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Thread: F/A-18 Hornet Contractor

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    F/A-18 Hornet Contractor

    As we all know, the F/A-18 Hornet started out as the YF-17 Cobra during the LightWeight Fighter Competition which pit the YF-17 Cobra against the YF-16. The YF-17 lost the competition to the F-16 for the USAF but the US Navy picked up the YF-17 instead of the F-16 for its needs. The YF-17 then eventually evolved into the F/A-18 Hornet (which although based on, is pretty different from the YF-17). Now, at the beginning the YF-17 was a design produced by Northrup but how did it eventually become that McDonald Douglas became the prime contractor for the F/A-18? I know that they later collaberated on it and that MD was responsible for the naval version and Northrup for the land version, but how did this all happen?

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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Burning_Kid View Post
    As we all know, the F/A-18 Hornet started out as the YF-17 Cobra during the LightWeight Fighter Competition which pit the YF-17 Cobra against the YF-16. The YF-17 lost the competition to the F-16 for the USAF but the US Navy picked up the YF-17 instead of the F-16 for its needs. The YF-17 then eventually evolved into the F/A-18 Hornet (which although based on, is pretty different from the YF-17). Now, at the beginning the YF-17 was a design produced by Northrup but how did it eventually become that McDonald Douglas became the prime contractor for the F/A-18? I know that they later collaberated on it and that MD was responsible for the naval version and Northrup for the land version, but how did this all happen?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F-18

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    Whoa, that makes me feel stupid. I'm pretty sure I've read its Wiki page a couple of times and it never mentioned that part. >.>

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    To complete that answer, we (McDonnell) low bid Northrop on essentially all the foreign sales of the aircraft, selling the navalized variant on the premise of lower initial cost and higher reliability due to the robustness of a fully navalized aircraft. This incurred a weight/fuel penalty but that's basically what happened making McDonnell the prime contractor on ALL F/A-18's. Northrop understandably wasn't pleased about the deal.

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    RE: F/A-18 Hornet Contractor

    Quote Originally Posted by The_Burning_Kid
    how did it eventually become that McDonald Douglas became the prime contractor for the F/A-18? I know that they later collaberated on it and that MD was responsible for the naval version and Northrup for the land version, but how did this all happen?
    It gets back to politics. Way back when Jack Northrop testified before Congress (late 1940's) that America did not need carriers, just bombers (hopefully flying wings) with nuclear weapons. Jack's guts were really hated and the Navy avoided Northrop products. (The F-5 was forced on the Navy much like the F-4 Phantom was forced on the USAF.) After the YF-16 won the LWF competition the Navy knew the F-16 could not be modified for carrier operations and be an effect fighter. The single engine of the F-16 as being unacceptible for carrier operations was something Congress would understand, even if not completely true. The F-15A was having some difficulties with the P&W F-100 engine, though. Both the USAF and the US Navy were supposed to buy the same LWF. Under pressure from congress to find an alternative to the Tomcat's rising prices. Some members of the Navy felt the YF-18 could be modified into the fighter and light attack aircraft, so more or less a compromise was made. To have McDonnell do the conversion of the YF-17 to the F-18. The excuse would be Northrop had never designed a carrier fighter but, Northrop could make the landbased variant of the F/A-18. McDonnell Aircraft had designed several carrier aircraft (Phantom 1, Banshee, etc.).
    At first the YF-17 was to be made into two variants, one a fighter and the other an attack aircraft. Advances in technologies allowed the two variants to be combined.


    Quote Originally Posted by jgetti View Post
    To complete that answer, we (McDonnell) low bid Northrop on essentially all the foreign sales of the aircraft, selling the navalized variant on the premise of lower initial cost and higher reliability due to the robustness of a fully navalized aircraft. This incurred a weight/fuel penalty but that's basically what happened making McDonnell the prime contractor on ALL F/A-18's. Northrop understandably wasn't pleased about the deal.
    I agree, it is the same economics that make the F/A-18 a better buy than the MiG-29! The MiG-29 cost half as much as the F/A-18 but, the F/A-18's airframe has three times the life of the MiG-29 plus the MiG cost more to operate.
    Besides, most customers agreed the landbased version of the F/A-18 was a "hotter" fighter but, the carrier version of the F/A-18 was more than sufficient.

    Adrian

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    Boeing F/A - 18A/C Hornet

    Entered service 1983
    Crew 1 men
    Dimensions and weight
    Length 17.07 m
    Wing span 11.43 m
    Height 4.66 m
    Weight (empty) 10.81 t
    Weight (maximum take off) 21.88 t
    Engines and performance
    Engines 2 x General Electric F404-GE-402 turbofans
    Traction (with afterburning) 2 x 78.73 kN
    Maximum speed 1 915 km/h
    Combat radius 740 - 1 065 km


    More can read:
    http://military-today.com/aircraft/b..._ac_hornet.htm

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