Boeing Super Hornet fighter shows stealth and range improvements in tests

Boeing, with its partner Northrop Grumman, announced on Wednesday that during three weeks of flight testing the Advanced Super Hornet fighter has shown improvements in stealth and range.

During the 21 flights that began on August 5, a team tested the conformal fuel tanks, the enclosed weapons pod and signature enhancements, all of which help make the jet much harder to detect by radar and give it a longer combat distance. These new enhancements can also be retrofitted into the existing Block II Super Hornet or put into a new jet.

"We continually insert new capabilities into today's highly capable, already stealthy Super Hornet, and the Advanced Super Hornet is the next phase of this technology evolution," Debbie Rub, Boeing Global Strike vice president and general manager, said. "Boeing and our industry partners are investing in next-generation capabilities so warfighters have what they need when they need it, and so the customer can acquire it in a cost-effective manner."

The test flights showed a 50 percent reduction of radar signature and an increase of combat radius by up to 130 nautical miles due to its CFTS, making its total combat radius 700 nautical miles. The improvements are expected to keep pace with competing enemy aircraft and defenses through 2030.

"Even though we added components to the aircraft, their stealthy, low-drag design will enhance the combat capability and survivability of the Super Hornet on an aircraft that has a combat-proven history launching and recovering from aircraft carriers," Mike Wallace, the Boeing F/A-18 test pilot who flew the Advanced Super Hornet configuration, said.

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