Skip to comments.Boeing Is Pitching the US a New F-15, Using Its Super Hornet Game Plan
Posted on 07/18/2018 10:20:24 AM PDT by sukhoi-30mki
Boeing Is Pitching the US a New F-15, Using Its Super Hornet Game Plan
The company convinced the Trump administration to buy advanced F/A-18 jets. Can it do the same with the the F-15?
FARNBOROUGH, UK Boeing is quietly pitching the U.S. Air Force a new F-15 fighter jet using the same business strategy that convinced the Trump administration to buy more Super Hornet warplanes for the Navy.
Dubbed the F-15X, the new variant of the venerable jet offers more modern flight controls, cockpit displays, and radar, according to military and industry sources with knowledge of the plan. The plane would also pack a lot of firepower, carrying more than two dozen air-to-air missiles, the most of any U.S. Air Force aircraft.
Boeing officials declined to explicitly confirm their efforts to sell the F-15X, except perhaps obliquely:
We see the marketplace expanding internationally and its creating opportunities then to go back and talk to the U.S. Air Force about what might be future upgrades or even potentially future acquisitions of the F-15 aircraft, Gene Cunningham, vice president of global sales of Defense, Space & Security, said Friday at the Royal International Air Tattoo in England.
The Air Force has not purchased new F-15s since placing a 2001 order for five F-15E Strike Eagles, a two-seat version that can bomb ground targets and shoot down other aircraft. The original F-15 first flew in 1972, and many of the Air Forces current air-to-air Eagles entered service in the 1980s. Many of them are older than the pilots who fly them.
Unlike its successful Super Hornet pitch to the Trump administration last year, the F-15 pitch has not made its way to White House, according to sources with knowledge of the project. When Trump visited a Boeing commercial factory in South Carolina in February 2017, reporters traveling with the President spotted then-Chief of Staff Reince Priebus with a Boeing white paper that compared an advanced version of the Super Hornet to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter made by rival Lockheed Martin.
Air Force leaders say they are currently evaluating their mix of aircraft.
We have a new National Defense Strategy and the Air Force is working through the process of determining what Air Force is needed to meet that new National Defense Strategy and how do you represent that to the world, Gen. James Mike Holmes, the head of Air Combat Command, said June 28 at a Defense Writers Group breakfast in Washington.
Among the options being considered are new versions of F-15s and F-16s, according to one Air Force observer.
American allies Israel, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and South Korea fly tailored versions of the F-15. The newest member of the Eagle club is Qatar, which ordered 36 aircraft last year and has an option for 36 more. Boeing is also pitching the F-15 to Germany, which wants to replace its Tornado jets.
Boeings Cunningham, said the firm is also offering upgrades to existing F-15s with technology used in the newer ally aircraft.
The F-15 is considered a fourth-generation plane, one that does not have a stealth design, which helps it evade enemy missiles. For more than a decade, Air Force leaders have long pressed for buying only stealthy fighter and bomber aircraft. Buying new F-15s would reverse that.
This is the most traction Ive ever seen legacy four [generation aircraft] get in the Air Force, the Air Force observer said.
The F-15 was supposed to be replaced the by the stealthy F-22 Raptor considered the top air-to-air combat fighter. Despite objections from top Air Force generals, then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates ordered an end to F-22 production in 2009. The final jet came off of Lockheed Martins Marietta, Georgia, production line in 2012. In all, the Air Force purchased 187 Raptors, far less than the more than 750 originally planned.
At the time, Gates opted to invest in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, a multi-role fighter, which can shoot down planes and attack targets on the ground with its array of advanced sensors, radar and sensors.
Foreign versions of the F-15 have received newer technology not around when the American planes were built. Over the years, U.S. F-15s have received upgrades to their radars and cockpits, but the Air Force recently canceled an effort to add electronic jammers to its older F-15Cs. Some Air Force observers said that indicates the service might retire the plane sooner than planned.
Boeing has long pitched new versions of the Strike Eagle to the Air Force and international customers. In 2010, the firm pitched the Silent Eagle an F-15 with special coating and canted vertical tails that executives said could better evade enemy detection. In 2015, it pitched an upgrade to the F-15C the aerial combat version that would allow it to carry 16 air-to-air missiles.
At times, Boeing has argued that upgraded versions of their planes could come close to matching the advanced stealth, sensors and electronic warfare capabilities of the F-35 at a fraction of the cost.
Now the savings might not be as much as the price tag of the Air Force F-35 has been dropping annually. The Pentagon on Sunday announced it has a handshake agreement with Lockheed Martin for a new batch of 141 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters. The Air Force version of the plane cost about $89 million per copy, according to a Reuters.
An Air Force source noted that buying new F-15s now would not be seen as competing with the F-35 since the the Joint Strike Fighter has never been considered a replacement for the F-15.
F-15SA for Saudi Arabia
A fantastic choice, and still undefeated in Air to Air and that is realistically unlikely to change unless we sell someone an F-22.
Pining for the A10. That’s what’s going on. Not a bad strategy though. Better would be another production run of a few hundred A10 Thunderbolt Warthogs along with all the scary things it delivers. Might I add at the lowest cost per flight hour.
I've heard that the F-22 was a dream fighter. But it was costly. The virtue of the F15 is they are cheap (comparatively) and not quite so versatile as F-22 or F-35 but you can fly swarms of them if need be and if you have the pilots. That would be a huge change in tactics moving forward though. And a move by the USAF that appears to cast a lack of confidence in F-35 could panic the other services and foreign partners that have become invested in F-35. Be interesting to see what the USAF does with this.
I had never heard that we originally planned to build 750 F-22s.
I’m sure the Chinese will end up creating the F-22 knock-off.
Is the plan to use the stealthy aircraft as forward spotters which forward targeting information to the missile trucks?
Ahh, the F15: two monstrous engines strapped to a tube with wings! My favorite.
I don’t know. The F-35 was designed to do everything so whatever they plan to use the F-15 for (if they do) would lessen the role of the F-35. So yea, F-35 could be used for things that are less risky, less direct. Advanced surveillance or acting as a high altitude tactical comms link, that sort of thing. And let the more expendable craft do the dirty work. Perhaps.
0-100+ in air to air combat but the design is 50 years old.
50 years before the F-15, we were flying SPAD’s
Future is a cloud of air to air drones that you don’t have to worry about a pilot.
I was thinking about that just the other day. For some reason I pulled up the Wikipedia page on the C-5 Galaxy. In 1969, we were building an aircraft whose cargo bay was large enough to accommodate the entire first flight of the Wright brothers only 66 years before.
That is part of the plan. The other part has to do with swatting away the swarms of drones that China will send on oneway suicide missions. We need something that can see down and find those threats and eliminate them before they get in amongst the sheep.
However, more F-22s would be even better.
Smart. Boeing recognizes that 99.9999% of all engagements are not utilizing stealth, won’t utilize stealth, and that stealth is dead since Boeing, itself, is developing tracking systems that stealth cannot defeat.
“Is the plan to use the stealthy aircraft as forward spotters which forward targeting information to the missile trucks?”
X-47B. No need for manned aircraft to loiter, recon, or drop bombs.
“However, more F-22s would be even better. “
Individually, sure. As a cost prohibitive plan, no.
Quantity is a quality all its own.
Buying 2-4 times as many semi-stealth F-15s is far better than buying F-22s. The same electronics can be put into both.
Does the F-15X have 3D thrust vectoring nozzles?
Is this a plan for new airframes, or new avionics in existing (nearly worn-out) airframes?
Pilot gets shot down? No biggie. Log into the next drone and take off.
In military terms Speed is King. 50 F15’s come in doing Mach 2.5+, quite a few will get through to get the job done.
I can’t say these can do that but it’s a good goal to shoot for. Stealth cost’s way too much.
I’d rather rely on good old jet engines than easily hacked and stolen electronic wizardry. Jet engines are still the weak point with all our rivals. Let’s use it to the max.
Warfare is constantly changing. Every military goes to war ready and equipped to win the last war and, for the most part, unaware how the environment of war has changed. While, as Stalin said, “quantity has its own quality,” we need to be aware that what we are spending huge amounts of treasure on, what may, in the end, be useless.
I think that ISIS’ recent use of drone swarms to kill disproportionate numbers of allied soldiers should be a clarion warning that the ground rules of war may be changing. Even if individual drones cost, say $15,000 each, that is tiny compared with the cost of recruitment, training, equipping, sustaining in the field, and then caring for and pensioning human soldiers. I can see a future where drones of many sizes and types are released on the battlefield where most are too small to easily detect and kill. It used to be when you had “air superiority” your troops and assets behind the “lines” were safe. But air superiority when the attacking drones range in size from a surfboard to a hummingbird is meaningless.
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