Kartik wrote:Next time someone talks about the radius of fighter jets, here is a data point that cannot be refuted- E/A-18G Growler has a threshold radius of action of 370 nautical miles (685 kms) as can be figured out from the NGJ-MB's drag profile. A 4% variance in drag was stated and at the lower end of that potential variance, the Growler's radius of action would fall below 370 NM, which means its top end radius of action with the NGJ would be just a shade over 370 NM.
The Growler mission performance requirements (threshold and objective) in the USN's EA profile, with the 3 ALQ-99's, 2 Aim-120s, 2 EFT's, 2 AARGM's, and 2x ALQ-218's using a specified (altitude and pattern etc) jamming profile TOS and the usual bring back reserve for recover profile is quite a bit inferior to the Super Bug.
Overall this translates to a combat range of 850 nautical miles
(1500 km). That 370-390 nautical miles radius (threshold-objective) is with the two External Tanks and in the EA profile. The mission adds a lot of drag and weight...and keep in mind that unlike a strike sortie, they are bringing most of draggy and heavy payload back.
It has been known that the NGJ-MB was coming in draggy and heavy, I had mentioned it here
and on a number of other occasions and the weight is also going to be higher given the capability required is quite a bit more than what the current system is capable of. Even the program manager for the NGJ-Increment 1 mentioned that a year or so ago in a panel while providing update on the program (West 2017 or 18 IIRC).
Given the power requirements from the system (65kW per pod) and the USNs unwillingness to compromise on front and rear coverage (pick a sectored pod design) there was no way around having really massive pods. So expect around a 10% combat radius and TOS reduction with the Mid Band pods (2 x NGJ-MB + 1 CL ALQ-99 LBT).
Raytheon's move to stick to the same pod design on the Low Band system was foolish when given the trade space they could have shaved off both drag and weight by choosing something new. They obviously wanted to sell their more mature and proven pod design but given that most of the risk is going to be around the RF components it was not a great strategy especially when the pod PS and its supplier lacked an exclusive arrangement with them and RTNs competitors could have picked the same PS supplier if they wished. They tried to convince the USN and later through the appeal process that their weight reduction efforts on the MB program would not only transfer over to the LB pod, but they'll gain some margin over time as well. The USN was not convinced and excluded them from the awards which went to two other teams.
These aren't small pods, though there will be less pressure on power and weight with the Low Band pod just given the frequency it is covering.
From the report cited in your article :
The Navy explains that Raytheon’s proposal shows that mission radius
decreases by [DELETED] NM from [DELETED] NM to [DELETED] NM when two
ALQ-99 pods under the aircraft wings are replaced with Raytheon’s mid band pods and
the center pod (at station 6) is an ALQ-99.
Raytheon and the US Navy would have done a pretty good job if they % in the red above is around 10-12% so 30-40 nautical miles. They can re-gain that margin elsewhere by flying more efficient profiles because the RAT performance (altitude) on the new pods is more forgiving.
This along with other reasons, was why the US Navy has now funded the CFTs for the family, and why they will likely also fund the Engine enhancements in the future.
Furthermore, on the tanker pecking order the Growlers are right up there in terms of the most important assets to support. These are highly valued force multipliers in terms of what they can do, particularly for legacy aircraft heading into harm's way. https://www.navytimes.com/news/your-nav ... uel-tanks/
The real pressure would be when in the mid to late 2020s they field the High band pods. There you are probably looking at power performance (densities) 20-25% better than the current MB pods with a considerable increase in cooling resources as well. I think the USN may just defer that capability and look to do the mission differently perhaps by offloading it to a UAV or to a USAF EC-37B which is already beginning to have some overlap with the NGJ capability even in the MB space.