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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An Oregon Air National Guard F-15C Eagle that made an emergency landing on Wednesday ditched its entire arsenal of live air-to-air missiles before touching down at Portland International Airport, The War Zone reports.
President Donald Trump announced in December that he would withdraw all U.S. troops from Syria, but Sen. Lindsey Graham has since made a strong push to keep a small residual force along the Turkish border along with troops from European allies.
The former Navy SEAL among a group of eight men arrested earlier this week in Port-au-Prince on weapons charges says he was providing security work "for people who are directly connected to the current President" of Haiti.
"We were being used as pawns in a public fight between him and the current Prime Minister of Haiti," said Chris Osman, 44, in a post on Instagram Friday. "We were not released we were in fact rescued."
It's a photo for the ages: a Marine NCO, a Greek god in his dress blues, catches the eye of a lovely young woman as her boyfriend urges her on in distress. It's the photographic ancestor of the much-loved "distracted boyfriend" stock photo meme, made even sweeter by the fact that this is clearly a sailor about to lose his girl to a Devil Dog.
Well, this photo and the Marine in it, which hopscotched around Marine Corps Facebook and Instagram pages before skyrocketing to the front page of Reddit on Thursday, are very real.
The photo shows then-Staff Sgt. Louis A. Capozzoli — and he is absolutely not on his way to steal your girl.