Subject: F/A-18E/F Update From: Chuck Spinney
[Personal opinion, not representing institutional affiliation] Wed, 01 Apr 1998 07:47:40 -0500 Navy & Boeing appear poised to declare victory over wing drop. While this fix appears to eliminate (mitigate?) wing drop & buffet, I have been unable to determine what, if any, penalties come with it. In theory, such penalties could take the form of reduced lift, increased drag (although it is also possible that an optimized design could reduce drag), increased maintenance problems, or adverse changes to radar cross section. To the best of my knowledge, the Navy has not done a detailed analysis of these penalties yet. Note, however, pressure to approve a multi-year procurement is building. The advanced procurement dollars for the multi-year, if approved, would be appropriated this summer for the budget year which begins next Oct--well before the beginning of the OT-IIC Operational Evaluation tests , which will determine if this aircraft is acceptable to fleet (OT-IIB was supposed to begin in Mar but has been delayed). This makes the analysis of penalties crucially important before any money is released or production decisions are made. If multiyear is approved, and if OT-IIC shows the E/F to be unacceptable, or to be such a small improvement over the best available alternative (i.e., Lot XIX, XX F/A-18C/Ds) that it is not worth the increased costs, the U.S. government may find that it is too expensive to stop production of E/Fs and increase production of Lot XX C/Ds.