,541 kg) for an attack mission; Maximum Take-off 56,000 lb (25,401 kg)
Performance: Maximum level speed ‘clean’ 1,033+ kts (1,190 mph, 1915 kph) at high altitude; Maximum rate of climb at sea level 45,000 ft/min (13715 m/min); Combat ceiling 50,000 ft (15,240 m); Ferry range with drop tanks 1,800+ nm (2,073 mls, 3,336 km); Combat radius on a fighter mission 400 nm (460 mls, 740 km) or 575 nm (662 mls, 1065 km) on an attack mission
Armament: M61A1 20-mm Vulcan cannon in the nose with 570 rounds in a drum tank located below the gun and behind the radar. Four AIM-9M Sidewinders carried on the sides of the wing pylons, two on each side. (This arrangement allows a drop tank or bombs to be carried at the same time). Up to 15,500 lb (7030 kg) of bombs, fuel tanks and missiles can be carried on 9 external stores stations – four wing pylons, 2 engine nacelle ‘corner’ stations, one fuselage centre-line hardpoint and one launch rail on each wingtip.
Boeing F/A-18E Super Hornet
Crew: One (Two in F/A-18F)
Dimensions: Length 60 ft 1.25 in (18.31 m); Height 15 ft 9.5 in (4.82 m); Wing Span 41 ft 10.25 in (12.76 m) without wingtip AAMs, 44 ft 8.5 in (13.62 m) with wingtip AAMs; Wing Area 500.00 sq ft (37.16 sq m)
Engines: Two General Electric F414-GE-400 turbofans each rated at 22,000 lb st (97.86 kN) with afterburning
Weights: Empty Equipped 30,600 lb (13,880 kg); Maximum Take-off 66,000 lb (29,937 kg)
Performance: Maximum level speed ‘clean’ 1,033+ kts (1,190 mph, 1915 kph) at high altitude; Combat ceiling 50,000 ft (15,240 m); Combat radius on an attack mission 591 nm (681 mls, 1095 km).
Armament: M61A1 20-mm Vulcan cannon in the nose with 570 rounds in a drum tank located below the gun and behind the radar. Four AIM-9M Sidewinders carried on the sides of the wing pylons, two on each side. (This arrangement allows a drop tank or bombs to be carried at the same time). Up to 17,750 lb (8050 kg) of bombs, fuel tanks and missiles can be carried on 11 external stores stations – six wing pylons, 2 engine nacelle ‘corner’ stations, one fuselage centre-line hardpoint and one launch rail on each wingtip.

Production

Design Centre

Head of Design Team: ?
Programme Manager: ?
Design Office: McDonnell Douglas Corporation, St Louis, Missouri.

Manufacture

McDonnell Douglas Aircraft Corporation (MCAir)
(Box 516, St Louis, MO 63166, USA. Later Boeing Military Aircraft)
Version Quantity Assembly Location Time Period
F/A-18A/B EMD 9/2 St Louis, MO 1978-March 1980
F/A-18A 371 St Louis, MO 1980-1986
F/A-18B 40 St Louis, MO 1980-1986
CF-18A 98 St Louis, MO 1982-Sept 1988
CF-18B 40 St Louis, MO 1982-Sept 1988
EF-18A 60 St Louis, MO 1986-1990
EF-18B 12 St Louis, MO 1986-1990
F/A-18C 355 St Louis, MO 1986-1998
F/A-18C Swiss 2 St Louis, MO 1994-1995
F/A-18D 80+ St Louis, MO 1986-1985
F/A-18D Fin 7 St Louis, MO 1994-1995
F/A-18D Malay 8 St Louis, MO 1996-1997
KAF-18C 32 St Louis, MO 1992-Sept 1993
KAF-18D 8 St Louis, MO 1992-Sept 1993
F/A-18E EMD 5* St Louis, MO 1995-1997
F/A-18F EMD 2 St Louis, MO 1995-1996
F/A-18E 500+ St Louis, MO Sept 1997-2015
F/A-18F 500+ St Louis, MO Sept 1997-2015
Total: ?    

* 3 ground test airframes also manufactured.

ASTA – Aerospace Technologies of Australia
(ASTA, Avalon, Victoria, Australia)
Version Quantity Assembly Location Time Period
AF-18A 57* Avalon 1984-1990
AF-18B 18* Avalon 1984-1990
Total: 75    

* First few a/c assembled from St Louis components.

Valmet
(Valmet, Tampere, Finland – later Finavitec)
Version Quantity Assembly Location Time Period
F/A-18C 57* Tampere 1995-2000
Total: 57    

* All aircraft assembled from St Louis components. 7 F/A-18D also supplied direct from St Louis.

F+W
(F+W, Emmen, Switzerland)
Version Quantity Assembly Location Time Period
F/A-18C 24* Emmen 1995-1997
F/A-18D 8* Emmen 1995-1997
Total: 32    

* All aircraft assembled from St Louis components. 2 F/A-18C also supplied direct from St Louis.

Total Produced: 1478 a/c

Production List

Boeing F/A-18 (Super) Hornet
(Last updated April 2001)

More Information

Books

‘How to Fly and Fight in the F/A-18 Hornet – Jane’s At the Controls, No.2.’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by David C. Isby
Published by HarperCollins, Dec 1997 ISBN: 0 00472 009 1
* Pilots-eye view of the F/A-18.

‘F/A-18 Hornet – A Navy Success Story’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Dennis R Jenkins & Shelley Carr
Published by McGraw-Hill Publishing Company, 31 May 2000 ISBN: 0 07134 696 1
* Good development history. Aviation Week Series.

‘Warbird Tech Vol. 31: Boeing F/A-18 Hornet’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Brad Elward
Published by Speciality Press, 5 July 2001 ISBN: 1 58007 041 8
* Detailed development history with extracts from offical technical manuals.

‘McDonnell Douglas F-18 Hornet – A Photo Chronicle’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Bill Holder & Mike Wallace
Published by Schiffer Publishing, April 1997 ISBN: 0 76430 243 4
* Good pictorial history.

‘F/A-18 Hornet Walkaround’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Lindsay Peacock
Published by Squadron/Signal, June 1999 ISBN: 0 89747 401 5
* Close-up pictorial of external and internal features.

‘F/A-18 Hornet and Super Hornet Units in Operation Iraqi Freedom (Osprey Combat Aircraft No.46)’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Tony Holmes
Published by Osprey Publishing, 1 July 2004 ISBN: 1 84176 801 4
* Up-to-date coverage of the F/A-18 in combat.

‘Uncovering The Boeing F/A-18 A/B/C/D Hornet’
by Danny Coremans, Nico Deboeck
Published by Daco Publications, July 2004 ISBN: 9 08067 473 7
* Features 700+ colour photos of internal and external details plus scale drawings.

‘The “Air Forces Monthly” Book of the F/A-18 Hornet’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Tim Senior
Published by Key Books Ltd, 26 May 2003 ISBN: 0 94621 969 9
* Highly illustrated profile with good coverage of history, combat use and operators.

‘World Air Power Journal, Volume 1’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
Published by Aerospace Publishing Ltd, May 1990 ISBN: 1 87402 300 X
* Includes ‘Focus Aircraft’ feature on the F/A-18A/B Hornet.

‘World Air Power Journal, Volume 26’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
Published by Aerospace Publishing Ltd, July 1996 ISBN: 1 87402 382 4
* Includes ‘Focus Aircraft’ feature on the F/A-18C/D Hornet.

‘World Air Power Journal, Volume 42’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
Published by Aerospace Publishing Ltd, Nov 1990 ISBN: 1 86184 051 9
* Includes feature on the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet.

Magazines

To be added.

Links

F/A-18 Hornet
(US Navy Factfile – basic information)

Super Hornet
(Links to some official US Navy info & pics for the F/A-18E/F)

F/A-18 Hornet
(Good overview with specs, pics and links)

F/A-18 Hornet
(Official Boeing F/A-18 page – news, specs, pics etc)

F/A-18 Hornet Project
(Collection of F/A-18 pics)

F/A-18 Hornet
(Boeing photo gallery for F/A-18)

F/A-18E/F Super Hornet
(Defence Technology features of the F/A-18E/F)

U.S. Navy F/A-18 Hornet Wallpaper
(Good quality F/A-18 pics)

McDonnell Douglas
(Military Aviation Photo Gallery – lots of good F/A-18 pics)

Airliners.net
(Lots of “McDonnell Douglas F/A-18” photos)

Airliners.net
(Lots of “Boeing F/A-18” photos)

McDonnell Douglas/Boeing F/A-18 Hornet
(Index page for detailed profile of the F/A-18)

F/A-18 Hornet
(Global Security – good overview of the F/A-18)

Boeing F-18 Hornet
(Links to F/A-18 operators around the world + unofficial information sites)

AXLs Plane Gallery
(Several pages of F/A-18 photos)

F/A-18 Hornet
(Comprehensive and up-to-date profile of the F/A-18)

Shop

Flight Simulator Models:
To be added.

Scale Models:
To be added.

Scale Drawings:
See Daco Publications listed above.

Videos:

‘Sea Wings – The F/A-18 Hornet’ [Order this video from Amazon UK]
DD Video, B00004CS0H, Catalogue Number: DD1225
* 50 minute documentary on the US Navy F/A-18.

Lockheed Martin/Boeing F-22 Raptor

Aircraft Profile
Head-on view of a F-22A Raptor
over Edwards AFB. (photo, USAF)

Development

The F-22 Raptor will become the replacement for the F-15 Eagle air-superiority fighter. It combines a stealth design with highly maneuverable, supersonic (supercruise) speed, with air-to-air and air-to-ground capabilities. Before its selection as winner of the Advanced Tactical Fighter competition, there was a four and a half year demonstration/validation programme. This involved two YF-22 prototypes and two prototype engine, the Pratt & Whitney YF119 and the General Electric YF120. The demonstration/validation programme ended in December 1990. The first F-22 Raptor next-generation air dominance fighter, 4001, was unveiled at a rollout ceremony at Marietta, Georgia, on 9th April 1997. It made its first flight on 7th September 1997. The second Raptor, 4002, flew for the first time on 29th June 1998.

The ‘team’ contracted to develop the F-22 Raptor is Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company and Boeing Defense and Space Group’s Military Airplane Division. The ‘team’ was formed in 1986, when Lockheed, Boeing and General Dynamics (now Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co.) joined forces for the Advanced Tactical Fighter competition. The USAF plans to procure 438 production F-22s each powered by a pair of Pratt & Whitney F119 engines.

This aircraft is being developed to counter the increasing sophistication and threat of hostile air forces and air defense systems in use around the world. The F-22 will be lethal and survivable, with its balance of increased speed and range, enhanced offensive and defensive avionics, and reduced observability. The new high thrust-to-weight ratio engine, the Pratt & Whitney F119-PW-100, is designed for efficient supersonic speeds without afterburner (called supercruise). The engines (of approximately 35,000 lb. thrust), will have two-dimensional thrust vectoring, which will give the Raptor superior maneuverability.

The F-22 is capable of carrying existing and planned weapons in internal bays. These will include six radar-guided AIM-120C AMRAMs, and two heat seeking, short range AIM-9M Sidewinders. The F-22 will also have an internal M61A2 20mm cannon, an advanced version of the M61 Gatling gun. Additionally it will have a ground attack capability, and it can carry two 1,000 lb. GBU-32 Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM) internally.

According to LMASC, on 12th January 1999, a new MiG fighter conceived as a Russian response to the Raptor was unveiled. The multifunction Fighter, known to the west as “Project 1.42”, is proclaimed by the MAPO-MiG company to be able to outperform the F-22.

First YF-22 prototype, N22YF.
(photo, Edwards AFB)
First EMD prototype, F-22A ‘Raptor 01’ 91-4001. (photo, Edwards AFB)

Variants

Requirement Specification: ?
Manufacturers Designation: ?

Development History:
YF-22 Two development aircaft – first aircraft with General Electric YF120 engines, second aircraft with Pratt & Whitney YF119 Engines.
F-22 EMD Airframe and avionics development aircraft with revised wing and tailplane planforms, wider nose, engine intakes moved aft and Pratt & Whitney F120 Engines fitted.
F-22A Production variant with full avionics configuration.
F-22B Projected 2-seat operational training version of F-22A with rear fuselage fuel tank deleted. Production cancelled.
NATF Projected naval version of F-22A with swing-wing, to replace F-14 Tomcat. Cancelled in 1993.
Plan view of the YF-22.
(photo, Lockheed Martin)
Head on view of the YF-22.
(photo, Lockheed Martin)

History

Key Dates:
November 1981    USAF identifies a need for an advanced tactical fighter to replace the F-15
November 1985    USAF issues stringent stealth goals for the F-22.
June 1986    USAF awards contract to Pratt & Whitney and General Electric to build prototype engines for the demonstration/validation programme.
October 1986    Lockheed (YF-22) and Northrop (YF-23) are selected to compete in the Advanced Fighter Programme
28th August 1990    The YF-22A is unveiled at the Lockheed plant in Palmdale.
29th September 1990    First flight of the prototype.
25th October 1990    First USAF pilot to fly the YF-22 prototype, Maj. Mark Shackford. Also the first time the aircraft is flown at supersonic speed.
3rd November 1990    The YF-22’s ability to ‘supercruise’ is demonstrated for the first time.
15th November 1990    Thrust Vectoring demonstrated for the first time.
31st December 1990    Lockheed, Boeing and General Dynamics ‘team’ submits its proposal for the F-22 to the USAF.
23rd April 1991    Lockheed ‘team’ wins the ATF contract. Pratt & Whitney announced engine winners.
9th April 1997    F-22 EMD aircraft 4001 is publicly unveiled at Marietta. During this ceremony the F-22 is officially named the ‘Raptor’.
7th September 1997    First flight of F-22 EMD aircraft 4001.
31st March 1998    YF-22 prototype placed on public display at the Dayton Air Force Museum.
Nice view of Raptor 01 cruising.
(photo, Lockheed Martin)
Raptor 01 shows two AIM-120s in it’s port
missile bay. (photo, Edwards AFB)

Operators

Military Operators

U.S. Air Force tba

Government Agencies

None

Civilian Operators

None
Raptor 01 comes in to land at Edwards AFB.
(photo, Lockheed Martin)
Second EMD prototype F-22A 91-4002 fires
an AIM-9 Sidewinder. (photo, Lockheed Martin)

Specifications

Lockheed Martin/Boeing F-22A Raptor
Crew: Pilot.
Dimensions: Length 62 ft 1 in (18.92 m); Height 16ft 5 in (5.00 m); Wing Span 44 ft 6 in (13.56 m); Wing Area 840 sq ft (78.04 sq m)
Engines: Two Pratt & Whitney F119-PW-100 turbofans of 35,000 lb. (155.69 kN) st. each with afterburning
Weights: Empty Operating 32,000 lb (14,515 kg); Maximum Take-off 55,000 lb (24,950 kg)
Armament: Two AIM-9M Sidewinders in fuselage side bays; six AIM-120C AMRAAM or two AIM-120C AMRAAM and two 1,000 lb. JDAM in under fusleage bay; one 20mm M61A2 rotary cannon with 480 rounds in starboard wing root. Provision for 4 underwing pylons with 5,000 lb (2,268 kg) capacity each.
Performance: Maximum level speed 800 kts (921 mph, 1483 kph) at sea level, Mach 1.8+ at altitude, supercruise at Mach 1.4+; Maximum rate of climb at sea level classified; Service ceiling 50,000+ ft (15,240+ m); Ferry range with full fuel tanks 1,735 nm (2,000 mls, 3,220 km)
A view of the F-22A’s distinctive planform.
(photo, Lockheed Martin)
F-22A 91-4002 catches the sunshine.
(photo, Lockheed Martin)

Production

Design Centre

Head of Design Team: Not known
Design Office: Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co. and Boeing Defense and Space Group Military Airplanes Division.

Manufacture

Lockheed Martin
(86 South Cobb Drive, Marietta, GA 30063-0264, USA)
Version Quantity Assembly Location Time Period
YF-22 2 Palmdale, CA Jan 1990-Oct 1990
F-22 EMD 9 Marietta, GA June 1995-2001
F-22A 339 Marietta, GA (planned 2004-2013)
Total: 11    

Total Produced: 350 a/c (planned)

Note: Manufacturing workshare is split between Boeing at St Louis, and Lockheed Martin at Fort Worth and Marietta. Final assembly is at Marietta.

Production List

To be added.

The second OTE aircraft F-22A 99-4011.
(photo, Lockheed Martin)
The 8th EMD aircraft, F-22A 91-4008.
(photo, USAF)

More Information

Books

‘F-22 Raptor’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Steve Pace
Published by McGraw-Hill Publishing Co., Sept 1999 ISBN: 0 07134 271 0
* Detailed profile from the Aviation Week series.

‘Enthusiast Color Series: F-22 Raptor’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Bill Sweetman
Published by Motorbooks International, April 1998 ISBN: 0 76030 484 X
* More than just a pictorial history of the F-22, with very good text.

‘Advanced Tactical Fighter to F-22 Raptor:
The Origins of the 21st Century Air Dominance Fighter.
[Order this book from Amazon UK]
by David C. Aronstein et al
Published by AIAA, Oct 1998 ISBN: 1 56347 282 1
* Detailed look at the technical and political development of the F-22 programme.

‘Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor: An Illustrated History’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Mike Wallace, Bill Holden
Published by Schiffer Publishing, 1998 ISBN: 0 76430 558 1
* Very well illustrated profile of the F-22, but not quite so detailed.

‘World Air Power Journal, Volume 38’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
Published by Aerospace Publishing Ltd, Oct 1999 ISBN: 1 8618 4035 7
* Includes 34 page ‘Focus Aircraft’ feature on the F-22 Raptor.

‘International Air Power Review, Volume 5’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
Published by AIRtime Publishing Ltd, 2002 ISBN: 1 880588 44 7
* Includes 30 page ‘Focus Aircraft’ feature on the F-22 Raptor.

Magazines

To be added.

Links

F/A-22 Raptor
* Lockheed Martin official info and photos

F-22 Raptor
* F-22 history to 2000, specs, photos, links

F/A-22 Raptor Team Web Site
* Official F/A-22 info, news, pics, technology explained

F/A-22 Raptor Stealthfighter
* Unofficial enthusiasts site with lots of news, info and pics

The Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor
* Good development history

Lockheed Martin F/A-22 Raptor
* Concise history of the F-22 programme

Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor
* Collection of F-22 photos

Air Force Technology – F-22 Raptor
* Description of the technology included in the F-22 design

F22Fighter.com
* Enthusiasts site with news, photos, interviews, tech data, forums etc

F/A-22 Raptor
* Boeing official F/A-22 info and photos

Air Force Link – F/A-22
* F/A-22 features, news, 6 pages of official photos

U.S. Air Force VI
* 4 pages of F/A-22 photos

Airliners.net
* 2 pages of excellent F/A-22 photos

Shop

Flight Simulator Models:
To be added.

Scale Models:
To be added.

Scale Drawings:
Air Pictorial July 1998

‘Wydawnictwo Militaria No.48 Lockheed Martin/Boeing F-22 “Raptor”‘
by Jacek Nowicki
Published by Wydawnictwo Militaria, ISBN: 83-86209-88-7
* Polish text profile with detailed 1:72 scale plans
More information

Videos:

To be added.

Boeing F-15 Eagle

Aircraft Profile
F-15C 84-0021 from the 36th TFW 53 TFS at
Bitburg, Germany, seen at Fairford in 1991.
(photo, Anthony Noble)

Development

On 23rd December 1969 McDonnell Douglas was named winner of the “FX” contest to build a new air superiority fighter. There was no “XF-15” as the aircraft was ordered straight “off the drawing board”. The most unusual part of the Eagle development was the use of 3/8th scale glider models which were launched from a NASA NB-52B at Dryden Flight Research Centre. During the flight test programme record attempts were carried out at Grand Forks AFB in North Dakota, these records included times to heights varying from 3,000 meters to 30,000 meters.

The first F-15A was rolled out on 26th June 1972, and its maiden flight was the following month on 27th July 1972. The first two-seater version flew on 7th July 1973. The first of 729 production F-15s flew on 25th November 1974, one in seven being a two-seater. Operational capability was reached in July 1975. By 1986 the USAF had nine F-15 squadrons in mainland USA, four in Europe, and three in the Pacific. The F-15A and B have been sold to Israel under the “Peace Fox” programme, the first of 51 aircraft being delivered in 1976. The JASDF (Japanese Air Self Defense Force) took delivery of 88 F-15Js beginning in July 1980 under the “Peace Eagle” programme. Another customer for the F-15 was Saudi Arabia, they took delivery of 62 F-15Cs and Ds between 1982 and 1984 plus two extras for reserves.

The F-15B is the two-seat training version of the F-15A, appart from the second seat and some minor internal changes the A and B versions have the same performance characteristics.

On 26th February 1979 the first F-15C flew, and deliveries began in mid 1980. The F-15C is externally identical to the ‘A’ model when not carrying the FAST (Fuel And Sensor Tactical) packs. These packs are now referred to as Conformal Fuel Tanks (CFT). Internally the F-15C has additional wing leading edge tanks and additional tanks in the central fuselage, the extra weight of fuel raised the gross weight of the F-15C to over 68,000lb, so items such as breaks, tyres and wheels had to be strengthened. The AN/APG-63 radar was equipped with Programmable Signal Processor (PSP), this high speed computer controls the radar modes through its software, this allows switching between different modes. Some F-15Cs can carry up to 18 cluster bombs or 6 Mk.82 bombs and can release them at supersonic speeds.

The F-15 Multi-Stage Improvement Programme (MSIP) is a joint programme carried out by McDonnell Douglas and the USAF’s Warner Robins Logistics Centre in Georgia. Upgrades were incorporated into the production line and then retrofitted to earlier production aircraft. MSIP II is to upgrade the F-15C/D models, the main part of which is to fit APG-70 radar and the AIM-120 AMRAAM missile.

The F-15E Strike Eagle was a privately funded feasability study to adapt the basic F-15 to the air-to-ground role. The first modified demonstrator aircraft flew on 8th July 1980. It was equipped with a modified APG-63 radar that used synthetic aperture radar techniques and the back seat was fitted out for a weapons System Officer (WSO).

F-15C 80-0022 from the 36 TFW 22 TFS at Bitburg, Germany, seen at Alconbury in 1991. F-15C 80-0038 from the 57th FIS at Keflavik, Iceland, seen at Boscombe Down in 1992.
(All photos Anthony Noble)

Variants

Requirement Specification: FX
Manufacturers Designation: ?

Development History:
F-15A Initial single-seat version for USAF and Israel with F100-PW-100 engines and APG-63 radar. Note: Initial development aircraft designated F-15A not YF-15
F-15A/B MSIP Minor update to USAF aircraft fleet during the 1980s
TF-15A Initial designation for F-15B
F-15B First two-seater trainer version. Fully mission capable but without the F-15As AN/ALQ-135 ECM equipment
F-15A/B MSIP Upgrade to near F-15C/D standard for USAF aircraft during the 1990s, with APG-70 radar, new avionics and digital computers replacing the original analog computers
F-15C Improved single-seater for USAF with increased internal fuel, updated APG-63 radar and provision for CFTs (Conformal Fuel Tanks) along the sides of the intakes. Initial aircraft had F100-PW-100 engines, but most were delivered with F100-PW-220 standard engines.
F-15D Two-seat version of F-15C
F-15C/D MSIP Avionics upgrade for USAF aircraft with new APG-70 radar, cockpit displays, EW systems and digital computers.
F-15DJ Two-seat version of F-15D for Japan
TF-15A ‘Strike Eagle’ Second development TF-15A modified during 1982 for dedicated air-ground operations to potentially replace the F-111. Company funded demonstrator.
F-15E Production two-seater with dedicated all-weather ground attack capability. Features strengthened airframe, redesigned cockpit, improved avionics and (in later production and retrofit) uprated F100-PW-229 engines. Note: ‘Strike Eagle’ name not officially adopted by the USAF.
F-15I “Baz” (Eagle) Export version of F-15E for Israel with significant Israeli avionics fit
F-15J Single-seater for Japan based on F-15C with some local avionics
F-15S Export version of F-15E for Saudi Arabia with downgraded avionics and no provision for CFTs.
F-15F Proposed single-seat fighter version of F-15E for Saudi Arabia
F-15H Proposed export version of F-15E for Saudi Arabia with reduced sensor fit
F-15XP Initial generic designation for F-15F/H export versions of F-15E for Saudi Arabia
NF-15B “Agile Eagle” F-15B used for manoeuvre control research
F-15N “Sea Eagle” Proposed version for US Navy
F-15XX Proposed lightweight development of F-15C with improved avionics and systems, as a low cost alternative to the F-22 for the USAF. Abandoned in 1992.
RF-15 “Peak Eagle” Proposed dedicated reconnaissance version
F-15C “Wild Weasel” Proposed defence suppression version
F-15/PDF Planned conversion of F-15Cs to defence suppression role as Precision Direction Finder aircraft. Proposed for aircraft replaced by the F-22.
SMTD Eagle First F-15B development aircraft modified by NASA for flight control research. Fitted with canards and 2D thrust vectoring exhaust nozzels.

History

Key Dates:
1965    1965 USAF requests feasability studies for a new air superiority fighter, designated “FX”
September 1968    Feasability studies and Request for Proposals issued.
23rd December 1969    McDonnell Douglas named winner of the “FX” contest.
26th June 1972    Roll out of the first single-seater F-15A.
27th July 1972    F-15A maiden flight by company test pilot Irving Burrows.
7th July 1973    Maiden flight of first two-seater F-15B.
24th November 1974    First production F-15A flew.
July 1975    Operational capability declared.
9 January 1976    Delivery of first F-15A to USAF.
End of 1976    The first USAF wing fully equipped.
April 1977    F-15 first deployed in Western Europe by USAFE.
26th February 1979    Maiden flight of first F-15C.
27 June 1979    First combat kills with the Israeli AF.
September 1979    First delivery of F-15C to USAF.
24th February 1984    Production go-ahead for F-15E.
December 1984    Flight testing of F-15C MSIP-II commences.
11th December 1986    Maiden flight of F-15E prototype.
7th September 1988    First flight of SMTD research demonstrator.
1988    First F-15E delivered to the USAF.

Operators

Military Operators

U.S. Air Force (F-15A/B 7 wings & 6 ANG sqns, F-15C/D 9 wings, F-15E 5 wings)
Japanese Air Self Defence Force (7 Sqns. with 223 F-15J/F-15DJ)
Israeli Air Force (1 Sqn of F-15A/B, 1 Sqn F-15C/D, 1 Sqn F-15I)
Royal Saudi Air Force (4 Sqns. with F-15C/D, 1+ sqn F-15S)

Government Agencies

NASA F-15B, SMTD

Civilian Operators

None  

Specifications

Boeing F-15A Eagle
Crew: One (Two in F-15B)
Dimensions: Length 63 ft 9 in (19.43 m); Height 18 ft 5½ in (5.63 m); Wing Span 42 ft 9.75 in (13.05 m); Wing Area 608.00 sq ft (56.48 sq m)
Engines: Two Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-100 turbofans each rated at 14,760 lb st (65.26 kN) dry and 23,830 lb st (106.0 kN) with afterburning
Weights: Empty Equipped 28,600 lb (12,973 kg); Normal Take-off 41,500 lb (18,884 kg) on an interception mission with four AIM-7 Sparrows or 54,400 lb (24,675 kg) with three 600-US gal (2271 litre) drop tanks; Maximum Take-off 56,000 lb (25,401 kg)
Armament: M61A1 Vulcan rotary cannon in the starboard wing leading edge lip, outboard of the air intake. The gun is fed from a 940 round drum located in the central fuselage. Four AIM-9M Sidewinders carried on the sides of the wing pylons, two on each side. (This arrangement allows a drop tank or bombs to be carried at the same time). Four AIM-7M Sparrow semi-active radar homing missiles carried on attachment points on the lower outer edges of the air intake boxes, two each side – or four AIM-120 AMRAAM on MSIP aircraft. The AMRAAM (Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile) is a “fire and forget” weapon with an inertial guidance unit that can be updated from the aircraft if required. Although not normally used as a bomber the F-15 has a secondary air-to-ground capability. Up to 16,000 lb of bombs, fuel tanks and missiles can be carried. The F-15 can carry 18 500 lb bombs, six on each wing pylon and six on the fuselage centreline.
Performance: Maximum level speed 1,433 kts (1,650 mph, 2655 kph) ‘clean’ at 36,000 ft (10975 m); Economical cruising speed 495 kts (570 mph, 917 kph) at optimum altitude; Maximum rate of climb at sea level 50,000+ ft/min (15240 m/min); Service ceiling 60,000 ft (18,290 m); Absolute ceiling 100,000 ft (30,480 m); Ferry range with drop tanks 2,500 nm (2,878 mls, 4,631 km)
Boeing F-15C Eagle
As for F-15A except for the following:-
Engines: Two Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-220 turbofans each rated at 14,670 lb st (65.26 kN) dry and 23,830 lb st (106.0 kN) with afterburning
Weights: Empty Equipped 28,600 lb (12,973 kg); Normal Take-off 44,630 lb (20,244 kg) on an interception mission with four AIM-7 Sparrows or 58,700 lb (26,521 kg) with three 610-US gal (2309 litre) drop tanks; Maximum Take-off 68,000 lb (30,844 kg)
Performance: Ferry range with drop tanks 2,500 nm (2,879 mls, 4,633 km) without CFTs, or 3,100 nm (3,570 mls, 5745 km) with CFTs; Combat radius on an interception mission 1,061 nm (1,222 mls, 1967 km)
Boeing F-15E Eagle
As for F-15C except for the following:-
Crew: Two
Engines: Two Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-229 turbofans each rated at 17,800 lb st (79.18 kN) dry and 29,100 lb st (129.45 kN) with afterburning
Weights: Empty Equipped 31,700 lb (14,379 kg); Maximum Take-off 81,000 lb (36,741 kg)
Armament: M61A1 Vulcan rotary cannon in the starboard wing leading edge lip, outboard of the air intake. The gun is fed from a 512 round drum located in the central fuselage. Four AIM-9M Sidewinders carried on the sides of the wing pylons, two on each side. (This arrangement allows a drop tank or bombs to be carried at the same time). Up to 24,250 lb (11,000 kg) of bombs, fuel tanks and missiles can be carried on two wing pylons, underfuselage pylons and 12 bomb racks mounted directly on the CFTs. AIM-7 and AIM-120 air-to-air missiles can also be carried, as on the F-15C.

Production

Design Centre

Head of Design Team: George Graff
Programme Manager: Don Malvern
Design Office: McDonnell Douglas Corporation, St Louis, Missouri

Manufacture

McDonnell Douglas Aircraft Corporation (MCAir)
(Box 516, St Louis, MO 63166, USA. Later Boeing Military Aircraft)
Version Quantity Assembly Location Time Period
F-15A 355 St Louis, MO 1972-1979
F-15B 57 St Louis, MO 1972-1979
F-15C 118 St Louis, MO 1979-1985
F-15D 31 St Louis, MO 1979-1985
F-15J 2 St Louis, MO 1979-1980
F-15DJ 12 St Louis, MO 1979-1981
F-15E 209 St Louis, MO 1985-1991
F-15I 26 St Louis, MO 1996-1998
F-15S 72 St Louis, MO 1996-1998
F-15E 10 St Louis, MO 1998-2002
Total: 894    
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd
(5-1, Marunouchi 2-chome, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100, Japan)
Version Quantity Assembly Location Time Period
F-15J 173* Tokyo 1981-1997
Total: 173    

* First 8 a/c assembled from St Louis components. Subsequently, Mitsubishi responsible for forward and centre fuselage, Kawasaki making wings and tails.

Total Produced: 1067 a/c

Production List:

F-15 Eagle – Scramble Special
by Jurgen van Toor
Published by Dutch Aviation Society, 2003 ISBN: ?
* A5 size paperback containing history, operators and an extensive production list.

More Information

Books

‘F-15 Eagle and Strike Eagle – Combat Legends 6’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Steve Davies
Published by Airlife Publishing Ltd, 1 Oct 2002 ISBN: 1840373776
* Concise overview of the F-15 with good illustrations

‘F-15 Eagle in Color’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Peter R Foster
Published by Plymouth Press Ltd, 1 Apr 1998 ISBN: 1882663225
* All-colour pictorial history of the F-15.

‘McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle – Super Heavy-Weight Fighter’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Robert S Hopkins
Published by Midland Publishing, May 1998 ISBN: 1857800818
* Aerofax series. Excellent development history and service use

‘F-15 Eagle Walkaround’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Lou Drendel
Published by Squadron/Signal Publications, Nov 2001 ISBN: 0897474333
* Detailed close-up photos of the F-15

‘USAF F-15 Eagles – Units, Colors & Markings’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Don R Logan
Published by Schiffer Publishing, 9 Apr 2000 ISBN: 0764310607
* Very detailed coverage of USAF F-15 operators

‘McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Peter E Davies & Anthony M Thornborough
Published by Crowood Press, 1 Aug 2001 ISBN: 1861263430
* Includes development history, service career and combat use

‘F-15 Eagle in Action – Aircraft Number 183’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Al Adcock
Published by Squadron/Signal Publications, 200? ISBN: 0897474457
* Up-to-date heavily illustrated history of the F-15

‘F-15C/E Eagle Units of Operation Iraqi Freedom – Osprey Combat Aircraft 47’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Steve Davies
Published by Osprey Publishing, 2004 ISBN: 1-84176-802-2
* Very well illustrated look at F-15 operations over Iraq

‘McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle – Warbird Tech Vol 9’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Dennis R Jenkins
Published by Speciality Press, May 1997 ISBN: 0933424728
* Detailed look at the F-15 using excerpts from official technical manuals

‘World Air Power Journal, Volume 9’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
Published by Aerospace Publishing Ltd, Nov 1990 ISBN: 1 87402 3174
* Includes ‘Focus Aircraft’ feature on the F-15 Eagle.

‘World Air Power Journal, Volume 21’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
Published by Aerospace Publishing Ltd, Nov 1990 ISBN: 1 87402 3603
* Includes ‘Focus Aircraft’ feature on the F-15E ‘Strike Eagle’.

‘World Air Power Journal, Volume 33’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
Published by Aerospace Publishing Ltd, Nov 1990 ISBN: 1 86184 015 2
* Includes ‘Variant Briefing’ feature on the F-15 Eagle.

‘International Air Power Review, Volume 7’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
Published by AIRtime Publishing Ltd, April 2003 ISBN: 1 880588 48 X
* Includes ‘Focus Aircraft’ feature on the latest developments and combat actions of the F-15 Eagle.

Magazines

To be added.

Links

Milavia – F-15 Eagle
(History, specifications, photo gallery, links, books)

F-15 Eagle
(Boeing Military Aircraft official website – backgrond, specs, news, photos)

Boeing F-15 Eagle
(Airliners.net: Four pages of excellent photos)

McDD F-15 Eagle
(Serial number info and photos)

Boeing F-15 Eagle Image Gallery
(1 page of photos)

F-15 Eagle
(Good profile covering history, variants, specs etc)

F-15 Eagle
(Concise profile of the F-15)

F-15E Strike Eagle.com
(Very detailed coverage of the USAF F-15E)

How an F-15 works
(How Stuff Works – simple explanations of F-15 design features)

The F-15 Eagle: A Chronology
(Timeline 1965-2002 of key events in F-15 history)

F-15 Eagle
(History, variants, exports, specs, photos, links)

Boeing F-15 Eagle
(Official F-15A & F-15E Flight Manuals on CD-ROM)

Eagle Power
(Information, operators, patches, links, CD-ROM)

F-15 Eagle’s first flight 30 years past
(Edwards AFB feature)

Air Force Technology – F-15E Strike Eagle
(Technical details for F-15E weapons and equipment)

McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle
(Airliners.net: 46 pages of excellent F-15 photos)

The McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle
(Comprehensive profile updated to 2003)

USAF Museum – McDonnell Douglas F-15 ‘Streak Eagle’
(Brief notes plus photo gallery)

McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle
(Detailed profile covering all versions of the F-15)

USAF Museum – McDonnell Douglas F-15A ‘Eagle’
(Brief notes on production and exports plus photo gallery)

McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle
(Colour profile drawings for five USAF F-15s)

Shop

Flight Simulator Models:
To be added.

Scale Models:
To be added.

Scale Drawings:
‘F-15C/D Eagle – Lock-On No.4’
by Francois Verlinden
Published by Verlinden Productions Inc, June 1989 ISBN: 9 0709 321 21
* Features close-up colour photographs of external and inernal details plus scale drawings.

‘F-15 Eagle in Detail and Scale – Detail And Scale Vol.14’
by Bert Kinzey
Published by Aero Publishers Inc, 1984 ISBN: ?
* B+W photographs of external and inernal details plus several pages of scale drawings for all variants.

Videos:

‘Modern Military Aircraft: F-15 Eagle’ [Order this DVD from Amazon UK]
* DVD which takes you into the cockpit of the F-15

‘Great Planes: McDonnell-Douglas F-15 Eagle’
* DVD documentary on the history of the F-15

Boeing/BAE Systems T-45 Goshawk

Aircraft Profile
Formation of four T-45s from TW-1, NAS Meridian.
(photo, Boeing)

Development

The T-45 is a rare example of the US Armed Forces adopting in large numbers an aircraft of non-US origin. This must be considered a very positive endorsement for the Hawk jet trainer, from which it was originally derived. However, during it’s protracted development the T-45 has evolved into a training aircraft with virtues which are significantly different from those of the Hawk.

In the late 1970s the US Navy began formulating the requirements for a new training aircraft to replace the faithful but ageing T-2C Buckeye intermediate trainer and TA-4J Skyhawk advanced trainer. The new aircraft would form part of a fully integrated training system for undergraduate jet pilots – including aircraft, simulators, training aids and logistics support to be furnished by a single contractor. The programme was called VTX-TS, meaning Heavier than air, Training aircraft Experimental – Training System.

In January 1978 British Aerospace and the Douglas Aircraft (DAC) division of McDonnell-Douglas Corporation (MDC) agreed a teaming arrangement to compete for VTS-TS. McDonnell-Douglas and British Aerospace were already co-operating very successfully on the Harrier II, and so MDC was a natural US partner for the new programme. In late 1978 BAe and Dassault-Dornier were awarded contracts to study the required engineering changes for Hawk and Alpha Jet carrier operations respectively. Early in the evaluation the Hawk demonstrator, ZA101/G-HAWK, had paid a 31 day visit to the USA, during which it flew a total of 85 evaluation sorties.

On 18 November 1981 the proposed naval Hawk variant was declared the winner and assigned the designation T-45. The Hawk chosen on the basis of its flying quantities, design maturity and low fuel consumption. Mcdonnell-Douglas Corporation (MDC) was designated the prime contractor, with BAe responsible for the airframe, Rolls-Royce for the engine and Sperry for the simulators. Following completion of detailed engineering design, full-scale development was launched in mid-1984, for the production and flight testing of four pre-production aircraft. To speed up introduction into service, it was initially planned to buy 54 non-carrier capable minimum change T-45B versions, before moving on to the more extensively modified T-45A. After review it was decided that producing all aircraft as T-45A models would give better overall value for money, at the cost of a short programme delay. The T-2 and TA-4J trainers remaining in service received life extension programmes to bridge the gap.

Changes from the standard export Hawk Mk 60 comprised a deeper profile forward fuselage to accommodate a new stronger twin-wheel nose landing gear, with catapult launch bar and improved nosewheel steering; new long-stroke main landing gear stressed to withstand carrier deck landings; main landing gear doors sequenced to close after wheels locked down; twin lateral perforated air brakes on the sides of the rear fuselage, in place of the single ventral air brake; a substantially strengthened airframe and intermediate engine casing; revised US Navy standard cockpit instruments and radios; On-Board Oxygen Generation System (OBOGS) and Martin Baker Mk 14 NACES ejection seats. SMURFs (Side-Mounted Under Root Fins) – small curved surfaces mounted ahead of and below each tailplane – provided a beneficial aerodynamic tweak which was soon introduced on the Hawk Mk 100 and Mk 200. The resulting aircraft was renamed ‘Goshawk’ to avoid any possible confusion with the US Army Hawk missile.

The first development T-45 aircraft (BuAer. 162787), Ship 1, was rolled out at Long Beach, California, on 16 March 1988, and made it’s maiden flight on 16 April. A second development aircraft (BuAer. 162788) followed in November 1988. These two aircraft have sometimes been erroneously referred to as YT-45s. Flight testing was carried out at Yuma, Arizona and then at NATC Patuxent River, Maryland.

Although the T-45 met the original VTX requirements, detailed operational flight testing and evaluation by NATC identified a number of performance and flying shortcomings which would adversely affect its ability to safely conduct day-to-day training operations. Accordingly a modification programme was put in place to rectify the perceived deficiencies. The F405-RR-400 turbofan originally fitted, (a derated version of the original 5,450 lb st (2472 kg) Adour 861 engine), was replaced by the 5,845 lb st F405-RR-401, based on the Adour 871 used in the Hawk 100 and 200. The -400 engine had been derated to meet Navy demands for fuel economy and longevity, but it was determined that more thrust was needed in the critical high drag carrier approach configuration. Full-span wing leading edge slats were added, (to improve stall characteristics), and the wing-tips squared off, while a 6-inch (0.152 m) extension to the tail fin was added, and an increased span tailplane with squared tips fitted. A single ventral fin was added in front of the arrestor hook hinge fairing. Control harmonisation was also improved, and airbrake/tailplane movement interconnected.

While these modifications were being developed, design responsibility for the T-45 was transferred from Douglas at Long Beach to McDonnell-Douglas at St Louis. Although lack of design capacity at Douglas was cited as the main reason, the political and technical benefits from bringing in experience accrued from development of the F/A-18 naval fighter-bomber undoubtedly influenced the decision. Flight testing of the modifications at NATC from September 1990 showed a marked improvement in handling characteristics, and on 4 December 1991 the first pre-production aircraft conducted a successful series of carrier trials aboard the USS John F Kennedy. At this time the T-45 test fleet consisted of the two original (Long Beach built) Full Scale Development (FSD) aircraft with interim uprated F405-RR-400A (Adour 861) engines, and two (Palmdale built) Pre-Production aircraft (BuAer. 163599 & 163600) with F405-RR-401 (Adour 871) engines.

On 16 December 1991 the first St Louis built T-45A achieved its maiden flight. Built to full production standard, this aircraft was formally handed over to the US Navy on 23 January 1992. Introduction of the type into service at NAS Kingsville, Tx, with VT-21, commenced soon afterwards. As required under the contract, this process involved delivery of simulators and training facilities to Kingsville, conversion of the flying instructors to the new aircraft and the new curriculum, and putting in place the contractorised maintenance organisation to support the aircraft. Undergraduate training on the new type commenced in early 1994, and on 11 February 1994 the first student pilot flew in the T-45. The first class to earn it’s wings on the T-45 graduated in October 1994.

Further development of the T-45 has continued. One production aircraft (BuAer. 163635) was fitted with an experimental digital ‘glass’ cockpit known as Cockpit 21. Many of the normal dials on the instrument panel were replaced by two monochrome Multi-Function Displays (MFDs) in each cockpit to better represent the type of cockpit now seen in modern front-line aircraft. Additional avionics include a MIL-STD-1553B databus, Rockwell Collins GPS and a Litton ring laser gyro INS. Flight trials commenced on 19 March 1994, and were sufficiently successful that the change was adopted on the production line from the 73rd aircraft (BuAer. 165081). Aircraft with Cockpit 21 are designated T-45C, and it is anticipated that all production T-45As will also be retrofitted to this standard and redesignated T-45C. A proposal to modestly increase fuel capacity, through the use of fuel tanks in the air intakes was dropped. However, US Navy dissatisfaction with some aspects of the F405 engine led in 1996 to one T-45A being fitted with an AlliedSignal F124 engine for flight testing. The F124 engine was offered to some potential T-45 export customers, particularly Australia, but not taken up. The US Navy’s engine concerns were eventually tackled by an F405 engine modification programme put in place by Rolls-Royce.

T-45s now in service are based at NAS Kingsville, Texas and NAS Meridian, Mississippi. The aircraft are permanently based ashore and flown out to the training carrier for deck landings. Since the transition to the T-45, the training task has been accomplished with 25% fewer flying hours, using 42% fewer aircraft and 46% fewer personnel. With the current T-45 training demand, the U.S. Navy has been averaging more than 60 hours per month per airframe – one of the highest utilisation rates in the world.

A solo student in T-45C 165083 Steam rises as a T-45 waits for the catapult
(All photos Boeing)

Variants

Requirement Specification: VTX-TS
Manufacturers Designation:

Development History:
VTX-TS Initial US Navy requirement designation.
T-45A Pre-production development aircraft for flight testing. Initially without wing leading edge slats.
T-45A Initial production version. Fully carrier capable. Full-span wing leading edge slats. Later upgraded to T-45C standard.
T-45A One aircraft temporarily fitted with AlliedSignal F124 engine for flight testing.
T-45A One aircraft with digital cockpit as ‘Cockpit 21’ demonstrator.
T-45(AN) Version offered to the French Navy in 1991. Cockpit 21 plus additional advanced avionics. Not built.
T-45B Planned non-carrier capable version. Minimum change version of Hawk Mk.60 for early service entry. Production of 54 planned, with first fight expected February 1987. First two aircraft to be wholly built in the UK. Requirement cancelled and not built, although offered to potential export customers.
T-45C Improved production version of T-45A, featuring ‘Cockpit 21’ with digital ‘glass’ cockpit with 2 colour MFDs.
T-45C 165492 with centreline baggage pod (photo, Pierre Gauthier) The graceful wing and tailplane curves of the Hawk have been lost in the T-45 redesign
(photo, Boeing)

History

Key Dates:
1975    US Naval Air Development Center (NADC) studies replacement of T-2C and TA-4J by single VTX aircraft.
May 1977    BAe presentation to US Navy on Hawk aircraft.
December 1979    Request for quotations for VTX-TS proposals issued.
January 1980    MDC and BAe agree to team for VTX-TS.
June 1981    Hawk demonstrator (ZA101/G-HAWK) tours the USA.
19 November 1981    Hawk wins VTX-TS competition. T-45 designation assigned.
1982    Proposal to split production into ‘minimum change’ T-45B followed by carrier capable T-45A.
late 1983    T-45B variant cancelled.
October 1984    Full Scale Development contract for T-45A launched.
February 1986    Construction of two pre-production ‘prototypes’ begun.
May 1986    Engineering Development contract signed by MDC.
26 January 1988    Initial production contract for 12 T-45A aircraft agreed.
16 March 1988    Roll out of first pre-production T-45A (162787) at Long Beach.
16 April 1988    First flight of T-45A (162787).
2 November 1988    First flight of second pre-production aircraft (162788).
November 1988    First US Navy evaluation flights.
1989    US Navy outlines ‘big 5’ deficiencies found in flight testing.
October 1989    Initial planned first delivery for T-45A. Not achieved.
19 December 1989    Design Authority moved from DAC, Long Beach, to McDonnell Douglas, St Louis.
September 1990    Start of flight testing of production standard slatted wing.
4 December 1991    First carrier landing and catapult launch trials conducted on USS John F Kennedy.
16 December 1991    Maiden flight of first (St Louis assembled) full production standard T-45.
23 January 1992    First production aircraft handed over to the US Navy at St Louis.
1992    First T-45A delivered to NAS Kingsville, TX (to VT-21).
11 February 1994    First flight by a US Navy student pilot in a T-45.
19 March 1994    First flight of ‘Cockpit 21’ demonstrator.
5 October 1994    First class of pilots trained on the T-45 graduate.
17 January 1995    Authorisation of full-rate production for T-45.
7 October 1996    Flight testing of T-45A fitted with AlliedSignal F124 engine commences.
31 October 1997    First T-45C presented at St Louis (73rd production aircraft).
15 December 1997    T-45C introduced into US Navy service (at NAS Meridan, MS).
July 1998    Start of student training with T-45C (with VT-23).
2002    Start of programme upgrading T-45A to T-45C standard.
2007    Planned completion of T-45A upgrades to T-45C.

Operators

Military Operators

USA – Navy (234 T-45A/C planned)

Government Agencies

None  

Civilian Operators

None  
A pair of T-45Cs wait for catapult launch ‘Ship One’ undergoing initial carrier trials on
the USS John F Kennedy
(All photos Boeing)

Specifications

Boeing/BAE SYSTEMS T-4A Goshawk
Crew: Two (student – front, instructor – rear)
Dimensions: Length 39 ft 3.125 in (11.97 m) including probe; Height 14 ft 0 in (4.27 m); Wing Span 30 ft 9.75 in (9.39 m); Wing Area 176.9 sq ft (16.69 sq m)
Engine(s): One Rolls-Royce/Turbomeca F405-RR-401 non-afterburning turbofan rated at 5,845 lb st (26.0 kN)
Weights: Empty Equipped 9,399 lb (4,263 kg); Maximum Take-off 12,750 lb (5,783 kg)
Armament: One hard point under each wing for carriage of practice bombs, rocket pods or drop tanks with 156 US gal (591 lit) of fuel each, plus one under-fuselage centre-line pylon for use in weapons training role.
Performance: Maximum level speed ‘clean’ 538 kt (625 mph, 997 kph) at 8000 ft (2440 m); Maximum rate of climb at sea level 6,982 ft/min (2128 m/min); Service ceiling 42,250 ft (12,875 m); Ferry range with internal fuel 1,000 nm (1,152 mls, 1,854 km); Endurance 3 hrs 10 mins

Production

Design Centre

Head of Design Team: Gordon Hodson (initially)
Design Authority: Boeing Military Aircraft, St Louis, MO.

Manufacture

Boeing Military Aircraft
(St Louis, MO, USA)
Version Quantity Assembly Location Time Period
T-45A pre-prodn. 2* DAC, Long Beach, CA Feb 1986-Nov 1988
T-45A 2 DAC, Palmdale, CA Jan 1998-Nov 1990
T-45A 72 St Louis, MO 1990-1997
T-45C 158** St Louis, MO 1997-2007
Total: 236    

* plus one fatigue test airframe and one for drop testing.
** planned production, at 12 aircraft per year.
Subcontractors: Wings (BAE SYSTEMS, Brough), Centre & Aft Fuselage (BAE SYSTEMS, Samlesbury), Fin & Tailplane (BAE SYSTEMS, Samlesbury?), Windscreen and Canopy (Hamble Aerostructures).

Total Produced: 234 a/c (required production) + 2 pre-prodn = 236 total

Production List

To be added.

T-45C 165081 in full landing configuration T-45A 163606 from NAS Kingsville
(All photos Boeing)

More Information

Books

‘British Aerospace Hawk’
by Roy Braybrook
Published by Osprey Publishing, 1984 ISBN: 0 85045 580 4
* Includes a section on the early stages of T-45 development.

‘Hawk Comes of Age’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Peter R March
Published by RAF Benevolent Fund Enterprises, 1995 ISBN: 1 899808 00 0
* Includes two chapters on the T-45. Good photos.

‘World Air Power Journal, Volume 22’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
Published by Aerospace Publishing Ltd, Autumn 1995 ISBN: 1 874023 62 X
* Includes ‘Focus Aircraft’ feature on the Hawk, including the T-45.

‘Hawker Aircraft Since 1920’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Francis K Mason
Published by Putnam Aeronautical Books, 1991 ISBN: 0 85177 839 9
* Includes a section on the early days of the T-45 programme.

‘Encyclopedia of World Military Aircraft’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by David Donald and Jon Lake
Published by Aerospace Publishing Ltd, 1996 ISBN: 1 874023 95 6
* Includes detailed entry on the T-45.

Magazines

to be added.

Links

T-45 Training System
(Boeing’s T-45 website)

T-45 Goshawk Walk around
(Close-up photos of the T-45)

Naval Technology – T-45A Goshawk
(Description of T-45)

Shop

Flight Simulator Models:
To be added.

Scale Models:
To be added.

Scale Drawings:
To be added.

Videos:

To be added.

A Brief Look at the Future Flying Wing Airliner

The Flying Wing aircraft configuration has been around since the early days of aviation. The flying wing is a fixed wing airframe capable of sustaining a controllable flight profile without the need of lifting systems such as canards or tail mechanism. Experimentation with flying wing designs began early in the 1920s. The configuration was championed by those who thought that it was the logical evolution of an airframe. As technology caught up with design, the flying wing concept would become the standard aircraft fuselage design, they thought. Many individuals experimented with flying wing configurations, most notable, the Horten Brothers in Germany and, who was to be called the father of the flying wing in the United States: Jack Northrop. Both the Horten brothers and Jack Northrop eventually managed by build an actual flying wing platform. The Horten’s effort was to be curtail by the cloud of war in Europe. The same cloud that gave birth to the first true expression of the flying wing concept: the YB-49.

Northrop YB-49 (photo, US Air Force)
Northrop YB-49 (photo, US Air Force)
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An aircraft based on a flying wing airframe has always been believed to posses an increase in operational range, better speed to power ration, and more weight-lift capability compare to a conventional airframe design. These advantages were the reason the military was behind every major attempt to field a flying wing aircraft in modern times. There were many attempts to field a serviceable flying wing aircraft, and also many failures. That was until the YB-49 first took to the air. The YB-49 was the first truly serviceable winged aircraft. It posses the entire trait marks that engineers were looking for. Range, speed, power ratio and an enormous payload capacity. But what the YB-49 lacked, and would lead to the eventual cancellation of the project; was stability. The YB-49 lacked the ability to make sharp turns. It was also deficient in projecting a stable operational line for bombing runs. Deficiencies that with today’s computer power could be easy overcome. But in the 1950s, these facts made the aircraft impractical for military operations, thus the Air Force was forced to terminate the project. After the Air Force’s initial order for termination of the program, Jack Northrop and his top engineers tried to sell the YB-49, with its massive payload capabilities, to the civilian aviation community. He envisioned a fleet of commercial flying wing carriers traveling the country. He even made an Ad commercial relating the advantages of the commercial flying wing. It was to no avail. If the wing was not stable enough for experience Air Force pilots, it certainly could not perform at a civilian standard. This realization, for all practical matters, ended the brief life of the YB-49. It would be more than thirty years before another flying wing configuration would take to the air. But when it did, it was a spectacular sight, such as was the first time the YB-49 flew. The B-2 Stealth Bomber is the realization of years of experimentation, couple with unprecedented advances in technology, airframe design and avionics. These advances lead to the production of the finest expression of a flying wing configuration design. Could there be a commercial-type version of the B-2?

Boeing C-Wing concept (photo, Boeing)
Boeing C-Wing concept (photo, Boeing)
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In the mid 1970s a quiet research program was commenced by the Boeing Corporation with the objective of adapting a flying wing configuration design and develop it into a passenger-carry airframe. After an extensive period research and design experimentation; Boeing engineers came out with two main flying wing concepts for a passenger airliner. They unveiled them in January 1998. The first concept was the C-wing configuration. The C-wing concept is centered around a fuselage structure of tubular shape fitted with small horizontal winglets to be placed at the end of the vertical ones. The wings on the C-concept were designed to be swept at an angle of 35 degree, the same goes for the horizontal winglets. This fuselage configuration was adopted by the design team for its ability to reduce drag on the wings. The C-wing was design from its conception to disperse payload evenly throughout the airframe in order to reduce high amounts of lift. The airframe in a C-wing concept would be equip with a canard system to be utilized as a control mechanism in cruise flight conditions. The aircraft was conceived to be propelled by two forward and two aft turbojet engines. But, as it was the case with the first generation of flying wing platforms, the fuel consumption-to-performance ratio was in the negative. This fact alone will probably lead to the shut-down of the whole program. Sensing this problem, Boeing engineers also studied a modification to the original C-wing platform. In this alternative, the aircraft will be powered to the air by only three engines. Early design experimentation with this concept had indicated that the design would achieve a better aerodynamic profile than the one mounted with four engines. Still, this concept is not as promising as the newest Boeing pre-design mock-up.

Besides the C-wing concept, in 1998, Boeing unveiled the most far reaching flying wing platform concept in the history of civilian aviation: the Blended Wing Body Platform. The blended wing concept is the pinnacle of civilian aviation design and engineering prowess. The blended wing airframe is very similar in shape and control systems orientation to the amazing B-2 bomber. The concept is simple enough. The wing fuselage will also serve as an engine mounting platform, and again, like the B-2, the engine’s inlets will be absorbed by the wing’s frame. There considerations for a two engine configuration of the blended wing. Research has also demonstrated that a four engine version can perform equally successful. Control mechanisms for directional stability, such as flaps, will be house on small winglets at the end of each wing tip. The complete aircraft will be fly-by-wire, thus enhancing its flying stability and optimizing its avionics package. The operational profile for this amazing aircraft is ambitious. It is design to carry a load of eight hundred passengers and crew members to a distance of over 7,100 nautical miles. It will be fitted with all the comforts of the modern era. The aircraft will have state of the art galleries, lavatories, and a sound and video system. An improved row sitting system that will enable the passenger to roam around the “wing” on flight is on the design board. But maybe the most unique cabin feature of this concept, is the proposed forward view windows mounted along the curve of the wing. A concept first developed by Jack Northrop in the late 1950s. This feature will give the passenger the ability to see through the window at the “world below”. A view normally only experienced by the aircraft’s crew.

Boeing X-48B demonstrator (photo, Boeing)
Boeing X-48B demonstrator (photo, Boeing)

Could Boeing or any other company find operating a flying wing concept aircraft profitable? Research and development data has shown that the time of the commercial flying wing has arrive. Technology, unlike before, is now on our side. The question is not so much as “if” and more as “when”. We don’t know when the time will come. But we certainly know that is far approaching. Approaching the visions of so many giants of aviation, approaching history. We are close, very close.

– Raul Colon

 

More information:
Northrop’s flying-wing airliner
Blended Wing Body – New Concept in Passenger Aircraft
NASA: Advanced Configurations for Very Large Subsonic Transport Airplanes
British help Boeing with Blended Wing