The U.S. Air Force has been secretly organizing a plan to replace its F-15 C/D fleet with brand spanking new F-15X Eagle air superiority fighters, the Drive reported on Wednesday. This move could take the heat off of the service’s handful of F-22 Raptors or make up for F-35 shortcomings — and cushion the expenses involved in operating and maintaining two 5th-generation fighters.
Originally commissioned in the mid-’70s to take on Soviet hordes over the skies of Europe, the Eagle has become a staple in the warzones of the Middle East and Central Asia. The age of the Air Force’s 200-plus Eagle fighters has been a cause for concern — especially as they age faster than F-35s are getting operational.
The F-35 is a Swiss army knife of an aircraft, laden with stealth features and air-to-ground missions, making it a less capable dogfighter than the F-15 in close quarters. And if the F-35 is used as a stand-off missile-hauler, carrying a full complement of 16 air-to-air missiles on external pylons, it loses the stealth characteristics that make it so valuable (and pricey).
A visual of the F-35s weapons loadout options.Lockheed Martin
The F-15, on the other hand, is arguably the king of 4th-gen air to air fighters. Boeing has continued to refine the internal avionics of the Eagle, exporting upgraded variants to Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar. The proposed F-15X would be able to hold 22 air-to-air missiles, and would slide right into the systems already in place to field and service the F-15 C/D fleet. The F-15X’s weapons loadout would make it a beast in any “Beyond Visual Range” fight, and in the age of China’s anti-access/area denial strategy or A2/D2, BVR will bethe name of the game in the opening phase of any hypothetical conflict in Asia.
The F-15X will feature a new pylon system allowing it to handle heavier weapons loads, upgraded electronic warfare suites, an electronically scanned radar array, and even a sweet new multi-function sensor known as the “Legion Pod.” It will also feature the relatively low, low price of $27,000 per flight hour to fly, compared to the $35,000 it costs to fly the Raptor for an hour.
An F-15E Strike Eagle assigned to the 492nd Fighter Squadron flies over Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England.U.Air Force photo/ Tech. Sgt. Matthew Plew.
In the novel Ghost Fleet, reliance on 5th-gen fighters paints Uncle Sam into a corner when a war kicks off with China and Russia in the Pacific. In this nightmare scenario, the U.S. Air Force pulls retired F-15s out of bone-yards to supplement the skeleton fleet of F-22s and F-35s that survived the surprise attack.
Well, at least that’s one war scenario we can actually preempt now.
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Army and Air Force Exchange Service officials are warning soldiers and military families to be aware of scammers using the Exchange's logo.
In a news release Wednesday, Exchange officials said scammers using the name "Exchange Inc." have "fooled" soldiers and airmen to broker the sale of used cars, trucks, motorcycles, boats and boat engines.
KABUL (Reuters) - The Islamic State (IS) militant group claimed responsibility on Sunday for a suicide blast at a wedding reception in Afghanistan that killed 63 people, underlining the dangers the country faces even if the Taliban agrees a pact with the United States.
The Saturday night attack came as the Taliban and the United States try to negotiate an agreement on the withdrawal of U.S. forces in exchange for a Taliban commitment on security and peace talks with Afghanistan's U.S.-backed government.
Islamic State fighters, who first appeared in Afghanistan in 2014 and have since made inroads in the east and north, are not involved in the talks. They are battling government and U.S.-led international forces and the Taliban.
The group, in a statement on the messaging website Telegram, claimed responsibility for the attack at a west Kabul wedding hall in a minority Shi'ite neighborhood, saying its bomber had been able to infiltrate the reception and detonate his explosives in the crowd of "infidels".
Calling aviation geeks in New York City: The British are coming.
In their first visit to the United States since 2008, the Royal Air Force "Red Arrows" will perform an aerial demonstration next week over the Hudson River, according to an Air Force news release. F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, the Air Force Thunderbirds and Navy Blue Angels demonstration teams will also be part of the show.