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The F-15X Is The Missile-Hauler The Air Force Needs For A Stand-Off Fight
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 be the 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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For U.S. service members who have fought alongside the Kurds, President Donald Trump's decision to approve repositioning U.S. forces in Syria ahead of Turkey's invasion is a naked betrayal of valued allies.
"I am ashamed for the first time in my career," one unnamed special operator told Fox News Jennifer Griffin.
In a Twitter thread that went viral, Griffin wrote the soldier told her the Kurds were continuing to support the United States by guarding tens of thousands of ISIS prisoners even though Turkey had nullified an arrangement under which U.S. and Turkish troops were conducting joint patrols in northeastern Syria to allow the Kurdish People's Protection Units, or YPG, to withdraw.
"The Kurds are sticking by us," the soldier told Griffin. "No other partner I have ever dealt with would stand by us."
Defense Secretary Mark Esper has confirmed that a nightmare scenario has come to pass: Captured ISIS fighters are escaping as a result of Turkey's invasion of Kurdish-held northeast Syria.
Turkey's incursion has led to "the release of many dangerous ISIS detainees," Esper said in a statement on Monday.
Video footage of a purported "bombing of Kurd civilians" by Turkish military forces shown on ABC News appeared to be a nighttime firing of tracer rounds at a Kentucky gun range.
The U.S. military's seemingly never-ending mission supporting civil authorities along the southwestern border will last at least another year.
On Sept. 3, Defense Secretary Mark Esper approved a request from the Department of Homeland Security to provide a total of up to 5,500 troops along the border until Sept. 30, 2020, Lt. Gen. Laura Richardson, commander of U.S. Army North, said on Monday.