EA-18G vs. EA-6B?

Discussion in 'The War Room' started by Apocal, Jan 16, 2006.

  1. Apocal

    Apocal The New Black SuperModerator

    OK, I really want to ask this question especially if any of you are prior Prowler or Hornet aviators or maintainers who might have the inside perspective:

    Is there any advantage, whatsoever, to keeping the Prowler instead of switchign over the Growler in 2009?

    My experiences:
    First off, I'm not an airedale, never been an airedale and the closest I come to working on aircraft is occasionally practicing to shoot them down or sometimes burning up their AEA equipment with my mad skills at EP.

    That being said, from conversations with maintainers, a few aviators and other associated airedale types I worked out this:
    -Super Hornet requires far fewer man hours-to-flight hours than any other airframe in the Navy.
    -Super Hornet, in addition to carrying five ALQ-99s like the Prowler, can actually protect itself or even pop off a target of opportunity or two with AIM-120s along with AGM-88s.
    -Super Hornet has a quicker turnaround time.
    -Super Hornet needs fewer overhauls.
    -When you do need an overhaul, it's far easier on a Super Hornet.
    -Super Hornet is all digital.
    -Super Hornet's airframe has growth room. So when upgrades to our AEA systems become available, they'll actually fit.
    -Super Hornet is Mode 3 compatible, meaning fully-automated landing, so no more "Cat 5 launches".
    -Super Hornet comes close to the same combat radius as the Prowler (390nm vs. 420nm).
    -Because of the reduced requirements in personnel, spare parts, and equipment, you can have five Growlers in a VAQ instead of four Prowlers.
  2. Leo1

    Leo1 Vicious Attack Dog Super Awesome Happy Fun Time

    :rolleyes: Yeah, because that's exactly what I had in mind when I said that, I must've been assuming the current aircraft could just stay in service indefinitely, as opposed to the F/A-18E airframe being a substandard airframe for the jammer mission when compared to a prisitine, superior airframe, similarly upgraded.

    The vast majority of the "advantages" touted for the E/A-18G "Growler" are merely the product of the airframe being new as opposed to old- that applies to any new-build aircraft, and is a specious "advantage" to tout when talking about whether an aircraft is an effective replacement for an aging airframe (as opposed to a more suitable, other new airframe being used).

    The E/A-18G was the best pick out of a bad lot, it wasn't chosen because it was the best thing since sliced bread, it was chosen because there was no other viable solution, and it's their own fault. The Super Hornet isn't nicknamed the Super Horror for nothing. It sucks.
  3. Apocal

    Apocal The New Black SuperModerator

    They could increase the Prowler's size, tear out all it's older, analog electronics and go all-digital, develop and install low-maintenance engines, add in a ACLS beacon, integrate AIM-120 with the weapon's suite and re-design the APG-79 to fit. Of course, we could also design a whole 'nother EA aircraft, which would be much the same thing.

    As far as I know, there is absolutely nothing the Prowler does better than the Growler, except flying the thirty extra nautical miles in it's combat radius.


    That is wrong. According to GAO report 06-141, the average age of a Prowler is 21.5, while a F/A-18A+ is 18.5... excuse me if I'm not one to believe that three years can account for a full ten percent lower mission capable rate. Hornets of all types were designed from the get-go to be extremely "mech/tech friendly", in response to low availability rates of existing carrier aircraft. The Intruders were bitches to maintain and they passed that trait, vigorously, onto the Prowler. It shows in both aircraft.

    Are you saying that availability rates and turnaround times shouldn't be a consideration when when selecting a replacement? Or that those are bullshit statistics anyway?

    I don't believe there were any other electronic attack aircraft being marketed at the time. Not that USN and USMC were asking, though.

    EDIT: FUCKIN' A! Getting MMH/FH data online is like pulling teeth.
    http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/policy/navy/ntsp/ea-6b icapii.pdf --- 40.75 MMH for the EA-6B ICAP II, which differs mainly in electronics software, not actual differences in aircraft from the ICAP III

    http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d06141.pdfAlso, contrast said number with mission capable rate, in the low-60s to high-50s. Basically, according to GAO 06-141, maintainers are working roughly three times as hard for a full quarter less available come time to fly. Factor in the additional Growler assigned per VAQ and you can see why I'm skeptical in regards to Prowler > Growler. More aircraft, flying more, using the same AEA equipment, with better sensors and air-to-air weapons, yet the Prowler is better?!

    EDIT3: F/A-18As (average age of 18.5 years) and EA-6Bs (average age 21.5)... F/A-18A requiring 23 MMH (from 18 MMH) for a MC rate of 70 percent, EA-6B requiring 40 MMH (from 30 MMH) for a MC rate of 60 percent.
  4. Cmdr RayCav

    Cmdr RayCav dramattentionwhorepervert

    And that is exactly why the EF-18G gets my vote. The EF-18G not only brings "newness" to the table - it brings a lot of stuff any new-build EA-6 would not be able to bring to the table without a near 100% redesign (and you might as well design a new aircraft from scratch then). It brings about 30 years or so worth of operational and service improvements. It brings to the table technologies you just can't stuff into even a new-build EA-6 wouldn't be able to, because it's integral to the design of the aircraft itself.

    As someone who hangs around people who work on older and newer aircraft all the time, as well as someone who he himself has quite a bit of experience hanging around older and newer aircraft, I can personally tell you that the statment you just made is complete and utter bull-shit. In addition to bringing to the table all the advancements in technology, fleet integration, servicability, maintence, and mission turn-around that I just mentioned, working on a brand-spaking new aircraft is just flat-out easier and preferable. There's no fatigue bullshit you have to mess with, and that alone, believe me as I speak from personal experience, is worth it.

    Such as?

    Funny, because I recall the same process being used to choose the EA-6B Prowler in the first place. Or have you completely forgotten that it, too, is derived from an aircraft with a completely different mission in the first place, the A-6 Intruder (which, keep in mind, was also limited to a two-seater, as was the original EA-6A that proceeded the Prowler)?
  5. Rubberanvil

    Rubberanvil Hentai Undivided

    Shouldn't this be an " EA-18G vs. EA-6F" comparsion?
  6. Apocal

    Apocal The New Black SuperModerator

    Leo1 stated that the EA-18G would be a "crappy" replacement for the EA-6B. So I compared the two. I could look up the EA-6F and see it has any advantage, since I don't know too much about it. Or better yet, leo1 can, since he's the one saying the Growler sucks and we should stick with Prowlers.

    Although I strongly suspect this is the case of someone jumping on the "Hornet Sucks!" bandwagon even though they don't have a clue about the subject.
  7. Cmdr RayCav

    Cmdr RayCav dramattentionwhorepervert

    There is no EA-6F program that I am aware of. There was an A-6F program that did promise a brand-new, new-build Intruder that would bring to the table a lot of the new technological advancements that I mentioned including brand new composite wings and turbofan engines; in a lot of ways it was to the A-6 what the Super Hornet program was to the F-18 (Super Intruder?). Either way, it got cancelled because it was thought that it still wouldn't have the benefits of a completely new airframe, so they scrapped it in favor of the A-12 (we all know how well that went). When the A-12 itself got cancelled there was an "interim" A-6F program that was to simply give the existing A-6E fleet the A-6F's wings, while retaining the crummy old engines the A-6Es were stuck with. It, too, was cancelled for pretty much the same reasons the original A-6F program was cancelled, and so they went ahead with the Super Hornet program, which fortunately (despite whatever shortcomings people may precieve in it) actually managed to avoid being cancelled for once and is now in service.
  8. thejester

    thejester What y'all lookin' at?

    Surely the biggest advantage we're missing is the fact that a Growler might be able to duel with the newest Russian high-performance SAM systems and come out alive? It gives some kind of credibility back to SEAD - I saw an analysis of Operation Allied Force which stated the retirement of the F-4G had resulted in the essential death of the dedicated SEAD community, with dire results. ATM SEAD/DEAD is in the hands of a big fat slow ship like the EA-6B or tactical fighters like the Beagle, Viper or Bug - which can shoot HARMs and not much else. Maybe the Growler will really put the teeth back in SEAD and provide an excellent counter against the new generation SAM systems.
  9. Leo1

    Leo1 Vicious Attack Dog Super Awesome Happy Fun Time

    It's "Super Hornet" sucks, not Hornet sucks. Or are you going to tell me that all the problems with the Super Hornet development are a fiction? In any event:

    I'd be very interested to see how that combat radius is computed- specifically, how many external tanks the Grolwer is carrying.

    Fallacious. I was unaware the F/A-18A was an EW aircraft.

    No... when you're talking about what is going to be a good replacement for an aircraft that needs to be replaced, referring to how easy the new aircraft is going to be maintained because it's new is specious reasoning. It applies to whatever new aircraft you care to name.

    Not a chance, unless it gets a new anti-radiation weapon far more capable than even the latest HARM. The newest Russian high-performance SAMs = S-400s.
  10. Leo1

    Leo1 Vicious Attack Dog Super Awesome Happy Fun Time


    You're merely restating the original specious reasoning with more rhetorical flourish. It's still specious. Wow, a brand-new aircraft is easier to work on than one that's old. As if that wasn't a foregone conclusion. Should we then say that the F/A-18E is a better fleet interceptor than an equivalent F-14 variant, because the F-14s we have now are old?

    See: best pick out of a bad lot.

    "Limited to a two seater"? What are you talking about? You can't have a jammer like the EA-6B Prowler with anything less. Speaking of two seaters, there's also the point that both the EF-111 Raven and EA-6B Prowler have a side-by-side seating arrangement that is better suited to the work the crew has to do.
  11. Cmdr RayCav

    Cmdr RayCav dramattentionwhorepervert

    Oh, like...

    - quick-turnaround engine replacement (a standard feature on all fighters since late-block F-16s)

    - better computer, electronic and and other technology integration with not only other F-18s but over the entire US Navy force structure

    - better communications exchange with the above

    - better modularity (if nothing else, this makes maintence less of a pain in the ass)

    - a simplified aircraft structure which also helps accomplish the above

    And there's quite a bit more, but I really just don't feel like typing out a whole list for you.

    No, you're just being a moron who is revealing just how much he knows about aircraft and what it takes to keep them in the air - which, at least the impression I'm getting is, jack shit.

    That's what the US Navy says, at least.

    The F-18E is also a better interceptor because it can better communicate with the rest of the fleet. It might not have the raw top speed or the Phoenix, but those two are less of an issue today.


    I just explained that the original EA-6 as well as the A-6 were aircraft with no more than two seats.

    The EF-111 is a two-seater though, so you don't need to worry about having two extra crewmen to operate the electronics, especially with the level of automation we're able to achieve today. And as for side-by-side crew configuration and being better suited for crew work, now that is truly "specious."
  12. Leo1

    Leo1 Vicious Attack Dog Super Awesome Happy Fun Time

    Whoopee. Like you need an F/A-18E for this.




    There's nothing in that list that says HORNET FTW! You can do that on any airframe.

    No, you're just assuming that the F/A-18E is the only new aircraft ever introduced to the fleet. Oooh, so impressive.

    :lol: You've got to be frakking me.

    What a load of airy-fairy bullshit. It can "communicate" better. Ooooh. Sounds like the kind of network-centric information warfare point-and-click no-substance airy-fairy wank one thinks up to rationalize such a drop in capability.

    "I can see an incoming bomber! I don't have the range or the radar to kick itss ass! Please advise!"

    "No idea, Ghost Rider, but you're coming through loud and clear over the speaker. And we're getting a great view of your complete impotence over the datalinks!"

    In other words, it isn't as good a fleet interceptor, but because it's less of an issue today, it somehow ... is as good. Riiight. Are you serious?

    Hence me asking why the heck you brought it up ...

    And you base this on?
  13. Cmdr RayCav

    Cmdr RayCav dramattentionwhorepervert

    Any airframe, you say?

    Prove it can be done with the EA-6B then.

    Irrellevant red herring. The original assertion is that the EF-18G is inferior/superior to the EA-6B, not that the F/A-18E is the only new aircraft ever introduced to the fleet.

    The F-14s are flat-out worn out. Anything with at least decent capability would be better than flying a worn-out airframe even if that worn-out airframe is wanked up to be some sort of uber-platform.

    Guess what? The F/A-18E is a brand new airframe with at least decent capability.

    Unless of course you would like to follow the Canadian Navy model of flying them literally into the ground for the loss of the hull and crew.....

    I don't even really need to respond to this because it shows just how much of a bloody moron you are. Communication is one of the most important aspects of battle, something Sun Tzu, George Washington, Robert E. Lee, Pershing, Rommel, MacArthur, and Norman Schwartzkopf can tell you. When I talk about communication, I mean information regarding the enemy's tactical situation being broadcast to whatever units need that information - such as ground units on a CAS mission. But then again, you've already demonstrated your deeply insightful knowledge on that matter.

    The original mission of the F-14 has ceased to exist because the targets ceased to exist. The current major threat of ASMs cannot be handled very well by Phoenix anyway, so it's a moot loss. Not to mention, the AIM-120D will make up enough of the difference for now, and a longer-ranged version might be in the works for all we know.

    Because you seem to be wanking off on the assumption that the mission needs a dedicated crew of three + pilot.

    The fact that the only tactical warplanes in recent service to ever bother to use it were the F-111, Su-24, Su-34 and A-6, as far as I can recall. Planes with tandem seating configuration are not only successful but the norm.

    Now, tell me what you base your assumption on.
  14. Yeah, the two guys in back are going to be more then twice as effective as the one guy in back of the EF-18 when it comes to operating the jammers. The plane can also fly further and loiter longer which is highly important.
  15. Apocal

    Apocal The New Black SuperModerator

    It isn't. But the F/A-18As are nearly as old as the EA-6Bs, while requiring just about half the maintenance for 12% more reliability. 61% mission capable in a four plane squadron or 73% mission capable in a five plane squadron, which would you pick?

    See above. And EA-6Bs at no point in their service lives consistently managed to make CNOs goals for mission capable rate (~70%) nor have they ever required less than 36 man hours for every flight hour flown. Obviously, age of the airframe has a helluva lot less to do with reliability than you imply.

    More later.
  16. Apocal

    Apocal The New Black SuperModerator

    Alright. I can concede those.

    Two 480g drop tanks and a full load of internal fuel, flying a hi-lo-lo-hi flight profile (high altitude to the target, low alt. penetration, low alt. egress, high altitude back to base). Leaving it seven (six wing and one centerline, by my count) hardpoints for ALQ-99 pods, HARMs or other kinds of ordnance. Two more hardpoints than a Prowler.

    That means a Growler can carry as many ALQ-99s as a Prowler, along with with twice the weapons. Or two more pods and the same number of weapons.

    Networking means that I can only have a single radar emitting in a formation and use that one radar's designations to guide every missile fired. It also means that every platform has equal access to the single integrated air picture (SIAP). The first creates a whole new ideal in tactics and weapons employment. The second allows a degree of efficiency no one has seen before.
  17. Leo1

    Leo1 Vicious Attack Dog Super Awesome Happy Fun Time

    How could it possibly be difficult? The EA-6B already has demonstrably more internal volume does it not?

    No, it's not a red herring, since so far all I'm hearing in favour of the Super Hornet airframe is that it's new. So what? Any replacement aircraft for the EA-6B is going to be new, by definition. That doesn't mean it's a good replacement.

    Och jeez. Back to this "worn out" red herring? It's a specious criticism. Assume both airframes are new, not that one is falling apart from age.

    Blatant strawman. Comparing old specific airframes to a new design is specious, period. Compare capability if both were as new.

    Give me a fucking break. Why don't you enlighten me as to how marvellous this vague bullshit "better communicate with the fleet" compares to an F-14D Tomcat? You're just talking out of your arse at this point, and excuse me for being skeptical at the absurd notion that an F/A-18E radar could ever provide as much information to the force as an F-14D radar, to say nothing if they had ever developed an AESA for the Tomcat. You think you're going to make a cogent argument that whatever datalinks and similar equipment on a Hornet that supposedly support your vague claims couldn't be put on another aircraft?

    Phoenix was meant to be replaced by AAAM, if you didn't know. AIM-120D is simply a stop-gap. As for the original mission ceasing to exist, the F-14 was very effective as a Bombcat.

    Already referred to.

    All of which are long range strike fighters, incidentally.
  18. Cmdr RayCav

    Cmdr RayCav dramattentionwhorepervert

    That I cannot tell you, but other than the fact that "wasted space" is rare on any combat airframe, integration of 21st century technology is difficult when you're trying to stuff them in airframes that first saw service in the early 1970's. The Block 89A is probably the max extent that the airframe can be upgraded to, and while it does appear to give the Prowler significant improvement in communications ability, the article clearly states that there were significant compromises that had to be made.

    I'm trying to tell you all the various advantages the EF-18G brings to the table, but rather you choose not to listen and dismiss it all as "the airframe is new" (which, as I have stated, is good enough reason anyway compared to the age and antiquation of the EA-6B). Not my fault.

    It's true, though, that just because it's new doens't mean it's good. The A-12 proved that. But the EF-18G does seem to at least be an adqeuete replacement.

    The technological advantages I named will still hold, assuming the designs of both aircraft remain the same.

    See above, although I will concede that in hindsight the Canadian Forces comment was a strawman.

    The F-18E radar might not have the raw air-to-air tracking power of the F-14, but it's a superior radar for air-to-ground work. I don't know if AESA can be incorporated into the F-14, but if it can I'm sure they would've looked at it, done a cost-benefit analysis, and probably determined the F-18E to be better. And frankly, I'm sick and tired of you trying to accuse me of the bullshit game when I don't see much better from you.

    I said the AIM-120D doesn't make up for it but comes close enough for now. That's different from what you just said, how?

    The Bombcat itself was just an interim solution, really just to give the airframes some work before they were retired. Indeed, I agree it was a fantastic platform, with what I will admit to be superior range and speed than the F-18F (although the latter was not really a factor over Iraq and Afgahnistan and in fact rarely is), but those were the only real advantages it had (although I really wish the Super Hornet's range deficiency had been solved).

    Tornado's have tandem seating and are successful long-range strike fighters. Incidentally, the two-seat Tornado radar jamming variant is also successful and has been in service for quite a few years already.
  19. Apocal

    Apocal The New Black SuperModerator

    And better armed, faster, cheaper to operate, with a quicker turnaround time between sorties and the ability to communicate while jamming all work wonders.

    Basically, networked air defense allows for a much tighter, layered defense. If you wanted, you could use

    It does provide more information, being a full generation beyond the APG-71 and two ahead of the AWG-9.

    Phoenix was meant to be replaced by AAAM, if you didn't know. AIM-120D is simply a stop-gap.

    As a bomber, it's a step behind the Hornet though, with it's ground-capable radar and wide range of certified munitions. Big difference between dedicated strike fighter and an interceptor with a LANTIRN pod hanging off; mainly in the ability to operate in all-weather. LANTIRN isn't such a hot deal when you have low clouds, fog, sandstorms or heavy precipitation.

    The A-6 is not a strike fighter by any stretch of the imagination. Nor is the Su-24, to my knowledge.
  20. Apocal

    Apocal The New Black SuperModerator

    Can't believe I missed this one...

    Depends on what you mean by "duel". If you're thinking old-school Vietnam-style SAM killing, no, not really. If only because damned near every surface--to-air missile has a backup home-on-jam (HOJ) mode these days and quite a few have both HOJ and IR guidance. It really ruins the fun for Wild Weasels because they potentially won't receive any intent-to-launch at all, unless the missile is readily observable and they are looking the right direction.

    Growler is more survivable than present AEA platforms certainly, higher speed, better manueverability and lower RCS/IRCS all help. But how much so is debatable as the ECM pods they carry are by no means stealthy and not as aerodynamic as other toys. You're definantly not going to see one pull a inside loop, dodge two missiles bullet time-style and plant a 500lbs. bomb on the battery commander's forehead.