Skip to comments.US reveals details of F-15SE, F-35A bids for South Korea
Posted on 04/03/2013 2:40:33 PM PDT by sukhoi-30mki
US reveals details of F-15SE, F-35A bids for South Korea
The US Department of Defense formally notified the US Congress of potential sales of the Boeing F-15SE Silent Eagle and Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter to South Korea on 29 March. The two aircraft are on offer to the Asian nation as part of South Korea's F-X III fighter competition. The Eurofighter Typhoon is a third contender for the 60 aircraft tender.
For the potential F-35 sale, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) says that South Korea could order 60 conventional A-model aircraft and associated support equipment for $10.8 billion. There would also be provisions for spares including nine additional Pratt & Whitney F135 afterburning turbofans. The package would also encompass training-including simulators.
Lockheed Martin says that it is pleased that the formal Congressional notification process is now under way, but notes that the competing bids are still being evaluated by Korea and price discussions are "on-going".
Boeing's F-15SE Silent Eagle offering is a somewhat more complicated bid because it is a hybrid of a direct commercial sale and government-to-government US foreign military sale (FMS). As such the DSCA notification to Congress is only for certain equipment that would have to be sold to South Korea to support the Silent Eagle sale.
Equipment that would be sold under the auspices of the US government FMS programme include 60 Raytheon-built active electronically scanned array radar (AESA) radars, but it is not specified if those are APG-63 (V)3 or APG-82 sets. Additionally, the F-15SE sale would include 60 digital electronic warfare systems (DEWS), 60 Lockheed AN/AAQ-33 Sniper targeting pods, 60 Lockheed AN/AAS-42 infrared search and track systems and other ancillary hardware. The estimated cost of the FMS portion of the sale would be $2.41 billion according the DSCA.
"We do feel we have the lower cost, better value bid here," a Boeing official says, but the company did not say how much the direct commercial sale portion of their bid would cost. In a written statement, Boeing adds: "We are confident our Silent Eagle offering is best suited to address F-X requirements."
While he does not rule out the possibility that South Korea will opt for the Typhoon, Raymond Jaworowski, an analyst with Forecast International, says the contest will most like come down to a battle between the F-35 and the Silent Eagle. "The F-15 and the F-35 are the frontrunners," he says. "South Korea has previously bought US fighter aircraft and it seems likely that's the way they'll go for this buy."
In the Silent Eagle's favour is the fact that South Korea already has the older F-15K Slam Eagle in service. "The commonality factor will come into play," Jaworowski says. "On the other hand, the F-35 is more and more becoming the dominant fighter on the market." Other factors that play in the F-35's favour are the fact that Japan has already ordered the stealthy fifth-generation jet and growing threats in the region.
But given the state of the South Korean tender, "I think at this point it's too early to predict between the F-35 and the F-15," Jaworowski says.
If you are facing the very real possibility of combat, what kind of lunatic would buy an F-35 if they could buy an F-15SE?
I think SK should be investing in hundreds of short range weapons; not 60 super-fighters. Their enemy is within artillery range not 2000 miles away. NK can hit Soul with 1,000,000 artillery rounds per hour. 60 planes won’t do anything about that in time.
I wonder how the F-X III compares?
Taiwan also had a domestic fighter program but it was hardly any better than an F-16 I think.
If the planes can even get into the air once combat begins, might it not start with an EMP over Seoul?
NK’s will be coming through the tunnels first
“If the planes can even get into the air once combat begins, might it not start with an EMP over Seoul?”
Having spent an entire career on military hardware I’m fairly confident that the planes will not suffer from EMP. Also, EMP is not a good military usage of a nuke unless you have lots of them. Most military hardware will be relatively unaffected. (Depending on a number of factors, of course. But it will mostly work adequately.) However, I would expect the airbases to get hit first. There’s no place in SK that can’t be hit.
true and what can F-35’s do about the tunnels?
Their enemy is China. And they will need every one of those F-35's to face down the PLA Air Force when Chinese ground units surge down the Korean peninsula to annex North Korea (and perhaps the entire peninsula) upon Kim's eventual fall from power.
The point of the program was to be able to make fighter aircraft if the US chose not to supply them.
With this admin, that might come in handy
Well, they at least got it partly right. We haven’t been able to do a damn thing right.
Chalk up another air force with the better airplanes we should have. Boeing F-15SE.
It is just that when it comes to the F-15 Silent Eagle there are some aspects that are quite evident in terms of showing it is a superlative fighter, for instance its flawless combat record. The F-15 base that the SE would stem from is really an amazing platform.
However, there are also a couple of questions that arise when one looks at the SE from a 'stealthy' perspective. For one, the base model F-15 is one of the least stealthy platforms currently flying from an RCS perspective. According to white paper sources its RCS can be a high as 20m2, as comparable to a Eurofighter at 0.5-1m2. Obviously RCS figures are not everything, but when the F-15 was being designed there were other more important metrics that were being sought after, which the Eagle met, and lowering RCS was never a factor. Even in the limited way that somehow lowering RCS was during the design of the Hornet/SuperHornet. Thus, using that as a base for a stealthy platform does raise some questions, especially compared to designs that are set up from the first go as stealthy. For instance, the YF-22/F-22 platform has stealthy attributes even without RAM application. The very shaping of the design incorporates stealthy ideas. The shaping design of the F-15 incorporates large air-intakes, interesting angles, etc. Now, I know in the SE the vertical stabilizers will be canted in a V-shape similar to the Superhornets (and F-35/22), and that it will have a radar blocker in front of the fan blades (similar to what the YF-23 had and the PakFa may have). I wonder how they will work around the variable geometry inlets, since that appears to be a potential re-design issue.
And talking about RAM, the SE will have copious amounts of RAM based on the 2009 tests. Maintenance will thus have to be a major consideration, especially considering that this is a fighter plane and not a subsonic bomber. However, I am sure this is mitigated by recent developments in RAM application and maintenance techniques.
Anyways, I am obviously not part of the design team for the F-15SE, and thus I am not privy to the answers they may have come up to some of this issues. It is also obvious that they MUST have come up with answers (I am not one of those FReepers who assume the designers are incompetent ...e.g. I remember when the PakFa came out two FReepers kept saying it is 'useless' because it has a canopy that has metal supports, ignoring the fact that the F-35 has the same, as does the YF-23 that was alleged to be stealthier than the YF-22). But I digress.
Obviously I don't have any real info, but just from a layman's perspective the base F-15 design was not the best starting point for a stealthy platform, even though as a fighter platform it is definitely amazing (the Eagle design evolutions like the F-15K for South Korea and F-15SG for Singapore are still competitive against newer designs like the Eurofighter and the Rafale). It may be possible that it is one of those trade-off exercises that brought forth discussions like 'is it better to design a fighter into a ground-attack plane, or a ground-attack plane into a fighter?' The answer to that was shown to be converting a fighter into an air-to-mud (e.g. F-15C to F-15E) was better than the inverse. Thus, maybe it is the same thing here ...that converting a fighter platform into a stealth platform is easier than meeting the costs required to convert the F-35, which should really be called the A-35, into a superlative fighter when it comes to facing off against next generation threats. That might be the angle Boeing is aiming for here, and why they chose the F-15 - a proven platform as a fighter AND multi-role - as their base for the 'stealthier version.'
I've also read their claim that the SE will be as stealthy as the F-35 in the forward hemisphere. That I have a hard time believing, unless there is something REALLY WRONG with the F-35 from a stealthiness perspective. Even with all the problems the F-35 has experienced, it should still be stealthier than a F-15 with a canted tail, RAM overdose, and fan-blockers! Especially considering the F-35 was designed from scratch to be stealthy from a RCS design perspective, as well as having RAM also. If the SE is as stealthy as the F-35 from a forward angle, as claimed, then the other claim of the F-35 having an RCS of 0.001 m2 is definitely questionable. One party is lying ...either Boeing with their claim of RCS equivalence to the F-35, or Lockmart with their claim of 0.001m2 RCS (maybe both are lying).
Boeing has experience in making major RCS reductions with a little reshaping and strategic placement of RAM when they designed the F/A-18E/F.
The Eurofighter isn't very stealthy when fully loaded with external stores, and neither is the F-15. The key to the F-15SE's stealthiness is the redesigned conformal fuel tanks that can carry a couple of missiles internally.
The biggest advantage the F-15S has over the Eurofighter and the F-35 is that South Korea already operates the F-15K so infrastructure costs would be much lower.