the retired CF-18 'fleet manager's' statement suggests the F-35 has less range than the CF-18... and that from a Canadian north patrol/reconnaissance aspect, the F-35 is disadvantaged in relation to the CF-18. This same range reference shows up, many times over across various sites... if the guy has it wrong, if all these other appearances of the same reference are wrong, just what are the range numbers that would correspond to that type of flight mode; i.e., patrol/reconnaissance?
I've also read several references that suggest the F-35 drop tanks only realize a minimal 8% gain over the range associated with the internal tank... drag performance considerations. In any case, MLW member punked hit the other point I was lining up around - stealth. If you're so accepting to dropping stealth for maximizing range... and that, supposedly, that dropping stealth only realizes you an additional (and measly) 8% range gain, isn't "dropping stealth" a non-starter?
but again, what are the range numbers for the flight mode associated with flying patrol/reconnaissance... CF-18 versus F-35?
That’s indeed what he suggested, either due to a brain fart or to mislead. As for the range itself, the numbers as posted by smallc, are the very reflection of that. The Hornet’s numbers include drop tanks versus the F-35’s with just internal fuel, now obviously the addition of drop tanks (The very same as used on the Hornet, Eagle etc) will increase the F-35’s range.
As for the ~8% factor, that really depends on the calculation and contrasting the internal fuel capacity of both the Hornet and F-35. If the F-35 carriers more than double the internal fuel than the Hornet, quite obviously carrying a single 480 gal drop tank will increase each aircraft’s percentage differently. As for (negative) drag performance, that to depends on what’s carried and by what aircraft.
For your NORPAT, if each aircraft is carrying several short and medium range missiles (With the F-35 internally), and the F-35 two under wing tanks and the Hornet carrying two under wing and one centerline (To bring the Hornet’s capacity closer to the F-35s), quite obviously the F-35 will be less impacted by drag.
As for stealth, again for conducting the vast majority of our NORPATs, stealth is not a requirement, but if it becomes so (even during said mission) the F-35 can fulfill said stealth requirement (by dropping it’s tanks) where as the Hornet (or any other 4+ generation aircraft) can not.
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