F-15X: USAF Seems Interested

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mixelflick

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Unread post13 Mar 2020, 17:27

The whole CAS/A-10 debate has elucidated much about CAS IMO. Or at least, helped me understand it better..

The most common sense approach was described by some general (forget who), testifying before Congress and trying in vain to educate Sen. John McCain. The service was trying to justify retiring a certain number of A-10's, and McCain was hearing none of it. Quite honestly, it really made me question his mental state.

The general calmly informed McCain that to the warfighter on the ground, it didn't matter what airframe the 2,000lb JDAM came off of; only that it hit the bad guys. In fact, he offered to give cold hard numbers as to what platforms were doing the real work, and it wasn't the A-10. It was the B-1B, the B-52, F-15E Strike Eagles and F-16's too. In fact, the numbers spoke to the fact just about every aircraft except the A-10 was doing CAS! And quite successfully, I might add...

Getting back on topic: I'm sure procuring the F-15EX 2 seater was no accident. True, the production line is already churning out 2 seaters for Saudi Arabia and Quatar. But when the EX's homeland defense/air superiority days are over, it'll be an easy transition for them to supplement the Strike Eagle fleet.

Damn near factory fresh F-15's, flush with new, more powerful engines, cockpit displays, signal processors, sensors, two new weapons stations activated, a fly by wire control system and much needed defensive E/W suite. Loaded down or not, I'd hate to be the Migs/Sukhoi's tasked with stopping them.

Going to be a long day, for anyone jumping them...
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marauder2048

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Unread post14 Mar 2020, 02:21

sferrin wrote:
marauder2048 wrote:
mixelflick wrote:There's no way the Air Force would risk undermining the bomber vector by supplanting the bomber in the
hypersonic* delivery role. Even with the current standoff weapons (e.g. JASSM) the bomber has been
the primary delivery platform. The LRASM model of allocation/tasking is the more probable model.


And yet, as you point out, bomber weapons are being used on fighters. If fact today the only bomber weapons that AREN'T used on fighters are the AGM-86 and the B83. Everything else used by bombers is used by fighters.


The argument is programmatic.

The Army's hypersonic delivery platforms are much cheaper than new build fighters/don't require runways in theater.

The Navy's hypersonic delivery platforms are already bought, have high loadout/don't require runways in theater.

Both have better pre-launch survivability than aircraft in theater and the two services are sharing a common weapon.

So where's the Air Force's value proposition for hypersonic weapons delivery esp. the critical opening stages of a conflict?

It's the bomber fleet.

In the later stages of the conflict, there's going to be role for tacair + hypersonics but it's been explicitly
stated that those will be the much lighter air-breathers which are more flexible
(throttlability, ease of seeker integration) and those don't require new build F-15EXs.
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charlielima223

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Unread post14 Mar 2020, 04:35

mixelflick wrote:The whole CAS/A-10 debate has elucidated much about CAS IMO. Or at least, helped me understand it better..

The most common sense approach was described by some general (forget who), testifying before Congress and trying in vain to educate Sen. John McCain. The service was trying to justify retiring a certain number of A-10's, and McCain was hearing none of it. Quite honestly, it really made me question his mental state.

The general calmly informed McCain that to the warfighter on the ground, it didn't matter what airframe the 2,000lb JDAM came off of; only that it hit the bad guys. In fact, he offered to give cold hard numbers as to what platforms were doing the real work, and it wasn't the A-10. It was the B-1B, the B-52, F-15E Strike Eagles and F-16's too. In fact, the numbers spoke to the fact just about every aircraft except the A-10 was doing CAS! And quite successfully, I might add...

Getting back on topic: I'm sure procuring the F-15EX 2 seater was no accident. True, the production line is already churning out 2 seaters for Saudi Arabia and Quatar. But when the EX's homeland defense/air superiority days are over, it'll be an easy transition for them to supplement the Strike Eagle fleet.

Damn near factory fresh F-15's, flush with new, more powerful engines, cockpit displays, signal processors, sensors, two new weapons stations activated, a fly by wire control system and much needed defensive E/W suite. Loaded down or not, I'd hate to be the Migs/Sukhoi's tasked with stopping them.

Going to be a long day, for anyone jumping them...


Me thinks you're talking about this.



With all respect to the late Sen McCain, I believe he was a man stuck in the past...

I think this falls back on the idea/notion that the US military will have a combined fleet of 4.5 gen and 5th gen aircraft. As time goes on F-35 will no doubt take over most if not all of the roles currently carried by legacy and 4.5 gen aircraft. However I think in order to keep a wider industrial base and to keep their options open they intend to have more advanced 4.5+ (F-15X/EX) aircraft in other roles that the F-35 might lack in.
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weasel1962

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Unread post14 Mar 2020, 07:48

As much as I think the A-10 has past its time, I would like to offer a different assessment of the role of the esteemed senator. Congress' role is to protect the purse-string. That's why the opening statement sets the context, after investing so much into the A-10 and KC-10, it would have to take a lot of convincing to offset the need to maximise investment and return on assets already invested. Remember from Congress' perspective, this was an aircraft that could still fly cheaply and efficiently.

It was unfortunate to bring in the B-1 because that is not a bomber designed for CAS even if it did CAS. That already suggests that the USAF is trying to smoke and everything that followed was really damage control.

Remember that the question was what is plan for the USAF to take on the CAS mission in event of the divestment of A-10. Mentioning B-1 essentially means that is not a plan. It was right to have mentioned 40,000 sorties by F-16 but why did the A-10 still have to do 16,000? Did it mean that the F-16 could have taken on the remaining 16,000? That wasn't clearly explained back then. That remaining 16,000 sorties could not be clearly all done by the B-1...

The only criticism I think its fair on Senator McCain is that he's being too much of a bean counter here, but ironically isn't that what he was elected to do?

On the flip side, the USAF aren't dumb either. To take out the A-10 entirely saves costs but more importantly puts pressure on congress to fund more aircraft buys (increased costs). Keeping the A-10 in place of course increases cost but it also reduces aircraft buys going forward (if the A-10 still has airframe life). I don't think that answer on which option is better can be found from the vid. I don't see this as anything more than the usual back and forth that happens every year as part of due diligence.
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mixelflick

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Unread post15 Mar 2020, 14:32

Yes, no doubt the purse string factor was coming into play. But man, I've never seen anything like the anger in McCain's voice/eyes as he lectured everyone on how it was going to be the A-10 or nothing.

You could have told him we had an invisible airplane that could provide CAS in any weather, had sensors that could see everything for miles around (in any weather), automatically geo-locate, prioritize, target and destroy SAM missile threats, jam like a Growler, coordinate downed pilot rescue operations and destroy any enemy aircraft sent to stop it - all at once.

Oh wait, we did lol. :doh: He hated the F-35...
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Unread post15 Mar 2020, 22:57

disconnectedradical wrote:
mixelflick wrote:2.) The F-15EX buy is almost entirely political/corporate welfare for Boeing.


You mean the St. Louis division, or former McDonnell Douglas. They're definitely wanting to make sure all fighter manufacturers are in business for PCA. Super Hornet, F-15EX, etc is all McDonnell Douglas, or St. Louis division of Boeing after merger.

McDonnell Douglas arguably did quite a lot of damage to Boeing after the merger especially in corporate culture.


We clearly want a healthy Boeing for the forthcoming PCA. Yet, we would be far better served in my opinion. To give them additional work on the T-7A Redhawk and MQ-25A Tanker Programs. Which, have new technologies and a good potential market. Than spending more on 40 year old Eagles. That the USAF/ANG don't really want or need...

So, if we must throw them a "bone". Then let's make sure it's the right one.....
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Unread post16 Mar 2020, 03:44

mixelflick wrote:Yes, no doubt the purse string factor was coming into play. But man, I've never seen anything like the anger in McCain's voice/eyes as he lectured everyone on how it was going to be the A-10 or nothing.

You could have told him we had an invisible airplane that could provide CAS in any weather, had sensors that could see everything for miles around (in any weather), automatically geo-locate, prioritize, target and destroy SAM missile threats, jam like a Growler, coordinate downed pilot rescue operations and destroy any enemy aircraft sent to stop it - all at once.

Oh wait, we did lol. :doh: He hated the F-35...


John McCain didn't hate the F-35.....He felt it was his duty to fight for the US Taxpayer. So, when programs like the F-35 (among others) weren't living up to expectations. He made sure the responsible parties knew of his (i.e. Nations) dissatisfaction.
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131stfwfan

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Unread post17 Mar 2020, 21:11

Corsair1963 wrote:


We clearly want a healthy Boeing for the forthcoming PCA. Yet, we would be far better served in my opinion. To give them additional work on the T-7A Redhawk and MQ-25A Tanker Programs. Which, have new technologies and a good potential market. Than spending more on 40 year old Eagles. That the USAF/ANG don't really want or need...

So, if we must throw them a "bone". Then let's make sure it's the right one.....



As others have nonchalantly pointed out here, you really have a hard time separating your opinion/guesswork from facts, and it's been a growing issue, especially on Boeing fighters, since 2016. The air force, the units that operate the Eagle (Both legacy and Strike), and ground forces have been pining for new Eagles for over a decade now. If I could interview the front liners myself I would. Having three retired generals give an opinion piece based on who is backing their stock options does not equate to a lack of desire or need for these airframes. I can say the same for the generals who write FOR the F-15EX- Any opinion piece posted are payrolled for PR purposes.

The truth is, the F-35 does not have the legs, second cockpit, or carriage potential that the EX does. It cannot replace the Eagles, and the Raptor cannot either. The need has been building, the desire has been internally vocal. A SLEP line as you suggest for them would not be a viable option money-wise to take them out to 2040 and beyond. Nor does the F-16 upgrades fill the void. The whole point of the EX is to cheaply put new airframes on the ramps, without updating the infrastructure and adding months of re-training. When USAF pilots fly the SA to Saudi Arabia, it takes a week of sim time before they are crossing the Atlantic. Even IF the AF wanted to fill the void with the F-35 and reequip F-15 units with them, the production line wouldn't meet the quota fast enough, the amount of retrofitting costs to the guard bases would be large, and you would save nothing.

The Russian/Chinese argument is mute because the F-15's are always intended for second-day operations at this point, deliver the hard ordinance once a small group of F-35/F-22's have cleared the way. That's never going to change, so why would you put an F-35 on that second day operation? To deliver less capability?

The ONLY variable in this procurement is the GE engine selection. Yes, that may add additional hours to retrain/fix, but that talent is already being utilized at Mountain Home and can be spread easily across the schoolhouses. Also, the FBW system is NOT certified with P&W engines, and there's no point in paying an Edwards team again to do that- P&W made their choice long ago.

If you want to talk about handouts great, but the F-15 is not in that category, no matter how much you love the F-35.
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Unread post18 Mar 2020, 00:14

131stfwfan wrote:

As others have nonchalantly pointed out here, you really have a hard time separating your opinion/guesswork from facts, and it's been a growing issue, especially on Boeing fighters, since 2016. The air force, the units that operate the Eagle (Both legacy and Strike), and ground forces have been pining for new Eagles for over a decade now. If I could interview the front liners myself I would. Having three retired generals give an opinion piece based on who is backing their stock options does not equate to a lack of desire or need for these airframes. I can say the same for the generals who write FOR the F-15EX- Any opinion piece posted are payrolled for PR purposes.


Talk about calling the "Kettle Black". You care to provide sources to support widespread support for the F-15EX??? Also, you seem to have ignored my sources from the Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson and USAF Chief of Staff Gen. Dave Goldfein

QUOTE:


ORLANDO, Fla. — The U.S. Air Force wants more fighters. But it didn’t necessarily want the F-15X, and it didn’t intend to buy any in the upcoming fiscal 2020 budget, its top two leaders confirmed Thursday.


“Our budget proposal that we initially submitted did not include additional fourth-generation aircraft,” Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson told reporters during a Feb. 28 roundtable at the Air Force Association’s Air Warfare Symposium.


Wilson’s comments confirm reporting by Defense News and other outlets who have reported that the decision to buy new F-15X aircraft was essentially forced upon the Air Force. According to sources, the Pentagon’s Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation Office was a key backer of the F-15X and was able to garner the support of the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

“We are currently 80 percent fourth-gen aircraft and 20 percent fifth-generation aircraft,” she told Defense News in September. "In any of the fights that we have been asked to plan for, more fifth-gen aircraft make a huge difference, and we think that getting to 50-50 means not buying new fourth-gen aircraft, it means continuing to increase the fifth generation.”

QUOTE:

In an exclusive Sept. 5 interview, Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson said she believes the service needs to expend its precious financial resources on stealthy, fifth-generation platforms — specifically the F-35 — and thus buying even an advanced fourth generation fighter like the so-called F-15X is not in the cards.

https://www.defensenews.com/digital-sho ... lian-says/

QUOTE:


At the Air Force Association convention in September 2018, Secretary Heather Wilson announced the goal of expanding the force size from 312 to 386 operational squadrons that included seven new fighter squadrons. There was no mention of ever buying new fourth-generation fighters — only the F-35A.


But now we learn that OSD is the driver in the F-15X decision. At an AFA symposium on Feb. 28 in Orlando, Florida, Wilson acknowledged that the Air Force budget for 2020, when submitted to OSD, “did not include additional fourth-generation aircraft.” The F-15X was added by OSD, and apparently Air Force leadership has not been able to change minds in OSD.

"Over the past 15 years, the Air Force has been both consistent and persistent in advocating only the new fifth-generation, stealthy F-35A and retiring over time its non-stealthy fourth-generation F-15s and F-16s." Now, the goal announced by the Air Force is to procure 72 new fighters per year including both F-35As and F-15Xs.

https://www.defensenews.com/opinion/com ... nd-unwise/



The truth is, the F-35 does not have the legs, second cockpit, or carriage potential that the EX does.


Laughable......... :lmao:

A SLEP line as you suggest for them would not be a viable option money-wise to take them out to 2040 and beyond. Nor does the F-16 upgrades fill the void.

Sorry, all 4th Generation Fighters will be "obsolete" post 2030. So, forget about needing them to 2040 and beyond! :doh: As a matter of fact today the exchange rate between 5th Generations and 4th Generation is well "over" 20 to 1. :wink:

The whole point of the EX is to cheaply put new airframes on the ramps, without updating the infrastructure and adding months of re-training.


Sorry, the US has already produced 500+ F-35's and that number with double and triple in the coming years. So, the added infrastructure you talk about. Has been planned for and budgeted from the start. Plus, you also ignore the F-15EX will cost much more to both own and operate vs the F-35A. That is "fact"....in short the "saving" you and others talk about in regards to the F-15EX just aren't there. Especially, in the long term.


When USAF pilots fly the SA to Saudi Arabia, it takes a week of sim time before they are crossing the Atlantic. Even IF the AF wanted to fill the void with the F-35 and reequip F-15 units with them, the production line wouldn't meet the quota fast enough, the amount of retrofitting costs to the guard bases would be large, and you would save nothing.


The US has plenty of F-35 Production Capacity. Besides Fort Worth they also build F-35's in Italy and Japan. This is not an issue at all..........

The Russian/Chinese argument is mute because the F-15's are always intended for second-day operations at this point, deliver the hard ordinance once a small group of F-35/F-22's have cleared the way. That's never going to change, so why would you put an F-35 on that second day operation? To deliver less capability?


According to the USAF they're way "under" fighter strength. So, you just can't when or when not they will be used! :doh:

The ONLY variable in this procurement is the GE engine selection. Yes, that may add additional hours to retrain/fix, but that talent is already being utilized at Mountain Home and can be spread easily across the schoolhouses. Also, the FBW system is NOT certified with P&W engines, and there's no point in paying an Edwards team again to do that- P&W made their choice long ago.



No comment....... :?

If you want to talk about handouts great, but the F-15 is not in that category, no matter how much you love the F-35.


Sorry, the true is the F-15EX is in fact a "handout". The USAF doesn't want or need them. They want additional F-35's. Which, are vastly more capable. With the added benefit of being both cheaper to own and operate. That is easily supportable...

Honestly, making a case for F-15EX's today. Would be like making a case for more F-4E+ in the early 1980's. Over more F-15's and F-16's.
:shock:
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Unread post18 Mar 2020, 02:35

The idea it isn't be optimized for the very context of the purchase is a sign.
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Unread post18 Mar 2020, 03:02

Not sure what not optimized means. What is the EX lacking from other F-15 models?

Let's hear what Heather Wilson had to say about the F-15EX...

https://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org ... acity-gaps

What about Dave Goldfein?

https://www.flightglobal.com/fixed-wing ... 64.article

There's a difference between an opinion before a review and taking a decision factoring all views after a review...The talk about USAF not wanting it is absolute rubbish. I've never seen anyone able to change the minds of a 4 star general if the general does not want it, ever. However, doesn't mean its not a jobs program.
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Unread post18 Mar 2020, 03:21

No articles like the below if there is no buy-in from the USAF...latest from Northcom commander. Once a decision is taken, everyone falls in...

https://www.airforcemag.com/northcom-st ... d-defense/

The Air Force’s planned purchase of the F-15EX to replace aging fighters is needed to maintain the homeland defense mission as aging F-15Cs continue to see reliability issues, the head of U.S. Northern Command told lawmakers.

USAF Gen. Terrence O’Shaughnessy, commander of NORTHCOM and North American Aerospace Defense Command, told the House Armed Services Committee on March 11 that newer F-15EXs will bring on new capability for the mission, such as improved range, the ability to carry more missiles, and improved radar capabilities.

“That one aircraft can actually have much more of an effect, relatively for example, for the cruise missiles you’re trying to defend against,” O’Shaughnessy said.

The importance of that long range could be seen in the March 9 intercept of two Russian Tu-142 maritime reconnaissance aircraft north of Alaska. The intercepting aircraft, F-22s and Canadian CF-18s, used tanker support to intercept the target. The aircraft flew 750 miles from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, to reach the Tu-142s.

An aircraft with a longer range could, for example, reach a standoff bomber before it launch cruise missiles in a potential attack, he said.

“It really gives us flexibility, gives us an incredible increase in capability,” O’Shaughnessy said.

The Air Force’s fiscal 2021 budget request includes $1.6 billion to buy 12 F-15EXs, following the $1.1 billion for eight of the aircraft enacted in the 2020 budget. O’Shaughnessy said delaying the buy would mean maintaining the current fleet for F-15Cs longer and lead to more reliability issues.

“Our maintainers are phenomenal and keep them in operational status, but we are putting a stress on the system and so I would just continue to advocate for the soonest replacement,” he said.
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Corsair1963

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Unread post18 Mar 2020, 03:24

weasel1962 wrote:Not sure what not optimized means. What is the EX lacking from other F-15 models?

Let's hear what Heather Wilson had to say about the F-15EX...

https://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org ... acity-gaps

What about Dave Goldfein?

https://www.flightglobal.com/fixed-wing ... 64.article

There's a difference between an opinion before a review and taking a decision factoring all views after a review...The talk about USAF not wanting it is absolute rubbish. I've never seen anyone able to change the minds of a 4 star general if the general does not want it, ever. However, doesn't mean its not a jobs program.


Hardly, rubbish at all USAF Secretary Heather Wilson and General Goldfiein made it clear they didn't want the F-15EX. Yet, after being "ordered" to accept it. They had little choice but to go along with the decision.....

If, the choice comes down to the F-35A or F-15EX the choice is unanimous...."F-35"

Hell, you won't find a former F-15C/E Pilot now flying the F-35A. That would "prefer" the F-15EX over the latter. Yet, feel free to find us an example....
:wink:
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Corsair1963

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Unread post18 Mar 2020, 03:26

Honestly, with the heavy hit to the US Economy because of the coronavirus. This debate maybe over sooner than some think....As they just won't have the luxury of buying the F-15EX.
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Unread post18 Mar 2020, 03:32

weasel1962 wrote:No articles like the below if there is no buy-in from the USAF...latest from Northcom commander. Once a decision is taken, everyone falls in...

https://www.airforcemag.com/northcom-st ... d-defense/

The Air Force’s planned purchase of the F-15EX to replace aging fighters is needed to maintain the homeland defense mission as aging F-15Cs continue to see reliability issues, the head of U.S. Northern Command told lawmakers.

USAF Gen. Terrence O’Shaughnessy, commander of NORTHCOM and North American Aerospace Defense Command, told the House Armed Services Committee on March 11 that newer F-15EXs will bring on new capability for the mission, such as improved range, the ability to carry more missiles, and improved radar capabilities.

“That one aircraft can actually have much more of an effect, relatively for example, for the cruise missiles you’re trying to defend against,” O’Shaughnessy said.

The importance of that long range could be seen in the March 9 intercept of two Russian Tu-142 maritime reconnaissance aircraft north of Alaska. The intercepting aircraft, F-22s and Canadian CF-18s, used tanker support to intercept the target. The aircraft flew 750 miles from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, to reach the Tu-142s.

An aircraft with a longer range could, for example, reach a standoff bomber before it launch cruise missiles in a potential attack, he said.

“It really gives us flexibility, gives us an incredible increase in capability,” O’Shaughnessy said.

The Air Force’s fiscal 2021 budget request includes $1.6 billion to buy 12 F-15EXs, following the $1.1 billion for eight of the aircraft enacted in the 2020 budget. O’Shaughnessy said delaying the buy would mean maintaining the current fleet for F-15Cs longer and lead to more reliability issues.

“Our maintainers are phenomenal and keep them in operational status, but we are putting a stress on the system and so I would just continue to advocate for the soonest replacement,” he said.


Did they ask him...If, he could choose between the F-35A and the F-15EX. Which, would he prefer.... :wink:

The dear general is just following orders from his superiors. (OSD and Congress)

This whole decision to acquire the F-15EX is "all politics" and had nothing to do with what the USAF wants or needs...that is just the cold hard truth. (sadly)

Yet, feel free to believe what you like...
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