DSTG analysis shows RAAF Hornets less fatigued than thought

written by australianaviation.com.au | April 4, 2016

Op OKRAScientists within the Defence Science and Technology Group (DSTG) Aerospace Division have developed a new fatigue-monitoring algorithm that shows the Royal Australian Air Force’s F/A-18A/B Hornets are less fatigued than previously thought.

The new algorithm, known as MSMP3, has been brought into use after validation testing demonstrated that the old algorithm over-predicted damage due to small load cycles, resulting in unnecessary conservatism, DSTG statedon March 24.

“As a direct result of the upgrade of the Hornet monitoring program, the reprocessing of the entire fleet’s usage history indicates that fatigue is no longer the main driver to the planned withdrawal date,” said research leader Loris Molent.

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“After thorough peer review, DGTA-ADF (Directorate General Technical Airworthiness – Australian Defence Force) advised the Tactical Fighter Systems Program Office to adopt MSMP3. The historical all-time strain records of each aircraft were reprocessed and the results adopted in September 2015,” DSTG said.

11 Comments

  • Jason

    says:

    Convenient timing with the Senate Enquiry going on…

  • Marty

    says:

    Maybe we can keep them on for another decade then.

  • Dane

    says:

    Not using them on a carrier has a probably increased their life span 3 fold. On the issue of extending their retirement date, well anyone watching the JSF program would know that IOC dates are likely to blow out as much as Lockmart try to tell us they won’t.

  • PAUL

    says:

    Wonder who the RAAF would sell its legacy Hornets to & for how much?…

  • BJ

    says:

    This would of been in response to the enquires the RAAF made about purchasing 12 F/A-18E’s to re-equip 75 squadron at Tindal. To prolong the life of the legacy Hornets, the RAAF would like to consolidate the fleet at Williamtown.

    Personally I think its a good idea. Leverages off our previous Super Hornet purchases to save some money and maintain fleet capability.

  • Glenn

    says:

    Maybe we could sell them to the Pakistani’s. They’re still flying a lot of our mirages we sold them in 1988 because they were at end of life (some joke that was). One seriously has to wonder about the veracity of these algorithms. I don’t know whether our defence is improved by this constant expenditure of taxpayers funds on the newest and “best”. Our politicians don’t seem to have a clue in challenging a lot of the assumptions used to support the purchase of new hardware for the armed forces. The F35 appears to be a total waste of money, when ready and cheaper alternatives are out there. But hey, they aren’t fifth generation whatever that may be. We don’t know because that is classified. Toys for the boys I increasingly believe. I am a great supporter of our armed forces and their capability, but one has to wonder at times about the influence of american lobbyists and corporates.

  • Bill

    says:

    My understanding is that the USN uses somewhat unsuitable lifetime planning, compared to the USAF. So for the Hornets we have had to develop our own fatigue modelling. Now they’ve found errors in the model, which isn’t surprising when we couldn’t leverage off the USN’s modelling as our aircraft don’t go through similar stresses on takeoff and landing.

  • mick181

    says:

    Paul any sale of Australias Hornets would have to be cleared by the US congress so it’s highly unlikely to happen though Canada could be a possibilty seeing their future fighter plans are a total mess.

  • adammudhen

    says:

    @Paul, although it looks like they won’t be fatigued as early, by the time they do leave service, they will be well and truly exhausted airframes.

    The only think I can think they’d be good for is parts, perhaps the USN/USMC may be interested in them, but as far as having them ‘fly away’, I think that’s very unlikely. The oldest Hornet is already 31 years old, by the time they all go, they’ll be nearly 40.

    However, I do wonder what it would take for the RAAF and Temora to keep one going…… 🙂

  • mick181

    says:

    Glenn Australia runs nearly all our equipment into the ground, ie : The Caribous & F-111s both saw 35+ years of service, the Hornets, Kiowas, and the Orions will see 40, we are using 50 yo APCs, a 35 yo supply ship worn out 5 years ago. The ADF has been guilty of hanging onto equipment for toooo long not the other way around.

  • Craig Simpson

    says:

    I’m not for one moment worried about the F-35’s since we are getting the A’s and not the slower B’s and C’s. They are as fast if not a little bit faster then the 18’s we have (even the supers) and they have stealth and combat radius benefits over the 18’s as well. Plus they are compatible with US forces who we operate with on an almost permanent basis these days. The US is our closest ally and isn’t it better to support the star spangled banner rather then the ruskies or the french.

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