F-15X: USAF Seems Interested

Military aircraft - Post cold war aircraft, including for example B-2, Gripen, F-18E/F Super Hornet, Rafale, and Typhoon.
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charlielima223

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Unread post16 Apr 2020, 23:20

Thought these articles would be of interest because the F-15X would essentially be the US version of the SA and QA.

https://theaviationist.com/2020/04/14/t ... st-flight/

https://www.flightglobal.com/defence/fi ... 74.article

Personally I would like to see a full fleet of F-35s supplemented by F-16Vs and F-15Xs.
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weasel1962

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Unread post17 Apr 2020, 06:59

Just to provide some flavor. Boeing deliveries in the past decade or so. 2020 is to Q1.
Boeing deliveries 2010-2020.png
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mixelflick

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Unread post17 Apr 2020, 17:03

charlielima223 wrote:Thought these articles would be of interest because the F-15X would essentially be the US version of the SA and QA.

https://theaviationist.com/2020/04/14/t ... st-flight/

https://www.flightglobal.com/defence/fi ... 74.article

Personally I would like to see a full fleet of F-35s supplemented by F-16Vs and F-15Xs.


I have my doubts about the F-35 getting to its full, planned production numbers (for USAF, anyway). Especially if the pentagon insists on buying F-15EX's. How can it possibly do so? The $ supply sure isn't infinite, and every dollar spent on the F-15EX is a dollar not availabe to produce F-35's.

It's interesting insofar as how the Pentagon has changed its views. First, it was "we're going to have an all 5th generation air force". Then the bill came in, and now it's "we're going to fly upgraded 4th gen and 5th gen airframes". To be fair, it seems Russia and China have found this out the hard way too. LM did an amazing job getting the per unit cost of the F-35 down, but it seems you can't have both a low unit cost and low CPFH. Well, at least they're trying to get the latter down to $25,000/hour.

I think you'll largely get your wish though: Wings of F-35's will eventually fill out the USAF, supplemented by F-16's with upgraded AESA radars and other improvements, along with the F-15EX. I'm not sure how many the Pentagon will build, especially given the COVID19 bill coming due. I'll be shocked if it's more than 100, but IF they decide to replace F-15C's (as is their stated plan), it'll take almost twice that number to do so. USAF currently flies circa 220 or so F-15C's, and a similar numbe of E models.

The EX will need to be built in mass to replace the current capability. Air to air then, the nation is counting on the following..

130 or so combat coded F-22 Raptors
200 or so F-15C's (soon to be EX's)

The backstop being 900ish F-16's and a smaller but growing number of F-35's. A little more than 300 dedicated air to air platforms seems a perilously low number, especially to fight a 2 front war. It's what we saddled ourselves with though, and we're going to have to live with it until PCA gets here. I sincerely hope I see PCA before I expire. It will be good knowing the nation is back in the saddle with respect to air superiority, and once again producing un-compromised fighters...
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weasel1962

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Unread post17 Apr 2020, 19:33

The 200+ F-15E fleet was always going to be in the post 2040 picture but we can always pretend they are the unwanted cousins. The F-35s were not intended to replace F-15Cs. The USAF intended A buy is to replace A-10s and F-16 sqns. So if the F-35 were to replace F-15C sqns as well, the numbers would need a program expansion. If there is no expansion, that is de-facto no replacement (or some A-10/F-16 sqns sacrificed as a result). No expansion is actually a worse outcome than buying the EX.

Justifying an F-35A expansion is far riskier strategy than justifying a jobs program...even accounting for Trump sweet talk skills.

Even if the F-15EX is a completely "new" plane (though technically accurate, *snort*), replacing F-15Cs with EX just maintains the same or smaller number of F-15s post 2040.
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mixelflick

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Unread post18 Apr 2020, 12:43

weasel1962 wrote:The 200+ F-15E fleet was always going to be in the post 2040 picture but we can always pretend they are the unwanted cousins. The F-35s were not intended to replace F-15Cs. The USAF intended A buy is to replace A-10s and F-16 sqns. So if the F-35 were to replace F-15C sqns as well, the numbers would need a program expansion. If there is no expansion, that is de-facto no replacement (or some A-10/F-16 sqns sacrificed as a result). No expansion is actually a worse outcome than buying the EX.

Justifying an F-35A expansion is far riskier strategy than justifying a jobs program...even accounting for Trump sweet talk skills.

Even if the F-15EX is a completely "new" plane (though technically accurate, *snort*), replacing F-15Cs with EX just maintains the same or smaller number of F-15s post 2040.


I think at the end of the day, we're going to see some F-16 units sacrificed to make F-15C replacements with the EX happen. There's just no way around it: The F-15 Mafia is a very real, strong culture in USAF. Given its combat record, it's hard to argue with them. That doesn't always mean they're right, but... they've got stroke other platforms don't. The F-15C has given them an undefeated air superiority hunter-killer. The E has given them the most flexible swing role fighter USAF has ever known. F-16 folk might argue that point, but when push comes to shove the Strike Eagle can carry weapons the F-16 can't, to speeds and altitudes it can't reach and over distances the F-16 can't touch.

And lord knows Congress will hear none of getting rid of the A-10, so the F-16 draws the short straw...
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Corsair1963

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Unread post29 Apr 2020, 06:50

Still a better alternative than the F-15EX in my opinion. Especially, for the ANG (Air National Guard).... 8)

QUOTE:

A U.S. Air Force F-16 modified with the new APG-83 AESA radar has test-fired a AIM-120 air-to-air missile for the first time.

Besides the APG-83 radar, the Operational Flight Program (OFP) M-series 7.2+ modifications adds the ability to drop the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile-Extended Range and more than 40 other enhancements.

The M-series 7.2+ is now released for installation on USAF Block 40/42/50/52 F-16s this month.


F16CU.png





https://www.robins.af.mil/News/Article- ... E635C1wRw/
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Corsair1963

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Unread post29 Apr 2020, 07:13

mixelflick wrote:
I think at the end of the day, we're going to see some F-16 units sacrificed to make F-15C replacements with the EX happen. There's just no way around it: The F-15 Mafia is a very real, strong culture in USAF. Given its combat record, it's hard to argue with them. That doesn't always mean they're right, but... they've got stroke other platforms don't. The F-15C has given them an undefeated air superiority hunter-killer. The E has given them the most flexible swing role fighter USAF has ever known. F-16 folk might argue that point, but when push comes to shove the Strike Eagle can carry weapons the F-16 can't, to speeds and altitudes it can't reach and over distances the F-16 can't touch.

And lord knows Congress will hear none of getting rid of the A-10, so the F-16 draws the short straw...



Sorry, no political support to close USAF and/or ANG bases. (i.e. Job Losses) Which, would happen with a big cut to F-16's. Plus, they would cut A-10's before they would ever cut F-16's. If, it came down between the two....

Best solution is to replace the three USAF F-15C Squadrons (493rd Lakenheath UK and 44th/67th Kadena Okinawa Japan) with the F-35A. While, replacing the ANG Units. With upgraded F-16C's. That are plentiful and already going through a SLEP. That includes the New APG-83 AESA Radar....(among other mods)

Hell, the latter would easily be cheaper than buying all New F-15EX's. While, providing a vastly more capable oversea force in both Europe and the Pacific. While, not cutting back here at home....(think about it)
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mixelflick

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Unread post29 Apr 2020, 15:04

I'll concede up-rated F-16's may be cheaper, but more capable? You'd have to define your terms..

The F-15 is always going to have a bigger radar, which generally means a more capable radar. It's going to be able to carry more AMRAAM's/AIM-260's. It's going to carry more fuel and probably stay on station longer. It'll have 2 crewman vs. 1, easing the workload a bit.

Most importantly, that 2 crew arrangement allows for the EX to backfill F-15E Strike Eagles as they age out of service. There's just no denying this one: USAF loves its Strike Eagles, uses them frequently and seems enamored with their ability to carry newer, large (and small) air to surface weapons. No F-16ADV will compare, and cheaper or not the USAF brass/Eagle Mafia is calling the shots..
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loke

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Unread post29 Apr 2020, 15:24

I agree, F-15 is more complementary to the F-35 than what the F-16 is.

Did Israel decide to buy more F-15 in the end? If yes it is most likely due to operational needs and not politics I would assume.
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Corsair1963

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Unread post30 Apr 2020, 02:47

mixelflick wrote:I'll concede up-rated F-16's may be cheaper, but more capable? You'd have to define your terms..

The F-15 is always going to have a bigger radar, which generally means a more capable radar. It's going to be able to carry more AMRAAM's/AIM-260's. It's going to carry more fuel and probably stay on station longer. It'll have 2 crewman vs. 1, easing the workload a bit.

Most importantly, that 2 crew arrangement allows for the EX to backfill F-15E Strike Eagles as they age out of service. There's just no denying this one: USAF loves its Strike Eagles, uses them frequently and seems enamored with their ability to carry newer, large (and small) air to surface weapons. No F-16ADV will compare, and cheaper or not the USAF brass/Eagle Mafia is calling the shots..


I suggested the best solution was to replace the USAF F-15C's in Japan and the UK with the F-35A. (just three squadrons) Which, is what I was referring to when I said "more capable".

This while replacing the remainder of the ANG F-15C's with the upgraded F-16C's. Remember, this is just a short-term solution until enough F-35's come online. Which, is why it is "crazy" to acquire new F-15EX's. That would have a service life of 20-30 years. Hell, both will quickly become obsolete post 2030. So, does anybody think the Eagle is really going to be viable into the 2040's and 2050's??? (I think not)

Also, those very same upgraded F-16C's. That we are upgrading today with a SLEP and APG-83. Will, be operated by a number of ANG Units. Many in the Air Defense Role! Yet, I don't hear anybody claiming they're not adequate for the role???
:wink:

Oh, and while the USAF has been generally happy with the F-15E Strike Eagle. It didn't want the F-15EX at all. Which, was forced on them by the OSD....
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Corsair1963

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Unread post30 Apr 2020, 03:00

loke wrote:I agree, F-15 is more complementary to the F-35 than what the F-16 is.

Did Israel decide to buy more F-15 in the end? If yes it is most likely due to operational needs and not politics I would assume.



I wouldn't say the F-15 is more complementary than the F-16. As the USAF/ANG will always have many more of the latter than the former.

In addition the F-16's New APG-83 shares much with the F-22's and F-35's AESA Radars. (APG-77 & APG-81)

QUOTE:

The radar upgrade of select Air National Guard F-16s extends the operational viability and reliability of that fleet while providing pilots with 5th-generation fighter radar capabilities to defend our nation’s airspace.

“The APG-83 radar provides unprecedented, active electronically scanned array (AESA) targeting and fire control capabilities to the F-16 fleet to ensure the superior effectiveness of the Air National Guard’s mission,” said Mark Rossi, director, SABR programs, Northrop Grumman. “APG-83 was specifically designed to maximize the performance of the F-16 with an affordable and scalable architecture, based upon advancements made through the introduction of Northrop Grumman’s APG-77 AESA for the F-22 Raptor and APG-81 AESA for the F-35 Lightning II.”

https://news.northropgrumman.com/news/r ... uard-f-16s

As for Israel they do plan to acquire some new F-15I's. Yet, just like the F-15EX under pressure from the US Government/Boeing. In order to keep the production line going.
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mixelflick

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Unread post30 Apr 2020, 14:38

Most F-15EX stories indicate they'll be flying with AN/APG-82 AESA radar—as used by upgraded F-15E Strike Eagles. So a bit less advanced than the AN/APG-83?

Even so, the radar will be bigger and thus have greater range, will it not? And also, Boeing claims it'll be slaved to the fastest mission computer every flown on a fighter.

Would you consider that arrangment inferior to the AN/APG-83? I'm asking respectfully here, not tongue in cheek. I can't figure out from the marketing which of the two radars is more capable. Because at the end of the day, I think the radar (or rather, radar capacity) of the F-15EX is largely what's driving USAF's acquisition thinking...
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Unread post30 Apr 2020, 15:53

mixelflick wrote:Most F-15EX stories indicate they'll be flying with AN/APG-82 AESA radar—as used by upgraded F-15E Strike Eagles. So a bit less advanced than the AN/APG-83?

Even so, the radar will be bigger and thus have greater range, will it not? And also, Boeing claims it'll be slaved to the fastest mission computer every flown on a fighter.

Would you consider that arrangment inferior to the AN/APG-83? I'm asking respectfully here, not tongue in cheek. I can't figure out from the marketing which of the two radars is more capable. Because at the end of the day, I think the radar (or rather, radar capacity) of the F-15EX is largely what's driving USAF's acquisition thinking...

The APG-82 isn't less advanced than the APG-83. It's a considerably more powerful radar the the SABR.
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Unread post30 Apr 2020, 21:09

The F-15 design is considerably more capable overall than the F-16. But that isn't to say an upgraded F-16 would be a poor choice for CONUS air defense, especially if the primary "threat" is just a disoriented Cessna 172 pilot that has strayed into prohibited air space and needs to be ushered out.

OTOH, if the mission of CONUS air defense might also include the possibility of reacting to an enemy bomber cruise missile strike, then I would rather have an advanced F-15 dealing with that sort of threat. There are instances where having more speed, range, weapons and more powerful sensors are a definite plus.

As for the 4th Gen/5th Gen debate, I think there is still plenty of room for both types in our inventory going forward. We need a significant number of 5th generation assets that are capable of actually penetrating enemy air defenses. But that isn't to say aircraft such as the F-15 and F-16 are now useless. We have advanced weapons in the inventory today that can allow these aircraft to strike heavily defended targets from well outside the range of the most advanced enemy air defenses. And those weapons are only getting better. Not every aircraft needs to be a 5th generation fighter. Nor can we afford every fighter to be a 5th generation marvel. They are just too damn expensive to maintain and operate as a total force solution. As long as we have a good balance between the 4th gens and the 5th gens and they are built to compliment each other, we'll be just fine.
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Unread post19 May 2020, 01:06

Another key element as to why the USAF came to Boeing with the need for F-15EX:


Skyborg would be artificially intelligent software used to control the flight path, weapons and sensors of large numbers of UAVs. Automating flight control, in particular via artificial intelligence, is seen as necessary to allow a single person, perhaps a backseat pilot in a fighter aircraft, to command multiple UAVs at once.



Full link: https://www.flightglobal.com/military-u ... 26.article
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