F-15X: USAF Seems Interested

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That_Engine_Guy

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Unread post10 Jul 2020, 15:38

Just something to interject here concerning the "cost" that never seems to be considered.

Every F-15 squadron/wing in the USAF is currently equipped support F100 engines.

Even the older PW-220 engines currently being used by the USAF/ANG are almost 80% common with the PW-229 engines when it comes to base level intermediate maintenance and test-cell operations. A "typical" shop consists of $15M-$25M+ worth of tooling/equipment depending on the size of the Wing/Squadrons it supports.

SO, now we're going to deploy F-15X to bases that have F-15C/D/E and have maybe 10% of the tooling (basic tools, and the stands) required to work on a GE F110? I'm sure GE will be thrilled selling hundreds of millions worth of tooling/equipment to the USAF to support just 144 aircraft.

To "save" money certifying the PW229 that has already flown in the F-15E, F-15S, F-15K, F-15I or every F-15 EVER flown by the USAF had the F100?

Why would you do that? (Politics!?)

How hard can it be for a modern digital flight control system to be reprogrammed for a slightly lighter and more powerful engine? Why else would GE not put the weight, or thrust to weight ratio on their official F110 site? They also state the "thrust class" not ACTUAL thrust. (All true/accurate if you look at any official USAF tech data specs for the PW229 and GE129)

GE's claim "F110-GE-100 – the safest single-engine power plant in U.S. Air Force history in its class" - really?
https://www.safety.af.mil/Portals/71/do ... Engine.pdf

Again, the whole thing seems to be politically motivated.

I still don't see why they're pouring $$ into this when they could ramp up production of the F-35 - maybe purchase even cheaper F-16 70/72 that has support in the field for EITHER engine? (Oh that would be Lockheed in either case, sorry - politics)

Keep 'em flyin' :thumb:
TEG
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marauder2048

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Unread post10 Jul 2020, 20:17

aaam wrote:As far as AF protest sustain rate goes, AF had a series of very high profile acquisition problems (and there is a long memory for this kind of thing) which included people going to jail, which is well beyond the scope of honest mistakes. They really don't want to get involved in another controversy. Regarding competition costs, nothing in DoD is "very small". Just the competition itself is going to cost scads of millions of $$, on a program that maxes out at a potential 144 airframes (less the Lot 1 birds who will get F110)s. P&W can not legally pay the gov't's costs for the competition. Even if they could, they'd just get it back in their pricing, which would up the cost of their engine, which would give an advantage to GE. Plus, if they did try and cover the gov't's costs, that would taint the competition, whenever (if) they won a particular lot buy.


The CRS study on GAO Protest sustain rates covers the 15 year period starting in FY2001.
That encompasses the Druyun scandal. Yet the Air Force average protest sustain rate was no different in this period
to the other services; the Air Force tends to have the highest dollar amount per contract so you would
naturally tend to think that it invites the most protests but this isn't (per RAND's 2018 study on the matter)
the case. And of course, the Air Force has the best post-award debriefings which RAND officially
recommended (this study being mandated by Congress) all other services adopt.

And there's been no significant change in the number of Air Force contracts competitively
bid during the period in question.

And or course, LRS-B was a hugely controversial acquisition program: Lockeed/Boeing offered to
execute EMD + production on a fixed price basis. Northrop threatened to walk if that basis defined
the RFP. To preserve competition, the Air Force elected to accommodate Northrop. And a very
complex program withstood a Boeing full-court press protest with one of the longest, most comprehensive
GAO judgements (in the Air Force's favor) that anyone has ever seen.

None of the above is evidence of a service that fears running competitions or courting controversy.

Naturally, I'm largely focusing on data and analysis to which you are, alas, allergic but the former are more convincing
than the anecdote and supposed intuition you are furnishing.

The main driver for the cost of competition for the F-15EX is qualifying the Pratt engine on the F-15QA.
That cost is going to be borne by Pratt. That's perfectly legal. And of course, they still have to beat GE
on acquisition and sustainment costs so how much margin hit they want to incur is up to them.

But if you've been paying attention, the commercial aviation propulsion market has collapsed and
is not likely to recover in the mid-term. So taking margin hits to preserve overall income is a matter of survival.


aaam wrote:Not wishing to reopen the F135/F136 issue because it's moot at this point.


*Proceeds to then write another long-winded and factually wrong essay*

There were no fewer than three congressional mandated studies on the engine: IDA, DOD and GAO.
The conservative development figure was from GAO.

The majority opinion was that the total cost of engine R&D + O&S cost of two engines outweighed
any likely gain through competition. All other facts I cited are from Admiral Roughead's congressional testimony
which, being given under oath, is a damn sight more convincing that what you are spouting.


aaam wrote:It's interesting that you appear to favor competing for a program of <144 aircraft which would have to spread the cost of competing over a small production run and have the logistics issues you mention but not for a program of thousands of aircraft which wouldn't have those issues.


There's a formal competition for 461 engines. And development costs are a non issue.
And they are mature engines with detailed pedigrees for a comparatively mature airframe so
projections on O&S are high confidence. And it's single service. And that service has successfully managed
mixed F-15 powered fleets. And there's a potential export market that isn't filtered through a JPO steering board.

Can you spot the substantive differences?

aaam wrote:Like I said, though, the F135/136 issue is moot and not a factor for the F-15EX.


Stupid background used to motivate an unconvincing foreground. Thanks for the meaningless tangent.
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Unread post10 Jul 2020, 22:47

TEG, I've been commenting about that issue for a while now. So little is common between an F-15E and an EX that the Mx new tooling needs will be huge.
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Unread post11 Jul 2020, 01:26

sprstdlyscottsmn wrote:TEG, I've been commenting about that issue for a while now. So little is common between an F-15E and an EX that the Mx new tooling needs will be huge.


I think that is the recurring theme here; the “CAPE Fighter Force Mix Study Final Report” that was behind the F-15EX
likely failed to take any of this into account or the practical realties of contracting dictated
by the FAR e.g. engine competition.
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Unread post12 Jul 2020, 17:56

If I was Pratt and this engine competition was for JUST USAF F-15EX's, I'd cede the competition and focus moreso on the F-135 and its advanced derivatives. Because longer term, that's where the real money is. Hell, just look at Japan and its recent order for 105. At the rate LM is selling F-35's, the F-135 and its future derivatives are where the real money is..

The problem is this: The "Advanced" F-15 export market. They've already sold quite a few to many nations, and there's nothing to say there won't be more. The primary goal should be powering the F-35, and quite possibly PCA as well. But given how many Advanced F-15's have sold.... they need to be in the mix.
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Unread post13 Jul 2020, 03:52

mixelflick wrote:If I was Pratt and this engine competition was for JUST USAF F-15EX's, I'd cede the competition and focus moreso on the F-135 and its advanced derivatives. Because longer term, that's where the real money is. Hell, just look at Japan and its recent order for 105. At the rate LM is selling F-35's, the F-135 and its future derivatives are where the real money is..

The problem is this: The "Advanced" F-15 export market. They've already sold quite a few to many nations, and there's nothing to say there won't be more. The primary goal should be powering the F-35, and quite possibly PCA as well. But given how many Advanced F-15's have sold.... they need to be in the mix.


Actually, not that many "Advanced F-15's" worldwide. So, honestly don't see investing large sums in upgraded F100's and/or F110's having much benefit. As the current versions of both engines are more than adequate for the reminder of their lifetimes.

"IMHO"
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Unread post13 Jul 2020, 14:33

Corsair1963 wrote:
mixelflick wrote:If I was Pratt and this engine competition was for JUST USAF F-15EX's, I'd cede the competition and focus moreso on the F-135 and its advanced derivatives. Because longer term, that's where the real money is. Hell, just look at Japan and its recent order for 105. At the rate LM is selling F-35's, the F-135 and its future derivatives are where the real money is..

The problem is this: The "Advanced" F-15 export market. They've already sold quite a few to many nations, and there's nothing to say there won't be more. The primary goal should be powering the F-35, and quite possibly PCA as well. But given how many Advanced F-15's have sold.... they need to be in the mix.


Actually, not that many "Advanced F-15's" worldwide. So, honestly don't see investing large sums in upgraded F100's and/or F110's having much benefit. As the current versions of both engines are more than adequate for the reminder of their lifetimes.

"IMHO"


South Korea, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar all operate, or will be doing so, advanced F-15s.
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Unread post13 Jul 2020, 18:21

mixelflick wrote:If I was Pratt and this engine competition was for JUST USAF F-15EX's, I'd cede the competition and focus moreso on the F-135 and its advanced derivatives. Because longer term, that's where the real money is. Hell, just look at Japan and its recent order for 105. At the rate LM is selling F-35's, the F-135 and its future derivatives are where the real money is..

The problem is this: The "Advanced" F-15 export market. They've already sold quite a few to many nations, and there's nothing to say there won't be more. The primary goal should be powering the F-35, and quite possibly PCA as well. But given how many Advanced F-15's have sold.... they need to be in the mix.



AFAIK, the F-35 propulsion upgrade program still isn't a formal acquisition program with an actual budget.
Aside from the B-52 engine upgrade (which will use commercial/bizjet engines), the
F-15EX is pretty much it for new military engine business.

I tend to think the "Advanced" F-15 export market will be either new builds or upgrade (F-15S -> F-15SA)
sales to existing F-15 operators. If the operator was Pratt engined then Pratt would be silly to not be there
with an offering. And of course, GE was able to flip the Saudis on the F-15S -> F-15SA upgrades so it
could work the other way for Pratt.
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sferrin

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Unread post13 Jul 2020, 19:05

marauder2048 wrote: And of course, GE was able to flip the Saudis on the F-15S -> F-15SA upgrades so it
could work the other way for Pratt.


Everybody else is using the F110s so that might be difficult. :shrug:
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Unread post13 Jul 2020, 19:38

sferrin wrote:
marauder2048 wrote: And of course, GE was able to flip the Saudis on the F-15S -> F-15SA upgrades so it
could work the other way for Pratt.


Everybody else is using the F110s so that might be difficult. :shrug:


Isn't the F-15I all Pratt powered? You could very well see an F-15I -> F-15IA upgrade.

Given how the commercial engine market is struggling I could see Pratt fighting pretty ferociously
for these contracts.
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Unread post13 Jul 2020, 19:59

marauder2048 wrote:
sferrin wrote:
marauder2048 wrote: And of course, GE was able to flip the Saudis on the F-15S -> F-15SA upgrades so it
could work the other way for Pratt.


Everybody else is using the F110s so that might be difficult. :shrug:


Isn't the F-15I all Pratt powered? You could very well see an F-15I -> F-15IA upgrade.

Given how the commercial engine market is struggling I could see Pratt fighting pretty ferociously
for these contracts.


Yes it uses the F100. I didn't think it was in the "Advanced Eagle" category. Those have AESAs and IRSTs. Hmm. Looks like the 2nd batch of South Korean "Slam Eagles" has the -229s. So they have both the F100 & F110. Weird.

6272093860_d3b29686aa_b.jpg
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Unread post13 Jul 2020, 20:06

sferrin wrote:
Yes it uses the F100. I didn't think it was in the "Advanced Eagle" category. Those have AESAs and IRSTs. Hmm. Looks like the 2nd batch of South Korean "Slam Eagles" has the -229s. So they have both the F100 & F110. Weird.




"Advanced Eagle" ..are there practical differences between the F-15S and the F-15I that would preclude the
same or similar upgrade path to the F-15*A variant?

P.S. Thanks for the fleet research...I didn't mean to pull a Sweetman with my "lazy evaluation" claims.
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Unread post13 Jul 2020, 22:37

sferrin wrote:




South Korea, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar all operate, or will be doing so, advanced F-15s.
Israeli F-15s would need to be included, too.
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Unread post13 Jul 2020, 22:47

sferrin wrote:South Korea, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar all operate, or will be doing so, advanced F-15s.


What makes an Eagle an Advanced Eagle is the FBW, not IRST or AESA radar. The Saudis with the F-15SA were the launch customer and also the ones who paid for the multi-year development including certifying the F110 engine. Qatar is the second operator, USAF would be the third. Only engine option (for now at least) is the F110-129.

Previous Eagles for South Korea and Singapore are non-FBW Strike Eagle based, like the F-15I and F-15S before them. That's why they can use either F100 or F110 engines.

Saudi F-15S initially came with the F100-229 engine, but they switched to the F110 because fine sand turned to glass in the hot section apparently... meaning all F-15SA, new or rebuilt use the F110 engine. https://www.arabianaerospace.aero/recor ... saudi.html

Will be interesting to see what happens when/if Israel decides to upgrade their F-15I fleet to IA standard, since they too use the F100 engine.
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Unread post13 Jul 2020, 23:27

eagle3000 wrote:
sferrin wrote:South Korea, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar all operate, or will be doing so, advanced F-15s.


What makes an Eagle an Advanced Eagle is the FBW, not IRST or AESA radar. The Saudis with the F-15SA were the launch customer and also the ones who paid for the multi-year development including certifying the F110 engine. Qatar is the second operator, USAF would be the third. Only engine option (for now at least) is the F110-129.

Previous Eagles for South Korea and Singapore are non-FBW Strike Eagle based, like the F-15I and F-15S before them. That's why they can use either F100 or F110 engines.

Saudi F-15S initially came with the F100-229 engine, but they switched to the F110 because fine sand turned to glass in the hot section apparently... meaning all F-15SA, new or rebuilt use the F110 engine. https://www.arabianaerospace.aero/recor ... saudi.html

Will be interesting to see what happens when/if Israel decides to upgrade their F-15I fleet to IA standard, since they too use the F100 engine.


I think this largely misses the point: we are talking about the addressable export market.

If your F-15s are upgradable to the "Advanced Eagle" standard then you'd be part of the potential market
that Pratt would be eager to target which is why (in part) their bid for the F-15EX propulsion contracts makes
business sense.
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