Book Review
F/A-18E/F Super Hornet /EA-18G
F/A-18E & F/A-18F Super Hornet In Detail & Scale Includes the EA-18G Growler
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by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]

Detail & Scale is a publishing company of modelers for modelers, and F/A-18E & F/A-18F Super in Detail & Scale: Also Includes the EA-18G Growler is an extraordinary source for anyone interested in the Super Hornet or EA-18G Growler, and models thereof. History and specific aircraft details are presented and illustrated for this mainstay of the US Navy.

F/A-18E & F/A-18F Super in Detail & Scale: Also Includes the EA-18G Growler is Volume 9 in the growing Detail & Scale Series by Detail & Scale, but in reality is the 78th volume in the Series going back more than forty years. This book offers modelers and historians of the F-18 Super Hornet an excellent source of history and detail. Detail and Scale is a publishing company that has been producing high-quality technical and historical military aviation books since c.1978. F/A-18E/F Super Hornet & EA-18G is presented through 104 pages, boasting over 292 color photographs (more than 200 up close & personal detail shots), and seven illustrations. It is catalogued as ISBN 9781655330698.

I've read several Detail and Scale books; they are remarkable and yet only recently have I comprehended just how comprehensive they are. Founders and authors Bert Kinzey and Rock Roszak bring some 60 years of first-hand military aviation expertise into their Detail and Scale brand. This book features a new author, Haagen Klaus, an award-winning modeler with many laurels including National Geographic Explorer, and published university professor, to name a couple. Roszak, a retired Air Force colonel, creates the illustrations in the books. This trio of Detail and Scale creators are modelers, too.

Though there is a lot of information here for modelers more on that later this is really a history of the Super Hornet that any aviation fan would find fascinating. Detail and Scale book formats are available in print, plus eBooks for the Kindle and iBook.

Now you know why this book should be so great - let's launch this review of this new F/A-18E/F Super Hornet book, including the EA-18G Growler.

Those of you not familiar with this book brand will find F/A-18E & F/A-18F Super in Detail & Scale: Also Includes the EA-18G Growler to be both a nuts and bolts volume and visual feast. Through 104 pages the content is delivered through several chapters and sections:
    Super Hornet Origins and Development
    Aircraft and Systems Overview
    The EA-18G Growler
    Flight Test and Operational History
    On the Horizon: Super Hornets & Growlers for the 2020s & Beyond
    Super Hornet Gallery
      Super Hornet Sukhoi Killer
    Growler Gallery
    Super Hornet Details
      Cockpit Details
      Windscreen & Canopy Details
      Fuselage Details
      Wing & Wing Fold Details
      Tail Details
      Landing Gear & Gear Well Details
      Engine Details
      External Stores Pylon Details
      Weapons Details
      Pod & Tank Details
      SHARP & IRST21 Details
      EG-18G Growler Details
    Modelers Sections

This is an exciting yet somber title. As you read this, Super Hornets and Growlers are at the point of the US Navy spear, their pilots projecting power in defense of the United States and her allies. They may even be in harm's way. Thus, this is an extraordinary book - you might see a Super Hornet or Growler from these pages on the news tonight!

Ten pages begin this exploration through Introduction and Super Hornet Origins and Development. These concise stories hearken back to Vietnam dogfights and subsequent 1970s contest to create light-weight simpler dogfighters to supplement the sophisticated and big F-14 Tomcat and F-15 Eagle. Explored are the criticisms that as great as the Hornet was, it wasn't that good. (You read that right.) F-18 did not have the range or payload to compensate the attack platforms it was replacing, and when attempts to evolve those platforms failed for various reasons, the United States Navy (USN) NAVAIR (Naval Air Systems Command) was left short on light and medium attack capability. The book visits the Stealth revolution and its impact on naval attack, including USN's Hogan's Goat - the A-12 debacle - and the Hornet's inability to cope. Necessity is the mother of invention and thus the hive was kicked for a bigger, bolder, badder Hornet.

Interested in the Super Hornet's Aircraft and Systems Overview? Nine pages detail new structure and materials, "stealthiness," avionics, internal and external weapons for air-to-mud and air-to-air, buddy packs, offensive and defensive electronics, powerplants, and other components. Current and forthcoming Block upgrades are discussed.

Next, the Growler is presented through five pages. In Desert Storm USAF's EF-111 "Spark 'Vark" Raven was judged by some to have a less-capable electronic warfare suite than USN's EA-6. But others claimed that the EA-6 couldn't keep up with the strike packages it was supposed to support. Thus begat the EF-18G Growler that can keep up with the rest of the hive and still pack an air-to-air sting. Detail & Scale examines airframe and avionic similarities and differences with the Super Hornet.

Flight Test and Operational History discusses what testing the new jet revealed. Improvements over the original F/A-18 to be certain but not without some troubles; solutions and successes are recounted, and the F/A-18E/F went to the fleet - and to war. The crucible of combat has honed the Super Hornet. This weapon system is certain to be the mount of future generations of Naval Aviators, as discussed in On the Horizon: Super Hornets & Growlers for the 2020s & Beyond. Those begin with the Block III Super Hornet. It is slated for several upgrades and those are mentioned in the text, along with production timetables. Also covered in these three pages is future Growler growth, stealth, and next generation ECM.

Those sections are the brain-candy. Now for the eye-candy: Super Hornet Gallery and Growler Gallery, a.k.a. R.H.I.P. (rank has its privileges). Air group commanders and squadron commanders often diverge from the Ghost Grays and blacks of low-visibility tactical schemes, their Super Hornets boasting elaborate and bright markings. Seven pages and 25 photographs show off these colorful warplanes in great detail, including four images of Super Hornet Sukhoi Killer F/A-18 that scored USN's first aerial kill since Desert Storm.

That concludes the historical aspect of this book and vectored us into the detail phase, Super Hornet Details starting with Cockpit Details, scrutinizing several Super Hornet versions. There are 31 color photos of the front cockpit, rear cockpits, and crew gear. Eight shots of front "offices," nine shots of backseater cockpits, seven specifically of the ejection seats (six with the seat out of the cockpit), and seven of crewmen suited up. This section is essential for modelers as few aspects of an airplane are as popular as the cockpit. Structural components, instrument panels and consoles, and an abundance of other items are shown with clarity. Similar photographic detail and information for the other subjects are:
    Windscreen & Canopy Details: 2 pages, 8 images
    Fuselage Details
      * Radome: 1 page, 5 photos
      * Radar: 1 page, 5 photos
      * M61A2 Vulcan Cannon: 1 page, 4 images (in and out of the fuselage)
      * External Forward Fuselage: 2 pages, 11 images
      * Avionics Bay: 1 page, 4 photos
      * Boarding Ladder: 1 page, 4 photos
      * Air Inlets: 1 page, 4 photos
      * Mid & Aft Fuselage Details: 4 pages, 16 photos
    Wing & Wing Fold Details: 3 pages, 15 photos
    Tail Details: 1 page, 4 photos
    Landing Gear & Gear Wells Details: 6 pages, 29 photos
    Engine Details: 2 pages, 8 photos
    External Stores Pylon Details: 2 pages, 8 photos
    Weapons Details: 3 pages, 17 photos
    Pod & Tank Details: 2 pages, 11 photos
    SHARP & IRST21 Details: 1 page, 5 photos
    EA-18G Growler Details: 3 pages, 15 photos

I said it in previous reviews and I'll say it again, Modelers!, you will love Modelers Section! Dozens of injection-molded F/A-18E/F and EA-18G have been released since the 1990s in four scales: 1/144; 1/72; 1/48 and 1/32 (excluding Super Hornets scaled for aircraft carrier models).

Eleven pages survey the injection-molded "Super Bugs" with concise reviews of all the kit models, including scales, brands and rebrands. Kit histories are mentioned, as are aftermarket offerings and supporting products.

Accuracy characteristics for particular kits are pointed out, i.e., wing snag fillets, comm antennas, lack of cooling grille detail on one kit, an incorrect ejection seat for the type, to name a few issues. It is important to understand what changes were made for variants, and the authors' text helps with this information.

Kits are presented with photographs of several completed models. Aftermarket items are mentioned, and strengths and weaknesses of each kit are discussed. From the introduction through the modeling chapter, such expertise of the authors and contributors should allow modelers to build best Super Hornet model possible.

Photographs, Artwork, Graphics
As do the other D&S books I have reviewed, this book provides awesome visual support of the text. Vivid color photographs dominate this book - which says a lot considering the rank and file F/A-18E/F and Growler are muted grays. I have not counted the number of images but there are plenty. Except for the modeling section, every page either has a photo or a graphic. I did not notice a photo that is not studio quality. They are universally excellent, as are the following graphics.

Previous D&S titles I reviewed - older aircraft that are less accessible - feature a large gallery of artwork. Not so with this book. The authors had great access to the subject aircraft and thus photographs supplant the need for artwork.

A. Artwork and Illustrations
Based on manufacturer and Navy graphics, Detail & Scale created six original illustrations to support the text,(and a Boeing image).
    1. Super Hornet Program Patch
    2. Growler Patch
    3. F/A-18E basic internal arrangement cutaway by Boeing
    4. Low-Observable Technologies: line art Super Hornet profile keyed to 12 components of semi-stealth
    5. AN/APG-79 AESA radar: the super-secret electo-eyes of the "Super Bug"
    6. Next-Generation Jammer (NGJ) pod
    7. IRST21 schematic

B. Charts and tables
    1. F/A-18E & F/A-18F Production Summary including
      - Variant
      - Production Lot
      - BuNo.
      - No. of aircraft

    2. F/A-18E/F Super Hornet General Specifications and Performance:
      - Crew
      - Length
      - Height
      - Wing Area
      - Wing Span
      - Empty Weight
      - Max. Takeoff Weight
      - Powerplant
      - Max. Thrust, Afterburner
      - Mil. Thrust
      - Maximum Speed
      - Rate of Climb
      - Combat Radius
      - Service Ceiling
      - Design Load Factor
      - Thrust: Weight Ratio
      - Internal Fuel Capacity
      - External Fuel Capacity
      - Range
      - Ferry Range
      - External Hardpoints
      - Gun

    3. EA-18G Production Summary including
      - Variant
      - Production Lot
      - BuNo.
      - No. of aircraft

    4. EA-18G Growler: Variant-Specific Features (all other specifications identical to the F/A-18F:
      - Crew
      - Airframe
      - Empty Weight
      - Specialized Electronic Warfare Systems (8 items)
Even with the vast gallery of photographs, those graphics strongly enhance not only the text but also the enjoyment of reading this book.

F/A-18E & F/A-18F Super Hornet in Detail & Scale: Also Includes the EA-18G Growler is another exceptional book from Detail in Scale. It is obvious that military experience and modeling passion cultivate this detailed overview of today's mainstay of USN airpower. The text is written with a smart balance of readability and "gee-whiz."

Again, modelers and historians alike should be thrilled with the level of detailed information exploring the Super Hornet and Growler. The presentation of interior components and special equipment should be especially appreciated. The chapter on models should be eminently essential to modelers.

The gallery of photographs, illustrations, and data graphics powerfully enhances the text.

Once again I do not have any meaningful criticism of this book and enthusiastically recommend it to modelers and students of the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler, modern USN combat aircraft, the F/A-18 Hornet family, and post-Cold War fighters.

You can find out more about this and other Detail and Scale publications at their website:
Highs: Concise yet exceptional examination of the F/A-18E/F and Growler, with excellent text and an extraordinary gallery of photographs and illustrations. Tables present data effectively.
Lows: Once again I do not have any meaningful criticism.
Verdict: Modelers and students of the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler, modern USN combat aircraft, the F/A-18 Hornet family, and post-Cold War fighters should be thrilled with this book.
  Scale: N/A
  Mfg. ID: Vol.9; 97816553306
  PUBLISHED: Mar 15, 2020
  NATIONALITY: United States

Our Thanks to Detail & Scale Aviation Publications!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Frederick Boucher (JPTRR)

I'm a professional pilot with a degree in art. My first model was an AMT semi dump truck. Then Monogram's Lunar Lander right after the lunar landing. Next, Revell's 1/32 Bf-109G...cried havoc and released the dogs of modeling! My interests--if built before 1900, or after 1955, then I proba...

Copyright 2021 text by Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved.


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