16:14 GMT +325 September 2018
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    A U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter lands onto the deck of the USS Ronald Reagan, a Nimitz-class nuclear-powered super carrier, during a joint naval drill between South Korea and the U.S. (File)

    ‘Latest and Greatest Stealth’ F/A-18 Super Hornet Features Only ‘Minor’ Changes

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    Planned upgrades to Boeing’s F/A-18 Super Hornets are not going to produce an aircraft able to completely avoid detection, despite US President Donald Trump’s recent claim the plane would have “the latest and greatest stealth and a lot of thing on that plane that people don’t even know about.”

    "No airplane is invisible" said Bob Kornegay, senior manager for F/A-18 programs at Boeing, during a Wednesday interview with Military.com.

    "We're making minor improvements to… the amount of coatings we put on the airplane. It's not classed as a very-low-observable, but it is an LO [low observability] aircraft. So we're taking advantage of what was built into the airplane from the beginning," the executive said about the latest F/A-18 Block III Super Hornets.

    "We just bring the radar cross-section down, so it has a lower signature," he said, explaining that the low signature "allows you not to be seen by the enemy until you can get closer to them."

    The new block gives the planes longer range and greater payload capacity.

    On March 14, Trump gave a speech at Boeing's plant in St. Louis, Missouri, where he exuded praise for the Super Hornet, which he dubbed his "favorite plane."

    "You look at the workers and the talent that went into it and we just looked at different versions of it and it's a spectacular and a beautiful thing to watch," the president said.

    As president, Trump's view of the Super Hornet has completed a 180-degree turnaround. After a F/A-18 Super Hornet crashed at Naval Air Station Fallon in Nevada in August 2016, Trump told an interviewer, "Oh, did they have another of those things go down? It's terrible, that crash. Never liked that plane, structurally."

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    Tags:
    Super Hornet, stealth aircraft, Boeing, Donald Trump
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