In Canada, fighter aircraft fulfill two primary missions; they must be prepared to intercept unknown aircraft before they penetrate the Canadian Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ) and even more challenging, defeat the growing threat of Russian bombers with long-range cruise missiles that can be launched before reaching the ADIZ.
The Super Hornet was built to meet the challenges of one of the most demanding operational environments in aviation: the aircraft carrier in all weather and climates. The Canadian Arctic is arguably the most difficult region on the globe in which to effectively operate fighter aircraft to defend a nation’s sovereignty and security. Vast geography and extremely hostile environmental conditions severely test the equipment and the personnel that operate and support it.
The Super Hornet has taken design features to the next level:
The F/A-18E/F Super Hornet is ideally suited for safe, efficient, and productive operations in the vast and hostile Canadian Arctic.
Rapidly changing weather, vicious cold, high winds, heavy snow and ice, prolonged darkness and long distances from transportation hubs and between useable airfields make sustained flying operations in extreme arctic conditions challenging and dangerous. Vast expanses of ice, land devoid of shelter, and freezing seas reduce the chances of survival of downed aircrews to minutes. To survive and operate routinely in such a stressing environment, an aircraft design must be optimized for safety, redundancy and sustainability.
Because the Super Hornet was designed to operate around the world on its own airfield, it had to be designed for maintenance with the smallest practical amount of support equipment in small spaces and with limited logistics. The spartan shipboard environment and crowded flight and hangar decks do not have room for excessive ground support equipment. Consequently much of the support equipment associated with the Super Hornet is self-contained, and the aircraft uses standard power and cooling equipment.
The Super Hornet’s rugged design and low speed handling qualities allow it to easily and safely perform steep approaches into short, austere fields only partially cleared of snow. Its tail hook can be used routinely on runways with arresting cables to increase safety, reduce rollout distances, enhance high-crosswind landing performance and keep from overrunning icy, wet runways. On rollout its robust landing gear and wheels easily handle irregularities on the runway caused by ice and snow drifts.
The ruggedness of the aircraft and the ability to routinely use arrested landings provide another option for operations that might be curtailed in other aircraft.
The F/A-18E/F has sufficient range to transit between remote bases with reserves. Its range and endurance enhances effective patrolling of large areas. The Super Hornet also provides buddy refueling capability (i.e. a Super Hornet transfers fuel to another Super Hornet). Operators can increase the range and endurance of Super Hornets on patrol without having to rely on another type of aircraft to provide dedicated aerial refueling capability.
This capability also provides a margin of safety in the event of an emergency or inclement weather during which a Super Hornet tanker can provide that needed fuel.
To date, more than 700 F/A-18 aircraft have been delivered on or ahead of schedule and on budget. With both U.S. Navy and international interest high, Boeing is confident production will continue well into the 2020s and that the aircraft will operate to 2040 and beyond. The Super Hornet was built to meet the challenges of one of the most demanding operational environments in aviation: the aircraft carrier in all weather and climates. Many of the design features of the Super Hornet optimize the aircraft for operations in the other most demanding operational environment, expeditionary operations in arctic environs. The Super Hornet is the world’s most proven and affordable multi-role fighter and Boeing will continue to offer the platform to air forces across the globe that are interested in modernizing their fleet with minimum risk and maximum return on investment.
The F/A-18E/F Super Hornet is ideally suited for safe, efficient, and productive operations in the arctic and subarctic regions of the world.