Rhinos of Winter Night

Boeing F/A-18 E/F Rhinos and G growlers were present in Tikkakoski in 2018.


First: I do not have ANY knowledge of the “official” scenarios of the HX program, but I have tried to make educated guess what kind of situations these might be. DCA scenario is definately there as defensive and offensive counter air is the core mission of HX fighter.

Second: I have run these simulations on “Command Modern Operations”, so the simulation is as accurate as it can be on commercial software. So dont take this as Word of God, but it will still be around 60-70% accurate

The Super Hornet

F/A-18 E/F is seen as the “oldie but goldie” of HX- hopefulls. And indeed has achieved it’s Initial Operational Capability in 2001. (Typhoon 2003, Rafale 2001, F-35 2016 and JAS-39 Gripen has not yet achieved the IOC) For some unfathomable reason Boeings HX hopeful is seen as the “too old” in the competition, this may be because there is the F-35 C, but USN has never intended to replace the whole F-18 E fleet with Lightning IIs. USN is bying under 300 F-35 Cs, so there will be at least 300 Super Hornets in service side by side with the stealth fighters. This is if USN stays at 11-12 carriers.

On the other hand: USN has 2045 plan that would require force of at least 11 super carriers, and 6 light carriers. And light carriers not being “amphibious assault ships” but sort of medium carriers along the lines of Queen Elizabeth or France’s PANG carrier So there is MUCH room still for the 600 plane F/A-18 E/F/G force. This means that speculations of Super Hornets retirement are very much premature. In fact, with the situation deteoriating in South China sea and Sea of Japan, I would wager that there is need for more F/A-18 E/F/G air frames and squadrons as the USN grows to 500 ship navy.

Again sidewayish Rhinos are spotted by A50 Mainstay, but fighters head on are not. Growlers have nor started jamming yet.

In HX context we really don’t know what kind of A2A missiles Finland is looking for in tandem with the Rhinos. There are AMRAAM D, JATM and Peregrine missiles as options. Other than that, US congress sales permit made it really clear what else Finland is looking to a quire as stores for HX fighters.

In the simulation again it is very sobering to see how much Finland’s air defense is really centered around the missiles Air Force uses and their performance: IF we think perfect hit rate as pk50% (every volley of two missiles drops an enemy target) when kill probability goes under pk30% you are looking more and more likely hood of blue casualities. (1st column in picture below being the case in point: pk around 21%, four blue losses) This is mainly because the the red force will get so close that they can see targets and get to fire. After that Super Hornet is not at it’s strongest.

In this scenario I used F/A-18 Es with JATM missiles (Growlers were still with AMRAAM Ds). The AF-bases were the same, and again no fire untill at least four VVS fighters were in Finnish aerospace. As HX hopefulls go, F/A-18 E is in the slow side with F-35: Both can clock speeds up to 1,6 mach (This might be in some kind of load, because I have seen quotes of 1,8M clean/ in A2A nission) The European HX-hopefulls bit faster (Rafale 1,8 Mach, Gripen 2 Mach and Typhoon 2,2+ Mach). The speed is significant in two ways: It allowe you get faster where you need to be, and it helps missiles to fly a bit farther.(Height of launch is here more significant, but speed is not without impact on matter. Not to mention relative altitude between launching aircraft and the target)

Scorecard for Rhino. It got really bad for Finnish side on 1st run, when JATMs didn’t really perform. This resulted into blue force casualities. As you can see, run number two when JATMs performed really good, the fight was walk in the park.

Super Hornets AN/APG-79 radar is very sophisticated and powerful AESA radar and combined with long range AIM-260 JATM missile it gives quite a good accounting of itself. But as an average it seems that every third missile hits. One still has to point out, that frequently the F/A-18 Es tried shooting down the AS-17 and 18 missiles, and did get some scores, but that it is quite difficult exercise to pull it of.

Video of DCA scenario involving F/A-18 E fighters in northern Lapland.

As an interceptor F/A-18 E is not at its best performance, but never the less, it gives quite a good account of itself. Granted the first round was really awful, and 4 fighters were lost, but after that thing evened out. also Pk with JATM was on that time abyssal 0,224, so Suhois got really close and managed to shoot some missiles themselves. that led to casualties. When JATMs performed, there was no real problems in that account.

Last but not least, SAAB Gripen.

About epamuodikkaitaajatuksia

Viisikymppinen jannu, joka on huolissaan siitä miten maanpuolustus ja turvallisuus makaa Lapissa, Suomessa ja Euroopassa. Harrastuksina Amerikkalainen jalkapallo ja SRA ammunta, Defendo ja Krav Maga. A guy about 45, who has a "thang" for military current issues, defense and shooting. Not to forget American football. Also Krav maga and Saario Defendo is done for the kicks.
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2 Responses to Rhinos of Winter Night

  1. kupari hana says:

    erittäin mukava … pidän todella blogistasi …

  2. Pingback: Nopea vastaus Marja Sannikalle hävittäjäkaupoista | Epämuodikkaita ajatuksia

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