National Interest analysis is that Advanced Super Hornet could perform 80% of F-35 missions

Dave Majumdar, the defense editor for The National Interest, assessment is that an Advanced Super Hornet could perform could offer a less costly 80 percent solution for the U.S. Navy’s requirements. Once developed to its full potential, the Advanced Super Hornet could perform most of the missions envisioned for the F-35C except penetrating strike—it would have to rely on stand-off weapons for that mission.

The Marines would simply be out of luck since a short takeoff/vertical landing variant of the Advanced Super Hornet is simply a physical impossibility

Switching to mostly Advanced Super Hornet’s could save around $15 billion per year or more for 30-50 years.

Sensor Fusion can be matched

When development is complete, the F-35 will be able to correlate all of the data from its various sensors and data networks and then present that information in a single coherent and easily understandable display. Currently, only the Lockheed Martin F-22 and F-35 have such a capability, but the Navy is working on adding a similar “sensor fusion” system to the Super Hornet. The Navy’s Multi-Sensor Integration effort for the Super Hornet is being developed in three phases—some of which have been fielded—with the goal of developing a sensor fusion capability similar to the F-22 and F-35.

According to Navy officials, the Super Hornet’s MSI program drew lessons from both the F-22 and F-35. However, one major difference between the Super Hornet’s sensor fusion and the F-22 and F-35 is the limited capabilities of the F/A-18E/F’s current displays. Boeing, however, has an option to fit a new large 11’X19’ high-definition color display into the Super Hornet cockpit that would address that issue.

Stealth will decrease in importance a lot over the next ten years and the F-35 will not really be ready for 4 years

Stealth will remain the end all and be all of survivability as Lockheed Martin and the Air Force publicly contend. The Russians and the Chinese are developing low-frequency radars that can track fighter-sized stealth aircraft that are—just by the laws of physics—optimized to defeat radars in the fire control bands (Ku, X, C and part of S). Electronic warfare will become increasingly necessary to support stealth aircraft as time goes on as low frequency radars proliferate. “[Stealth] is needed for what we have in the future for at least ten years out there and there is nothing magic about that decade,” then chief of naval operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert said at the U.S. Naval Institute annual meeting in Washington, D.C, in 2014. “But I think we need to look beyond that. So to me, I think it’s a combination of having aircraft that have stealth but also aircraft that can suppress other forms of radio frequency electromagnetic emissions so that we can get in.”

The F-35 Chief tester said the F35 will not be ready for combat testing til 2019-2020 and F35C wings are not strong enough to carry missiles.

US still has a lot more and lot better planes than Russia and China

Russia has about

Russia has about 58 Su-35 and is building about 10 per year China has four Su-35s and has 20 more on order.

412 Su-27s

Russia has 89 Su-30 planes and has about 88 more on order.

The US Air Force has a “couple thousand more aircraft,” Gen. Mark Welsh, Air Force chief-of-staff, told the House Appropriations Committee’s subcommittee on defense on March 2, 2016. “At the rate they’re [China] is building, the models they’re fielding, by 2030 they will have fielded—they will have made up that 2,000 aircraft gap and they will be at least as big—if not bigger—than our air forces.”

China’s People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) will be able to match or exceed the United States Air Force in the number of fielded combat aircraft by 2030. Moreover, while American forces will still maintain an edge, the technological gap between the two great powers will have closed significantly between now and then.

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