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malibu43

Why so long for F-18's and F-16's to carry AGM-65

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Totally random question - I was thinking about the fact that the F-18 and F-16 in NF4+ do not carry the AGM-65. I know this is accurate for the early blocks of these aircraft (thanks, wikipedia).

 

But I'm curious why? The F-18 entered service in 1983. F-4's had been able to carry mavericks for years at that point. Is it just because the development cycle time to add that capability is so long that there is a huge lag?

 

Just curious. I'm betting that I can get 3 or 4 half-page replies within 5-10 minutes.

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F-16s weren´t implemented with capability to use PGMs until Block 15, i think. I suppose that it also took some time to do with Hornets. Too new weapons systems, i guess.

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Being able to CARRY a store, the ABILITY to use a store, and the NEED to use a store are separate things. Most a/c are tested with all sorts of loads, many not being used operationally. I'm sure during the early stages of both a/c then had the ability to carry the MAV, but didn't have the necessary software or databus to use it.

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Precision munitions weren't the big deal then that they are now. Back then, if a plane did A2G at all (the F-16 wasn't even designed for it, it was to be a WVR dayfighter with 2 AIM-9s, a gun, and a simple radar) it was more important how good the CCIP and such were for dropping unguided bombs.

There was also probably the notion that it was too much workload for a single-seater with the exception of the much-slower-so-you-have-some-time A-10. The Viper and Hornet were never planned to be busting tanks in a Fulda Gap breakout. That would be left to the A-10s and others while they'd be tangling in the skies or doing coastal work (for the Hornet). It's only around the time of ODS that it was decided any plane could be a precision strike craft and they started integrating things all over.

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I have read the bok "Vipers in the Storm" by ... forgot the name, a very nice book writen by a F-16 pilot during his Mav training and using it later in combat. Just look out for this book, it `s ok but only availbel in english ..

 

http://www.vipersinthestorm.com/html/main_page.html

Edited by 76.IAP-Blackbird

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Okay, I haven't studied the F-18 nor the F/A-18 nearly as well as I have the F-14, but I can provide at least a little insight:

 

The F-16 was initially designed as an inexpensive, highly maneuverable fighter, whose sole purpose was to dogfight. Initially, the F-16 wasn't even wired for the AIM-9L all-aspect IR missile! The only reason I know this is from reading one of Bob Wilcox's books that covered the "teen-series" and the section on the Viper covered its development. Eventually, "gold plating" was added that wound up turning the plane into a nasty air to air, OR air to ground platform, including the ability to carry all-aspect IR missiles, AIM-7's and percesion guided air to surface munitions. I think Block 15 was the first to carry the AIM-7, but can't say definitively, so that's as far as I'll go.

 

Hope this helps, and I'm not totally off base! Don't got the book with me at the moment, so that's from memory recall.

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The first F-16 to carry the Sparrow was one of the prototypes in the mid to late 1970s - so I guess they decided to add missile capability very early on.

 

 

The second YF-16 (#01568), equiped with 2x AIM-9, 2x AIM-7 and camera pods test-firing a Sparrow missile.

 

main.php?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=145912&g2_serialNumber=3

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The F-16ADF Air Defence version was the only F-16A which was able to use the Sparrow in service.

 

AFAIK the F-16A ADF was the only F-16A in USAF service to actually use the AIM-7 operationally. Not sure if Italy rewired them for Aspides (they probably just used AIM-120s - I would)

 

 

However Taiwan has the F-16A Block 20 - shown with 2 AIM-7s:

 

F16A_6642.jpg

 

 

 

The person above may have been coming from this about all Block 15s:

The AN/APG-66 radar on the Block 15 Fighting Falcons was provided with an early version of a track-while-scan mode for greater air defense capability. The F-16s were also equipped with Have Quick I secure UHF radios, and internal provisions for the AIM-7 were made. Additional structural strengthening was performed to allow an extra 1000 pounds of ordnance to be carried on the underwing points. Last but not least, pilot comfort was enhanced by improving the cockpit air conditioning.

 

http://www.f-16.net/f-16_versions_article3.html

Edited by MigBuster

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Italy rewired theirs for Aspides, and Portuguese Air Force has their F-16 wired to launch AIM-7P and AMRAAMs, the same way our Hornets. I think we got some agreement to share missiles. I doubt, however, that the Air Forces of the deal of the century (Belgium, Netherlans, Denmark and Norway) did so, but it would have been interesting due to the lack of any other BVR solution before the AMRAAM

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The Taiwainese Air Force got a special Blk 20 F-16 that was basically a F-16C50 but was called the F-16A Blk20 to appease China. The BLK 20 could carry the whole shooting match of US Weapons... Amraam Sparrow Sidewinder Maverick...

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The Taiwainese Air Force got a special Blk 20 F-16 that was basically a F-16C50 but was called the F-16A Blk20 to appease China. The BLK 20 could carry the whole shooting match of US Weapons... Amraam Sparrow Sidewinder Maverick...

 

 

Its actually an F-16A airframe upgraded to MLU standards (similar to the RDAF/RNLAF/BAF F-16AMs) which have some avionics comparible to a block 50. It is not an F-16C - note the lack of extended base section on the tail and antenna.

 

Also I believe it uses the less powerful 22,000lbs thrust F100-PW-220, Block 50s use the 29,000lbs thrust F110-GE-129

 

 

http://www.f-16.net/f-16_users_article19.html

Edited by MigBuster

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Some interesting stuff (particularly about the Taiwanese Block 20). To largely summarise it would appear the Maverick capability of the Viper/Hornet are most related to when the databus, software and wiring is needed given that the base radar set data processor at that time supports the appropriate mode. Meaning pretty much all Hornets and the F-16 from Block 15OCU afaik.

Of course with such questions it is always worthy, as inferred in the thread to review the development history from the manufacturer point of view, as well as the engineering requirement and finally military appraisal. Between the three you get the service variants and capabilities.

For example, yes the F-16 was developed by the manufacturer essentially as a classical dayfighter, the ultimate technological evolution of the seat of the pants winged warrior. But that was't the LFX requirement. In the same way the Northrop YF-17 competition for the contract (which became the Hornet) was really as far as the company was concerned, a complete rebuild of the F-5 to reflect contemporary technological evolution. It is no coincidence the LFX requirement essentially mirrored that of the F-5E's role in USAF service (and to a lesser extent that of the F-105G license production in the export market).

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Italy rewired theirs for Aspides, and Portuguese Air Force has their F-16 wired to launch AIM-7P and AMRAAMs, the same way our Hornets. I think we got some agreement to share missiles. I doubt, however, that the Air Forces of the deal of the century (Belgium, Netherlans, Denmark and Norway) did so, but it would have been interesting due to the lack of any other BVR solution before the AMRAAM

 

No BVR capability before the AMRAAM, which has been carried however in since1998 by some Block 15OCU's (during the KLu deployment to Villafranca in the Yugoslavian conflict) untill the introduction of the MLU later during that year. The OCU's APG-66 radar lacked the mid-course update capability of the later APG-68 of the MLU, so AFAIK the effective range of the AMRAAM must have been halved.

The capabilities of the F16 with dumb bombs were relatively good (winner of NATO bombing competitions in Scotland) and of course there were cluster bombs, so, apart from the stand-off capability, the need for an expensive very precise weapon was not that great during the Cold War. Smaller conflicts like in Yugoslavia changed that and the fear of collateral damage meant new requirements.

The TV and infrared Maverick had been tested on the KLu F16's during the '80s but not ordered as the use of the weapon required very specialised training which would be taking up too much time and interfere with other tasks (like A2A.......)

During Deliberate Force in Yugoslavia in1995, a requirement was formulated after all, but there was no possibility to obtain the AMG-65G at such a short notice, so the AMG-65D was used as from October 1996 instead. During Allied Force 32 of them were fired with great effect and it is still in use, though the combination of Lantirn pods and LGB is preferred and in use since 1999 (probably considerably less costly in use)

 

Hou doe,:good:

 

Derk

Edited by Derk

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