Was there any F/A-18B got upgraded to D? - ED Forums


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Old 08-25-2019, 12:16 AM   #1
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Question Was there any F/A-18B got upgraded to D?

Hi guys, I just had a look on the info regarding the Bug, and the only case I found was BuNo162851 which was upgraded from A to C according to FA-18 BUNOs Wiki. Seems the mod changing upgrades are not so usual on the Bugs like how those A Tomcats got upgraded to B. But was there a case like this happened on a B model?

Oh hell, I meant B to D, wasn't concentrating while typing and got a C in the title...

Last edited by WZNGT; 08-25-2019 at 12:31 AM.
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Old 09-03-2019, 02:04 AM   #2
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I have an anecdote about this, talking with a civilian military contractor RAAF Hornets were both A and B models when delivered and we were offered upgrade packages to C and D standard but it was too expensive so we made our own to C/D equivalent but without AMRAAM capability. Then we got Superbugs.
So yes, the couple of B the RAAF had got upgraded to D minus AMRAAM with local adaptations, presumably under license since nobody went to prison about it.
The US uses theirs for carrier landings so they'd probably want new build airframes, but it might be worth checking the other export operators, most NATO/PAC members equipped either the F16 or F/A18 in fairly early production series and then upgraded with installation packages later so I'm sure you'll find some B updated to D in Spain or Singapore or something.
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Old 09-03-2019, 03:47 AM   #3
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162851 was a production validation/verification aircraft for the F/A-18C. From what I can find it was a test aircraft used by NWC/VX-31 it's entire life. There were probably internal things that kept the aircraft out of fleet service. Being an upgrade from the A, It would be extremely difficult to change the fuel system, structures and emergency escape systems. The avionics would be the easy part in this case. I'm not saying it wasn't done, It would be hugely expensive and not suitable to be done to many airframes. The A-C conversion looks like it was only done to this single aircraft. In most cases, when someone says a Hornet was upgraded from A to C they usually just mean the avionics and weapons system. Structurally and systems wise, they are still an A. That is why the Navy uses the A+ and A++ designations to denote airframes that are essentially avionics/weapons upgrades to the C standard.

As for the B to D conversion, I doubt any Navy Hornets were converted. If it were done, it would have been essentially the same thing as the conversion of 162851... It would be redundant. When the B/D were initially being built they were intended to be trainers. All B's were trainers. The D's were used as both trainers and actual combat aircraft. As a trainer, the Navy and Marines used the D with flying controls in the rear cockpit. The D was used in the Marine Corps with a missionized rear cockpit (no flying controls) as an actual combat aircraft to replace the A-6E Intruder.
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Old 09-03-2019, 08:46 PM   #4
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I have no idea, but maybe take a deep dive into Canadian CF-18's (CF-18, which started as early A and B models, and remained like that for a long time... but they have received a few upgrades.

Apparently Canada bought JSOW's recently... and since we don't have SuperBugs, I have to guess that our old A's have gotten some kind of upgrade to use these, along with other things.

I do recall reading somewhere that our originals did not have encrypted comms, and lacked some fancy IFF gear, which made it difficult for when Canadian fighters were doing international missions. So they were sometimes restricted to flying close to other more current/updated coalition aircraft when flying from Aviano to Yugoslavia for operations. If I understood that correctly. Another shortcomming of the originals is apparently they did not come with RWR's or at least not US 1980's era RWR capability, I think this was intended to be upgraded too.

Don't take this as gospel, as I'm very far from an expert on RCAF aircraft details!
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