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Asymmetrical F18 Loadout


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Friend of mine sent a photo of a pair of 18s he saw today and all I could notice was the uneven loading. Looks like a center, and a right drop tank on both but nothing on the left. Why might they have loaded asymmetrical like this, I can’t think of any reasons?

 

 

13C06334-0A87-47F2-A757-3850FA8E615E.jpeg


Edited by Jetliner
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Think this is referred to as the "double ugly" allows for two tanks and clearer view on the side that carries the ATFLIR. Always seems odd to me and I'm sure it must feel odd. Seen it quite a few times on YT so I don't think its that unusual. 

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40 minutes ago, Rick50 said:

 

I kinda  wonder if the weird feeling  is reduced by trimming out the plane? I mean, I  don't imagine pilots fighting with the side weight for the whole flight....

 

Yeah you wouldn't fight it and would trim it out, but trim is only for a given scenario. I would think that a pattern/landing would be odd and any other kind of manoeuvres. Maybe only banking to the side with the tank is permitted? Maybe the FCS just compensates it out?


Edited by Hoirtel
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It gives you three A2G weapon stations instead of two as the center one isn't used as a weapon station due to clearance and separation issues Its typically either fuel or nothing. (assuming were taking two bags which is pretty standard for strike missions) in addition to the a fore mentioned visibility benefits for the Lpod, very very common for USN/USMC hornets to be loaded asymmetrically both in double ugly and other configs.

Single winder and single 120 are also common.


Edited by Wizard_03
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DCS F/A-18C :sorcerer:

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Posted (edited)

Hornet Double Ugly loadout.jpg

 

I guess its the TPod side tank is masking the pod, so they go center line tank and one on the oposite side, this is not USN hornet probably export version.


Edited by Furiz
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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Furiz said:

I guess its the TPod side tank is masking the pod, so they go center line tank and one on the oposite side, this is not USN hornet probably export version.

Possibly Canadian CF-188, which do have some significant differences.

And yeah, I'm guessing these configurations are to provide a larger unmasked area for the targeting pod,

Here's another one with an identical configuration:

Canada_Joins_the_Fight_Against_ISIL_1410


Edited by Northstar98

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Posted (edited)

Operationally, I completely understand the multiple benefits to a double ugly loadout.

But damn, it looks so hideous, I struggle accept using one in DCS, unless my squad CO insists haha.


Edited by norman99
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The above answers are correct in that it frees up a weapons station and provides an improved field of view for the targeting pod. The Osprey series of books (U Navy Hornet Squadrons of Operation Iraqi Freedom Parts 1 & 2) have some great pics of these asymmetrical loadouts. I've seen them used with one Mav, one LGB, and one JDAM; three LGBs; three JDAMs; three HARMs; and all kinds of other varieties. It certainly appears that asymmetrical loadouts were more the rule than the exception on the legacy Hornets during OIF and OEF.

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Would they be planning to jettison the wing mounted tank asap? Just looking at the pics it seems that aero drag would be mostly affected by that tank. I am not sure about weight distribution though. I know that in DCS (I have never flown a real plane of any type) I have a couple of times had a very asymetrical load. I found that the trim could just barely compensate to give me level flight. The side effect was it was easy to turn in one direction and almost impossible to turn the other way. I could see the need to dump something to get a more even load before doing anything more than fairly straight in bomb runs.

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Posted (edited)

@CBStu Despite the DCS community’s willingness to do so, in real life tanks are NEVER jettisoned. EVER. They cost money, are limited in supply on the ship, and are integral to the mission capabilities of the Hornet. Also, jettisoning can easily cause unintended damage/casualties on the ground. For all intents and purposes, consider them a fixed part of the aircraft.

The only exception to this rule, is if jettisoning them will prevent you from dying. Only then would you jettison tanks to help preform a high G last ditch missile defence manoeuvre. Even in this scenario, you better have solid proof to show the CO/CAG when you return that you would have otherwise died.

For some reason, the DCS world considers drop tanks as expendable items, when they are 100% not. Best to leave this line of thinking to the AirQuake servers.


Edited by norman99
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Norman99 thankyou. Goes to show that learning from movies, novels, and flying sims doesn't always provide correct understanding. I really enjoy this part of the forum because of guys like you who explain how stuff works for real.

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On 5/10/2022 at 8:29 PM, norman99 said:

@CBStu Despite the DCS community’s willingness to do so, in real life tanks are NEVER jettisoned. EVER. They cost money, are limited in supply on the ship, and are integral to the mission capabilities of the Hornet. Also, jettisoning can easily cause unintended damage/casualties on the ground. For all intensive purposes, consider them a fixed part of the aircraft.

The only exception to this rule, is if jettisoning them will prevent you from dying. Only then would you jettison tanks to help preform a high G last ditch missile defence manoeuvre. Even in this scenario, you better have solid proof to show the CO/CAG when you return that you would have otherwise died.

For some reason, the DCS world considers drop tanks as expendable items, when they are 100% not. Best to leave this line of thinking to the AirQuake servers.

Not to be disagreeable, but "in real life tanks are NEVER jettisoned. EVER." isn't true. In Desert Storm, tanks were regularly jettisoned, particularly by F-15 drivers as they were closing on bandits and engaging was looking imminent.

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AFAIK in WW too, many fighter escorts would dump the external tank once empty, because they just made too much drag, and were so cheaply made as to be disposable. I think at one point there was even an experiment to see if they could make drop tanks out of paper mache!! 

But I can totally understand the Navy being pissed about losing jet drop tanks for random reasons... the carriers have to stay some distance from shore for some reasons, and so tanks are the primary way of giving some standoff distance. Plus the cost of those tanks. 

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, davidrbarnette said:

Not to be disagreeable, but "in real life tanks are NEVER jettisoned. EVER." isn't true. In Desert Storm, tanks were regularly jettisoned, particularly by F-15 drivers as they were closing on bandits and engaging was looking imminent.

No worries, I totally understand. I was probably being too literal by saying “never, ever”. My intent was to emphasise that it is rarely done in real life, vs the “jettison on every sortie” mentality that’s prevalent in the DCS world.

Also, I’m curious if there’s a different philosophy re drop tanks for the Air Force vs Navy? Limited on ship supplies, shorter ranged aircraft and carrier ops probably place a greater emphasis on preserving drop tanks wherever possible?


Edited by norman99
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9 hours ago, norman99 said:

Also, I’m curious if there’s a different philosophy re drop tanks for the Air Force vs Navy? Limited on ship supplies, shorter ranged aircraft and carrier ops probably place a greater emphasis on preserving drop tanks wherever possible?

 

Oh, I totally agree with this. There's probably only room for "just" enough tanks on the boat... ditch four tanks into the sea, and it starts to impact future mission planning due to much hobbled range. But I think  even the Air Force is not thrilled about buying new tanks to replace ones that got dumped, for nothing. Probably less critical for them  though.

I can see why conformal tanks are increasingly popular with air wings. Sure, it seemingly started with the Beagle E, then the Viper. And a little before that, Boeing was developing a under fuselage conformal tank for the F-4 Phantom,  part of an upgrade dubbed "Super Phantom". But now we see Typhoons with conformals, the latest block of SuperBug has a nice low drag conformal over the wing, and I bet were to  see more of this going forward. Stealth needs, for one thing... pods and pylons just make radar stealth more difficult to achieve.

 

 

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