Advanced Super Hornet increases stealth signature, combat radius

ST. LOUIS. Recent tests of Conformal Fuel Tanks (CFTs), Enclosed Weapons Pod (EWP) retrofits, and other enhancements on an F/A-18 Advanced Super Hornet demonstrated a 50 percent reduction in radar signature and a 130-mile range increase over current Super Hornet variants. Testing occurred over three weeks at Patuxent River, MD, and St. Louis, MO, and was jointly funded by Boeing and Northrop Grumman.

During testing, an underwent 21 flights that established the aircraft’s improvements, making it harder to detect using radar. In addition, the improvements to the now enable a of more than 700 nautical miles.

"Even though we added components to the aircraft, their stealthy, low-drag design will enhance the combat capability and survivability of the Super Hornet on an aircraft that has a combat-proven history launching and recovering from aircraft carriers,” says Mike Wallace, Boeing test pilot.

Plans for more improvements to the Advanced Super Hornet include an enhanced engine, internal Infrared Search and Track (IRST), and a next-generation cockpit.

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