McDonnell Douglas F/A-18C Hornet (Switzerland): Alpine Wasp

Would you like to see Swiss F/A-18C in-game?
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History
The F/A-18 Hornet, entered service in 1983, proved its value as a carrier-based strike fighter throughout the 1980s. The success of F/A-18A/B continued with block upgraded version, F/A-18C/D.

By 1985, Swiss Air Forces felt the need for modernized air defense system. To replace its aging Mirage IIIS and F-5E Tiger II fleet, Swiss evaluated several aircraft including Rafale, Mirage 2000, JAS 39 Gripen, F-20. The final contenders were F-16 and F/A-18, and the Hornet was chosen in May 1988. The competition were re-opened briefly to examine the Mirage 2000-5 and MiG-29, but neither changed the result.

The first two aircraft were built by McDonnell Douglas in 1996, and remainder were assembled from Swiss Aircraft & Enterprise Corporation. Each delivered to the Swiss Air Force in January 1997 and December 1999.

As of 2023, Swiss Air Force operates 25 F/A-18Cs and 5 F/A-18Ds.

Design
Airframe and Engine


As an American-origin fighter jet, the F/A-18 has an uncommon design represented by large strakes and mildly swept wings. Due to this design, the Hornet is suitable for low-speed maneuvering. It is also notable for great high angle-of-attack capability, thanks to its large leading-edge-extensions (LEXs).

The Swiss F/A-18C/Ds are late production model with F404-GE-402 Enhanced Performance Engine (EPE). EPE improves flight performances by providing much higher thrust than original F404-GE-400. For example, Hornet with EPE performs 27% better than a non-EPE Hornets in transonic acceleration at 35,000 ft (10.6 km).

The major drawback of Hornet is slow acceleration in transonic regime and low top speed. It could barely exceed Mach 1 at sea level, and it cannot reach Mach 2 even at optimum altitude.

Avionics
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Specifications of AN/APG-65 Radar (basis of an APG-73)

Antenna gimbal limit:

  • Azimuth: ±70°
  • Elevation: ±60°

Scale:

  • Range: 5/10/20/40/80/160 nm (9/19/37/74/150/300 km)
  • Azimuth: 20/45/90/140°

Elevation scan pattern: 1/2/4/6 bar
Beamwidth: 3.3°
Scan rate: 65°/s
Frequency: I band
Waveform: HPRF, MPRF, LPRF, Interleaved
A/A radar mode:

  • Range While Scan (SRC PD)
    - Range: ~80 nm (150 km)

    - Waveform: HPRF, MPRF, Interleaved

  • Velocity Search (SRC PDV HDN)
    - Range: ~100 nm (185 km)

    - Waveform: HPRF

  • Track While Scan (TWS PD)
    - Range: ~40 nm (74 km)

    - Max No. of target tracks: 10 (8 displayed)

    - Waveform: HPRF, MPRF, Interleaved

  • Single Target Track (TRK PD)
  • Boresight (ACM PD)
    - Range: 500 ft ~ 5 nm (0.15 ~ 9 km)

    - Scan area: 3.3° × 3.3°

  • Vertical Acquisition (ACM PD)
    - Range: 500 ft ~ 5 nm (0.15 ~ 9 km)

    - Scan area: ±5.3° in azimuth, -14° ~ +60° in elevation (10.6° × 74°)

(Raid Assessment and HUD Acquisition modes are excluded, because they are not necessary in game)

Swiss F/A-18C/Ds are equipped with AN/APG-73 radar. Compared to the original AN/APG-65, the AN/APG-73 features 7~20% longer detection range and enhanced ECCM capabilities.

Specifications of AN/ASQ-228 ATFLIR

Weight: 420 lb (191 kg)
Resolution: 640 × 480 pixel
Field of view:

  • NFOV: 0.7°
  • MFOV: 2.8°
  • WFOV: 6.0°

Swiss F/A-18C/Ds could carry AN/ASQ-228 ATFLIR on station 4.

Armament
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Swiss Hornet could be equipped with up to 10 AIM-120 AMRAAM and two AIM-9 Sidewinder, just like original one. However Swiss does not purchased AIM-9L/M missile, the AIM-9P series missile was only available short-range air-to-air missile before AIM-9X.

While F/A-18C/D itself is strike fighter, Swiss Air Force uses Hornets only as air superiority fighter. Thus, Switzerland does not purchased any air-to-ground ordnance for its Hornet.

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One unique thing is the SAF uses unique low-drag pylon on its F/A-18C/D fleet. This pylon could only handle single AIM-9 or AIM-120, but produces much less drag than normal SUU-63/A pylon. In a typical intercept mission profile, the time to climb to an altitude of 49,000 ft (15 km) at Mach 1.4 from release of the brakes is reduced by 25%. Along with usage of AIM-9P, this is the most unique feature of Swiss Hornet.

Specifications
Crew: 1
Length: 56 ft (17.07 m)
Wingspan:

  • 40.4 ft (12.31 m) w/ missile
  • 38.4 ft (11.7 m) w/o missile
  • 37.5 ft (11.43 m) w/o missile and launcher

Height: 15.3 ft (4.66 m)
Wing area: 400 sq ft (37.17 m²)
Aspect ratio: 3.52
Weights:

  • 23,000 lbs (10,433 kg) empty
  • 51,900 lbs (23,540 kg) maximum takeoff

Fuel:

  • Internal: 10,860 lb (4,925 kg)
  • External: 7,000 lb (3,175 kg) with 3× FPU-8/A fuel tanks

Powerplant: 2x F404-GE-402

  • Uninstalled intermediate thrust: 11,000 lbf (48.9 kN)
  • Uninstalled maximum thrust: 17,600 lbf (78.2 kN)
  • Installed maximum thrust at sea level:
  • @ Mach 0.8: 19,342 lbf (86 kN)
  • @ Mach 0.9: 19,310 lbf (85.9 kN)
  • @ Mach 1.0: 19,062 lbf (84.8 kN)
  • @ Mach 1.2: 17,376 lbf (77.3 kN)
  • Installed maximum thrust at 5,000 ft (1.5 km):
  • @ Mach 0.8: 17,612 lbf (78.3 kN)
  • @ Mach 0.9: 18,261 lbf (81.2 kN)
  • @ Mach 1.0: 18,907 lbf (84.1 kN)
  • @ Mach 1.2: 18,172 lbf (80.8 kN)
  • Installed maximum thrust at 20,000 ft (6.1 km):
  • @ Mach 0.8: 11,152 lbf (49.6 kN)
  • @ Mach 0.9: 12,202 lbf (54.3 kN)
  • @ Mach 1.0: 13,232 lbf (58.9 kN)
  • @ Mach 1.2: 14,982 lbf (66.6 kN)
  • @ Mach 1.4: 16,552 lbf (73.6 kN)
  • Installed maximum thrust at 40,000 ft (12.2 km):
  • @ Mach 0.8: 4,665 lbf (20.8 kN)
  • @ Mach 0.9: 5,134 lbf (22.8 kN)
  • @ Mach 1.0: 5,631 lbf (25 kN)
  • @ Mach 1.2: 6,993 lbf (31.1 kN)
  • @ Mach 1.4: 8,678 lbf (38.6 kN)
  • @ Mach 1.6: 9,740 lbf (43.3 kN)

Performances:
(Note: ‘fighter escort configuration’ is 60% internal fuel, 2× AIM-9 Sidewinder, 2× AIM-120 AMRAAM)

  • Maximum speed (fighter escort configuration): Mach 1.76
  • Altitude: 50,000 ft (15,250 m)
  • Sustained turn rate (fighter escort configuration):
  • @ Sea level: 19.2°/s
  • @ 15,000 ft (4.5 km): 12.3°/s
  • Instantaneous bleed rate in a turn (fighter escort configuration):
  • @ Sea level: 54 kt (100 km/h) per second
  • @ 15,000 ft (4.5 km): 62 kt (115 km/h) per second
  • Acceleration time (fighter escort configuration):
  • @ 5,000 ft (1.5 km), from Mach 0.8-1.08: 21 seconds
  • @ 20,000 ft (6.1 km), from Mach 0.8-1.2: 34.6 seconds
  • @ 35,000 ft (10.6 km), from Mach 0.8-1.2: 55.8 seconds
  • Thrust-to-weight (fighter escort configuration):
  • @ Sea level, static: 0.845
  • @ 5,000 ft (1.5 km), Mach 0.9: 0.981
  • @ 20,000 ft (6.1 km), Mach 0.9: 0.685
  • @ 35,000 ft (10.6 km), Mach 0.9: 0.385
  • Specific excess power (1 g level flight, Mach 0.9, fighter escort configuration):
  • @ 10,000 ft (3 km): 699 ft/s (213 m/s)
  • @ 20,000 ft (6.1 km): 512 ft/s (156 m/s)
  • @ 35,000 ft (10.6 km: 247 ft/s (75 m/s)
  • Maximum allowable load factor: -3.0 ~ +7.5 g (+10 g with g-limiter override)
  • Lift-off speed: 115 knot (213 km/h)
  • Approaching speed: 140 knot (260 km/h)

Armament:

  • Hardpoints: 9 total (2× wingtip, 4× under wing, 3× fuselage)
  • Gun: 1× M61A1 20 mm gun (578 rounds)
  • Air-to-air missiles:
  • AIM-9P-4/P-5/X Sidewinder
  • AIM-120B/C-7 AMRAAM

Avionics:

  • Radar: Hughes AN/APG-73
  • RWR: AN/ALR-67(V)
  • EO sensors: AN/ASQ-228 ATFLIR
  • HMD: JHMCS
  • Night vision devices: Vision Systems NVCD

Countermeasures: 4× AN/ALE-47 (120 total)

Sources

2 Likes

+1 for Swiss independent tree

5 Likes

Only for US as premium or event or squadron

1 Like

+1 For Alpine Tech Tree!

M61A1 → Flz Kan 92
AIM-9P-4 → Flz Lwf LL 63/90
AIM-9P-5 → Flz Lwf LL 63/91
AIM-9X → Flz Lwf LL AIM-9X
AIM-120B → Flz Lwf LL 97
AIM-120C-7 → Flz Lwf LL AMRAAM 120 C-7

Plus, They got 2 upgrades
Upgrade 21: + Flz Lwf LL AIM-9X
Upgrade 25: + Flz Lwf LL AMRAAM 120 C-7, + ASQ-228 ATFLIR

4 Likes

It will go under German tech tree I guess

6 Likes

The Swiss Hornet has no connection to Germany.

4 Likes

Swiss hunter didn’t either

3 Likes

That doesn’t make a German Hornet just

2 Likes

But it does set a precedent.

5 Likes

As much as I’d love a Swiss Hornet obviously, I don’t see it as interesting/reasonable Premium, Squadron or Event vehicle, because it’s too similar/equal to the standard Hornet.

As with the Swiss Hunter Mk.58 with its unique Swiss modifications (8cm Oerlikons, Swiss bombs, countermeasures & RWR, Mavericks), a Swiss Mirage IIIS would make more sense as Premium, Squadron or Event plane, as it also has unique features not found on any other Mirages (TARAN radar, AIM-4 Falcons, canards, RWR, countermeasures)…

3 Likes

I agree. Italian aircraft were previously incorporated into the German TT, but later gained their own TT, and just as Israel also had its own tanks incorporated into the US and UK, but eventually gained its own TT, Switzerland will also eventually have its own TT. .

2 Likes

Hopefully, and seeing Hungary added to Italy, South Africa to Britain, and the Hunter Mk.58 in Germany maybe hints that Switzerland could be added one day to the German tree.

4 Likes

Doubt that’ll be the case for Germany, Gaijin stated they will add sub-trees to “minor nations that need help”, so Germany doesn’t qualify for that. Then again, they butchered Britain with the ZA addition, so there’s that too.

2 Likes

Germany will have nothing after the F4F-ICE until we can get a Typhoon. Switzerland has an F-18 and a Mirage that could fill that gap for Germany and not having anything for at least an year of updates would put Germany in a “nation that need help” position. Something similar with what what happened to Japan. Besides, Germany is in talks with Boing for the past two years to swap all Tornados with f-18 so i dont see far fetched that they got the Swis one.

2 Likes

Denmark, which doesn’t formally belong to any tree, has F-16s that could help without infringing on Switzerland.
Denmark makes more historical and military sense to help Germany out in this regard than Switzerland does, as well as this solution wouldn’t take away from a potential Swiss tech tree, which would be a very fine concept.

2 Likes

I fail to see how it would have some gap with the current mig 29G… If you want to play mirage or f-18 and grind french and US tree

Also Germany will never be on par with US and Russia/USSR they developed so much more aircraft that no other country will be able to have as much aircraft as those country. There will always be hole in trees of the minor nation which Germany is part of, whether you like it or not.

For example, only few country will have heavy 4th gen fighter as it is reduced to F/A-18E, F15,F14 and Su 27 family

3 Likes

I’d like to see this in a Swiss or Alpine tree

2 Likes

Swiss Aircraft, much like the Hunter, are natural options to add to the German tech tree. These (plus maybe Dutch/Danish F-16s) would do well in filling the gaps left between ranks and helping build Germany into a more interesting tree at top tier.

3 Likes

I simply don’t see this working in any form other than in a possible independent Swiss/pan-European tech tree. It isn’t unique enough to justify being added as a premium/event vehicle for the USA as they can just get one of their own Hornet variants. It doesn’t make sense to add it to the German tech tree as Germany simply has zero connection to the Swiss Hornet and would also serve as a completely unnecessary case of tech tree homogenisation.

+1 for independent Swiss/Euro tree, -1 for being added to any existing trees.

4 Likes

Swiss tech tree in Germany tree could make some sense in the upper tier, but to be honest Switzerland has equippment from several nations. There is no one fit all. Bf109 from DE. P51 from us, vampire/hunter from uk, mirage from france, f5e / hornets from us.
Same for ground. Tanks from france, uk and germany. Everything heavily modded to bring Swissness in, which makes all vehicle unique - no copy&paste for GJ

2 Likes