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Ozair
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Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

Wed Mar 13, 2019 9:02 pm

par13del wrote:
So the F-22 was supposed to replace and enhance the F-15, we know what happened there, the F-35 is replacing the F-16 and who knows what else. Since the demise of the F-22 what is supposed to replace that? The F-15 was forced to soldier on after the F-22 could not be purchased in sufficient numbers and is now out of production. The F-15 needs a replacement and the F-22 is not it, so the F-35 will be the only fighter going forward?

The PCA is the aircraft intended to take over the primary air superiority role in contested airspace going forward and that has a tentative date of 2030, although I expect it to be later than that. As I said earlier in the thread I expect the USAF will retire the F-22 early. The fleet is difficult to maintain, expensive to upgrade and has a very high per hour cost so could depart USAF service before the F-16 and A-10.
 
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bikerthai
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Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

Thu Mar 14, 2019 3:44 am

Ozair wrote:
I’m not expecting it will get up, given the F-15EX request is not coming from the USAF but from the Defense Secretary’s office and neither Trump nor Shanahan are likely to be supported by the democratic controlled congress.


But don't forget that Washington State has a strong Democratic delegation with two ranking Senators who are Boeing Supporter. I would not put it pass them just yet.

bt
Intelligent seeks knowledge. Enlightened seeks wisdom.
 
Ozair
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Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

Thu Mar 14, 2019 5:25 am

bikerthai wrote:
Ozair wrote:
I’m not expecting it will get up, given the F-15EX request is not coming from the USAF but from the Defense Secretary’s office and neither Trump nor Shanahan are likely to be supported by the democratic controlled congress.


But don't forget that Washington State has a strong Democratic delegation with two ranking Senators who are Boeing Supporter. I would not put it pass them just yet.

bt

If we were talking about the KC-46 I might agree with you but the F-15 production line is in St Louis. The House Armed Services Committee only has one representative from Missouri, Sam Graves (R), who has wide support and shouldn’t need to buy votes with a small F-15EX order. Adam Smith, the Committee Chair, is from Washington State but has been exceptionally vocal against Trump and his defence policies. I expect it will not be smooth sailing…
 
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bikerthai
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Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

Thu Mar 14, 2019 1:24 pm

Adam Smith is congressional member of Washington 9th district. His district contains many Boeing BDS Facilities including the Kent and Tukwila facilities that support BDS projects including the P-8A and Tanker along with the massive 737 facility. And while the F-15X is not under his district, the "One Boeing" lobbying effort would sure to have it's effects :listen:

bt
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texl1649
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Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

Thu Mar 14, 2019 5:04 pm

I do think it’s less politics and more pragmatism for the USAF. Replacing A2A Eagles with new Eagles makes sense if you’re gonna fly them for 20 years to intercept Tu-95’s. USAF doesn’t have the resources to transition more than they have coming for the F-35, period. This article finally has a cogent/not-irrational take. (Aside: Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell are generally wholly incapable of impacting/lobbying for any DoD budget changes, lol, they are two of the most invisible Senators in the past 50 years.)

Link: https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... ix-456480/

“Part of the expected operating savings will come from easier transitions for pilots and maintenance personnel from the F-15C to the F-15EX.

"If you transition an F-15 to any other airplane it takes about 24 months if it’s an active duty squadron, or 36 months if it's a [National] Guard squadron, for it to be deployable again and be back to the top of its readiness," the source says. "You’ve got to send all those pilots to Luke [AFB] to train them and then the maintainers to Sheppard [AFB], or wherever your conversion schools are going to be."

In addition, as with any aircraft, when the USAF introduces the F-35A to its squadrons it has to re-equip those units with support equipment and an inventory of spare parts. The F-15 was introduced in 1976 and the USAF has already built a support structure around it.

"About 70% of the existing spare inventory already works on the [F-15EX]," says the source. “From the support equipment standpoint – so we are talking power carts [and] ladders – more than 90% of those [the USAF] already has."

Lastly, the F-15EX is seen as a reliable launch pad for new, larger weapons, in particular hypersonic missiles that will not fit inside the F-35A's internal weapons bay, the source notes.“
 
Ozair
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Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

Thu Mar 14, 2019 9:11 pm

texl1649 wrote:
I do think it’s less politics and more pragmatism for the USAF. Replacing A2A Eagles with new Eagles makes sense if you’re gonna fly them for 20 years to intercept Tu-95’s. USAF doesn’t have the resources to transition more than they have coming for the F-35, period. This article finally has a cogent/not-irrational take. (Aside: Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell are generally wholly incapable of impacting/lobbying for any DoD budget changes, lol, they are two of the most invisible Senators in the past 50 years.)

Link: https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... ix-456480/

I think we understand the support, base modification issues and conversion timeframe and it is the conclusion we came to that these were the justification for the acquisition. Good to see some percentages on the similarities with the infrastructure.

I don’t think much of the article with the typical rote claims like weapons not fitting in internal bays and higher operating costs but one cannot expect a reporter, even from Flight Global, to accurately report factual data today.

I still question the long term investment in the platform against the F-35. The long term operating costs of the f-35 are such that it will be cheaper and more effective to operate it over F-15EXs going forward. I also question what the USAF will do 15-20 years from now given they will have to transition off the F-15 at some time in the future anyway.

If this gets through the question moves to where will the aircraft go? Will they transition them to the F-15C fleet in the active force (I think only Kadena, 44th and 67th SQNs and Lakenheath unit, 493rd SQN which is being replaced by F-35s in 2020 anyway) or will they replace ANG squadrons. Either way the aircraft is being fielded to air superiority mission units and we can expect that they will continue that role for a long time to come with likely little to no training on A2G.
 
Ozair
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Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

Sun Mar 17, 2019 9:42 pm

Some wishful thinking from Marcus Weisgerber on the replacement numbers for the F-15EX. I haven't seen a single suggestion from either the USAF or the Pentagon about the F-15EX replacing existing F-15E aircraft. There are so many upgrades coming to those that replacing them would be an incredibly silly cost budget acquisition decision. Perhaps the EX could replace the E and move the Es to replace the C/D fleet but I also think this is unlikely.

Lockheed Martin is Waging War on Boeing’s F-15EX

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter has reportedly been racking up kills against older warplanes during U.S. military drills in Nevada — even the F-15, whose record in real combat is a flawless 104 to zero. Now the two jets are heading into a fierce dogfight, one that doesn’t involve missiles or guns.

The battle between Lockheed Martin’s F-35 and Boeing’s F-15EX is being fought by lobbyists in and around Congress, which is beginning to review the Pentagon’s fiscal 2020 budget request. Tens of billions of dollars are up for grabs over the coming decade.

This week, Pentagon officials proposed buying new F-15s for the first time since 2001, even though top Air Force officials have said as recently as two weeks ago that they didn’t necessarily want the the planes. For nearly two decades, Air Force officials have argued against buying so-called fourth-generation planes, preferring for stealthier fifth-generation planes with newer technology.

The proposed F-15 purchase is rather small: eight jets in 2020 and a total of 80 through 2024. By comparison, the Pentagon wants to buy 78 F-35s in 2020, with 48 going to the Air Force.

But Pentagon budget documents also signal that the Air Force could buy hundreds of F-15s over the next decade. A tranche of 144 planes would “initially refresh” squadrons that fly Cold War-era F-15C Eagles designed for air-to-air combat. And the plane has the “potential to refresh the remainder of the F-15C/D fleet and the F-15E fleet.” In all, that’s more than 400 planes.

That was enough to draw a full-court press from Lockheed. One day after that announcement, company officials began circulating a three-page white paper detailing the “F-35’s decisive edge” over unnamed fourth-generation warplanes. Defense One reviewed the white paper.

Lockheed’s arguments boil down to bang-for-the-buck: The F-35 will cost about the same or less than the F-15 soon (the long-criticized price has in fact been coming down), its operating costs will be less than the F-15’s within six years, and it can fly a more diverse set of missions.

Boeing’s argument: The F-35 was never intended to replace the air-to-air F-15C — but the F-15EX could do so while expanding those squadrons’ capabilities. Pilots would not need to extensive training to fly the jet, which could carry heavy loads of weapons, plus Eagle bases would not need major infrastructure upgrades. And the new F-15EX is multirole, similar to the F-15E Strike Eagle, meaning that it could strike targets in the air, on the ground or at sea.

Boeing has been pitching new F-15s to the Air Force on and off for more than a decade, most recently offering a similar version of the plane it builds for Saudi Arabia and Qatar. The latest effort started to pick up steam last summer.

The idea was embraced within parts of the Air Force, but not by top Air Force leaders. Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson acknowledged on Feb. 28 that the planes were not in the service’s initial budget plans.

But analysis by the Joint Staff and Pentagon Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation Office “on the kinds of capabilities that we require in the aviation realm” led officials to recommend buying the F-15EX, a senior defense official said.

Elaine McCusker, the Pentagon deputy comptroller, said Tuesday that former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis made the decision to include the F-15EX in the Defense Department’s budget request.

“The F-35 remains a critical program for the joint force as we look to the future and the kinds of capabilities we require,” Lt. Gen. Anthony Ierardi, director of force structure, resources and assessment on the Joint Staff, said Tuesday. “The F-15EX provides additional capacity and readiness, especially in the near years to mid years, as we look at the threats and the kinds of combat potential that we needed to bring to bear.”

Whether Congress agrees with that rationale is yet to be seen. In February, five Republican senators — all with ties to Lockheed F-35 manufacturing work or F-35 bases — sent a letter to President Trump in opposition of the F-15EX.

“We are extremely concerned that, over the last few years, the DoD has underfunded the F-35 Program and relied on Congress to fund increases in production, sustainment, and modernization,” they group led by Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, wrote. “In order to meet the overmatch and lethality goals laid out in the National Security Strategy, the DoD needs to make these investments in the F-35 to affordably deliver and operate this fifth-generation fighter fleet. The F-35 is the most affordable, lethal, and survivable air dominance fighter, and now is the time to double down on the program.”

The 2020 budget request includes $11.2 billion to buy 78 F-35s — 48, which would be Air Force jets. That money would also go toward improving jets already built. Lawmakers have routinely added F-35s to the Pentagon’s request. For instance, last year they added 16 planes to the 77 requested by the Defense Department.

The 2020 budget request includes $1.1 billion for the eight F-15EX jets. Some of that money would go toward standing up the production line.

About a month after Bloomberg first reported in December that eight F-15EX jets would be in the budget request, Marillyn Hewson, Lockheed’s CEO, said Pentagon leaders told her that F-15 buys would not be at the expense of the F-35.

“The combat proven F-35 is the National Defense Strategy in action and the program continues to see strong support throughout the Pentagon, the U.S. Services, Congress and the White House,” the company said in an emailed statement.

Pentagon officials have been insisted that any F-15EX buys would not eat into planned F-35 buys. In all, the Pentagon plans to buy a total 2,443 jets over the coming decades.

“If Congress changes that to all F-35s, they’ll be all F-35s, we understand that,” Maj. Gen. David Krumm, director of strategic plans in the office of the deputy chief of staff for strategic plans and requirements at the Pentagon, said Thursday at the Mitchell Institute. “But based upon the resources we have and the ownership costs of the platforms, we think that this is the best way that we can present the nation’s Air Force and the best way we can get to a capabilities and capacities that we have.

“If we have more resources, I think we need to have a conversation about what it is we go for,” he said. “But based upon the resources that we have, we think that this is the right way to go.”

https://www.defenseone.com/business/201 ... ex/155598/
 
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bikerthai
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Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

Mon Mar 18, 2019 12:08 pm

Ozair wrote:
F-15E aircraft. There are so many upgrades coming to those that replacing them would be an incredibly silly cost budget acquisition decision


I've also seen the USN change their mind on a mod and decide to go another direction even after money is spent. (Albeit, the spent cost was relatively small).

Ozair wrote:
“on the kinds of capabilities that we require in the aviation realm” led officials to recommend buying the F-15EX, a senior defense official


Cryptiic words to say the least.

bt
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bikerthai
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Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

Mon Mar 18, 2019 1:21 pm

There is one benefit on the F-15X buy vs. F-15C/D upgrade that can not be priced.

If you are to upgrade the F-15C/D, you'll have to take the frames out of rotation. The more complex the upgrade, the longer they will not be available for operation.

Buying the F-15X would basically allow you maintain, or have a temporary surge in, available frames until you replacement cycle is complete. In the mean time, as you pull the C/D models of the line, you will have more spare parts to keep them flying (not sure if that is an issue right now). This would lead me to believe that this is what all the pro 15X generals may be thinking to address the a short term capacity gap.

As for being cryptic, the above article along with the news of Lockheed just got a contract for the next stage of hypersonic weapon development make me think if there is more this this than the idea of A-sat. Any idea what parameters are required to deploy the weapon? Do they believe that the higher thrust of the F-15 would give them a better shot of launching one of these? Maybe, they need the F-15's until they can get the weapon small enough to fit inside the bay of a -35?

Question for those in the know. . .

Does the -35 have enough thrust to perform the A-Sat or hypersonic missile mission whether the missiles being in the bay or hanging off the wing?

bt
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LightningZ71
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Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

Mon Mar 18, 2019 4:24 pm

Or, more specifically, can the F-35 cleanly separate a large missile from its weapons bay at supersonic speeds? The F-35 does fine going supersonic while clean, but, start making it dirty with under-wing stores and it starts to shed the advantages it has over older frames with respect to speed at cruise, max speed, and range. The muscle of the F-15X in that regard is one notable advantage in this situation. This still doesn't discount the myriad other advantages that the F-35 has over 4th generation aircraft.
 
texl1649
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Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

Mon Mar 18, 2019 4:40 pm

The 35 has plenty of thrust, but nothing to date has rivaled the Eagle’s ability to hit 50K feet in time. Anything being designed today isn’t being created with the idea of being ‘shrunken’ to a F-35 bay in the future. Is Boeing attempting to market the 15X series to any future potential customers though, or is this really “the last hurrah?” Would the Japanese or Taiwan have interest in these over the next 10 years as a supplementary option?
 
Ozair
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Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

Mon Mar 18, 2019 9:44 pm

bikerthai wrote:
Ozair wrote:
F-15E aircraft. There are so many upgrades coming to those that replacing them would be an incredibly silly cost budget acquisition decision


I've also seen the USN change their mind on a mod and decide to go another direction even after money is spent. (Albeit, the spent cost was relatively small).

Not quite the same circumstances. The entire F-15E fleet is funded for the EPAWSS upgrade while this funding was removed from the C/D fleet, they are all receiving the APG-82 upgrade, the ADCPII computer upgrade and numerous software upgrades. It is a significant investment and I expect the F-15E to be the tactical workhorse for hypersonic missile employment in the future.

Ozair wrote:
“on the kinds of capabilities that we require in the aviation realm” led officials to recommend buying the F-15EX, a senior defense official


bikerthai wrote:
Cryptic words to say the least.

bt

Cryptic but also not very informative. The same senior defence official made some factual errors in the same article so I question the specific reference.

bikerthai wrote:
There is one benefit on the F-15X buy vs. F-15C/D upgrade that can not be priced.

If you are to upgrade the F-15C/D, you'll have to take the frames out of rotation. The more complex the upgrade, the longer they will not be available for operation.

Buying the F-15X would basically allow you maintain, or have a temporary surge in, available frames until you replacement cycle is complete. In the mean time, as you pull the C/D models of the line, you will have more spare parts to keep them flying (not sure if that is an issue right now). This would lead me to believe that this is what all the pro 15X generals may be thinking to address the a short term capacity gap.

I don’t think that is a valid concern. There are sufficient F-15C aircraft sitting in the boneyard, approx. 98 airframes, that they could run some into the units while the current fleet were upgraded.

bikerthai wrote:
As for being cryptic, the above article along with the news of Lockheed just got a contract for the next stage of hypersonic weapon development make me think if there is more this this than the idea of A-sat. Any idea what parameters are required to deploy the weapon? Do they believe that the higher thrust of the F-15 would give them a better shot of launching one of these?

Question for those in the know. . .

Does the -35 have enough thrust to perform the A-Sat or hypersonic missile mission whether the missiles being in the bay or hanging off the wing?

bt

The F-35 is certainly capable of the same profile the F-15 required to launch the ASM-135. I posted the profile earlier in the thread,
By September 1985, all was finally ready for a test against an orbiting satellite. On Sept. 13, Maj. Wilbert D. "Doug" Pearson, the director of the F-15 ASAT CTF, took off on a crucial mission that required him to fly an extraordinarily exacting profile in order to arrive at a precise firing location at exactly the right time. Flying at Mach 1.22 some 200 miles west of Vandenberg Air Force Base, he executed a 3.8g pull-up to a climb angle of 65 degrees. The missile automatically launched itself at 38,100 ft.

It should have no problem flying that profile with the missile/s on external pylons.

Any profile for launching hypersonics is not going to require a significant supersonic dash, the expectation is these weapons will also be launched by the very non supersonic B-52. Additionally given the speeds these weapons fly a little extra push at the start is inconsequential.

bikerthai wrote:
Maybe, they need the F-15's until they can get the weapon small enough to fit inside the bay of a -35?

I don’t understand this fascination that everyone has with the internal bays? Whether a hypersonic is small enough to fit in the bay is inconsequential. The aircraft has two 5,000lb rated weapons stations on the wings and would be able to launch the missiles that way. Sure it increases the RCS of the jet but that would still likely be, even with two big hypersonics under the wings, an order of magnitude less than the F-15. The different is that the next mission after launching a hypersonic missile the F-35 can become a stealth asset again capable of penetrating a complex and advanced IADS while the F-15EX will remain a large RCS 4th gen fighter confined to the rear of the battlefield in that same environment.

LightningZ71 wrote:
Or, more specifically, can the F-35 cleanly separate a large missile from its weapons bay at supersonic speeds?

The F-35 has demonstrated launching AIM-120s at supersonic speeds. Program requirements call for the use of these weapons across the entire flight envelope of the aircraft, so all the way up to M1.6. I see no reason this would be restricted to just the AIM-120 given the A2G nature of the internal bay weapon points. I haven’t seen a news release about a supersonic JDAM or SDB drop from the internal weapons bays for the F-35 but I don’t see a reason it couldn’t be done. The F-22 is tested and is cleared to drop both the JDAM and SDB supersonically so I fully expect the F-35 is capable of that as well.

LightningZ71 wrote:
The F-35 does fine going supersonic while clean, but, start making it dirty with under-wing stores and it starts to shed the advantages it has over older frames with respect to speed at cruise, max speed, and range. The muscle of the F-15X in that regard is one notable advantage in this situation.

Not quite. The profiles I previously linked to on the F-15E with GBU-31s shows the two aircraft would be very evenly matched with full loads, noting that the F-35 is capable of carrying six GBU-31s against the F-15E’s five.

texl1649 wrote:
The 35 has plenty of thrust, but nothing to date has rivaled the Eagle’s ability to hit 50K feet in time. Anything being designed today isn’t being created with the idea of being ‘shrunken’ to a F-35 bay in the future.

Why do they need to hit 50k feet though? What current or planned missile would require that launch envelope? As for stuff being designed today being able to fit the F-35 internal bay I disagree, AARGM-ER is a perfect example of a weapon that was sized to fit the bay with the original AGM-88 not capable of that due to span of the fins.

texl1649 wrote:
Is Boeing attempting to market the 15X series to any future potential customers though, or is this really “the last hurrah?” Would the Japanese or Taiwan have interest in these over the next 10 years as a supplementary option?

Boeing will keep selling as long as there are customers available. I expect though that once the Middle East, the only area now taking new F-15s, is offered the F-35 then F-15 sales will dry up.
 
Ozair
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Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

Tue Mar 19, 2019 12:45 am

It is a bit hard to separate the facts from the sensationalism here and I have no doubt that the presence of Shanahan didn’t impact the three big defence contracts Boeing won in the last 18 months. The link to the F-15EX is more concerning though given the USAF has been very clear they didn’t ask for the jet and the acquisition was requested by the OSD, in which Shanahan now sits and obviously worked daily with in the lead up to Mattis’s departure.

Amid 737 Woes, Complaint Filed Against Shanahan for Allegedly Promoting Boeing

A government ethics organization has filed a formal complaint asking the Defense Department Inspector General's Office to investigate Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan's ties to his former employer, Boeing Co. The group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), claims Shanahan violated ethics rules by promoting the company's interests at the Pentagon.

The complaint comes the same day President Donald Trump announced that the U.S. will ground all Boeing 737 MAX-8 jets effective immediately after two crashes involving foreign airlines in less than six months killed nearly 350 people.

"We're gonna be issuing an emergency order of prohibition to ground all flights of the 737 MAX-8 and the 737 MAX-9 and planes associated with that line," Trump told reporters at the White House.

"Shanahan worked at Boeing for more than 30 years, where he directly oversaw military contract programs including Boeing Missile Defense Systems and Boeing Rotorcraft Systems, as well as commercial production including the 737 MAX-8 and 787 Dreamliner," CREW said.

On Tuesday, reporters asked Shanahan about his 737 MAX-8 ties and whether he could vouch for the plane's safety.

"Let's let the FAA and others take command of the situation," he said.

CREW said it doesn't matter whether Shanahan, who worked for Boeing for more than 30 years, had direct involvement with the defense programs.

"We don't know whether Shanahan had direct involvement in decisions affecting Boeing, but even the appearance of bias raises serious concerns and potential ethics violations," said CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder in a release.

"Boeing has been particularly successful in winning government contracts, including multiple multibillion-dollar contracts for major aircraft programs," the release said.

It is rumored that Trump plans to nominate Shanahan for the permanent defense secretary position in coming weeks.

"Secretary Shanahan has at all times remained committed to complying with his Ethics Agreement, which screens Boeing matters to another DoD official and ensures no potential for a conflict of interest with Boeing on any matter," Army Lt. Col. Joe Buccino, Shanahan's spokesman, said in a statement to Military.com. "Secretary Shanahan remains focused on increasing lethality across the military and aligning the Department along the National Defense Strategy."

After Shanahan was named interim secretary following former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis' departure, the Pentagon announced that he would not be involved in future dealings with Boeing, including acquisition decisions.

In January, Shanahan downplayed reports that he had shown favoritism toward Boeing.

"I think that's just noise," he told reporters during his first off-camera briefing at the Pentagon.

Earlier that month, Politico reported that Shanahan had been promoting the company in meetings while heavily criticizing the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, manufactured by Boeing's direct competitor Lockheed Martin Corp.

Shanahan reportedly called the F-35 "f---ed up" and said Lockheed, unlike Boeing, "doesn't know how to run a program," according to Politico.

Responding to the report, Shanahan didn't dispute he had been critical of the F-35 program, which is set to cost a trillion dollars over its lifetime.

"I am biased toward performance; I am biased toward giving the taxpayer their money's worth," he said. "And the F-35 unequivocally, I can say, has a lot of opportunity for more performance."

As deputy defense secretary, Shanahan joined other top leaders to promote the F-15X fourth-generation fighter proposal, Bloomberg said in December.

Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson confirmed to reporters last month that, while the service needs to boost its fighter inventory, it had not expected to do so with a Boeing-made F-15X variant, apparently confirming speculation that the decision was forced upon it.

Boeing won a variety of contracts in 2018, including the Air Force's T-X trainer, which will replace the current T-38 Talon fleet.

The T-X announcement in September marked the third major contract that year for Boeing, the U.S.' largest aerospace firm.

The Air Force that month also selected the company to build the replacement for its UH-1N Huey helicopter, at a cost of approximately $2.38 billion. In August, the Navy selected it to build its first operational carrier-based MQ-25 tanker drone.

However, those contract negotiations -- some years in the making -- had already been well underway before Shanahan took his new post.

https://www.military.com/daily-news/201 ... oeing.html
 
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bikerthai
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Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

Tue Mar 19, 2019 1:25 pm

Ozair wrote:
It is a bit hard to separate the facts from the sensationalism here


Sensationalism is par for this administration. You'll have to take the "Facts" for what's it's worth.

This is not quite hard data, but it does give us a sense on some of the pros and cons we were discussing.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles ... rce-s-plan

General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Senate Armed Services Committee last week that Pentagon officials decided to buy the F-15X partly because it’s “slightly less expensive for procurement than the F-35, but it’s more than 50 percent cheaper to operate over time and it has twice as many hours in terms of how long it lasts.”


The question that was not addressed, assuming that they will still need to keep the C/D for a while . . . is the F-15X a better buy in the long run than upgrading the C/D? The big assumption is that they still need the F-15 for certain missions that can not be done with the F-35 (yet).

bt
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estorilm
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Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

Tue Mar 19, 2019 3:24 pm

LightningZ71 wrote:
Or, more specifically, can the F-35 cleanly separate a large missile from its weapons bay at supersonic speeds? The F-35 does fine going supersonic while clean, but, start making it dirty with under-wing stores and it starts to shed the advantages it has over older frames with respect to speed at cruise, max speed, and range. The muscle of the F-15X in that regard is one notable advantage in this situation. This still doesn't discount the myriad other advantages that the F-35 has over 4th generation aircraft.

This is a common misconception lately - the F-15 has "muscle" but is similarly limited in speed with external stores (ie. ANY stores) in place. So the speeds you see for an Eagle are basically a useless aircraft, while a clean F-35 still maintains a significant payload. When you start to put things on the wings of both aircraft, they both suffer pretty quick - obviously being an exponential increase in drag, for the F-15 to match the F-35 in A2A weapons to start with, it would already be at a larger disadvantage when you add something additional.

I don't know what you consider "large" - but being able to impart superior kinematics on a missile is a key part of any fighter design, so I'm sure (being that all AMRAAMS are in that bay obviously) they can be launched supersonic if it's capable of carrying it.


Anyways - I really can't believe this news regarding the F-15X. Basically 35% of the USAF's fighter procurement for the next few years is for a plane they don't want?! 35%+ of planes coming on-line for the USAF in 2020+ will be for a 4th gen plane that costs the same as their 5th gen plane? An entire "fleet" of 80 planes? $8bn? :bomb: :hissyfit:
 
LightningZ71
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Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

Tue Mar 19, 2019 5:12 pm

Do we have any solid figures on the ASAT missile that the DOD is planning to deploy on the F-15EX/F-35? The ASM-135 was 18 feet long, which is a bit long to fit in the F-35's internal bay.Lopping 1/3 the length off of that missile (to roughly the NSM/JSM length of 12 feet, which seems to be the longest planned weapon for the bay) would seem to be limiting with respect to carried propellant to get to orbital altitudes from a flight altitude launch position.

As for kinematic performance, it appears that, for the ASAT testing with the F-15A, it was more than capable of flying the needed flight profile with the first generation engines, while carrying two external tanks and an 18 foot long, 2000+ lb ASAT in the center station. With the CFTs and updated engines, there is no reason that the F-15EX could not perform the ASAT mission with 2 ASAT missiles, filled CFTs, and a centerline fuel tank as the Center station is wet. Granted, the liklihood that any single fighter would ever be tasked with two intercepts in the same flight for ASAT duty is vanishingly slim.

Also, for ASAT duty, I don't see where it would be expected that the F-35 would have to operate in full-stealth configuration. Intercepts will likely happen far removed from front line contact, so carrying the missile externally would likely be SOP. That likely means that missile length will be less of a consideration, though again, separation issues may be present that have to be accounted for. That's not a major problem as, in a worse case scenario, it may just require a special pylon. The worry that I have is, will the F-35 have enough internal fuel to fly that mission profile? Can it reach that altitude with that load at the desired speed and also safely separate the payload? It doesn't seem like it would be an insurmountable task, though, it may take some creativity.

Has there been any work on making the weapons bays wet for extra internal fuel storage for special missions and ferry flights?
 
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Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

Tue Mar 19, 2019 8:30 pm

bikerthai wrote:
This is not quite hard data, but it does give us a sense on some of the pros and cons we were discussing.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles ... rce-s-plan

General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Senate Armed Services Committee last week that Pentagon officials decided to buy the F-15X partly because it’s “slightly less expensive for procurement than the F-35, but it’s more than 50 percent cheaper to operate over time and it has twice as many hours in terms of how long it lasts.”


I take issue with those cost claims. If we go on the 27k per flight hour figure Boeing released for the F-15EX it may cost a little less to fly today than an F-35 but the USAF/JPO and LM have a clear goal of 24K per flight hour for the F-35 by 2025. Given the F-15EX won’t hit the USAF for 3 to 3.5 years (my understanding is they will take two Qatar aircraft in the current cue to conduct testing but the rest of the aircraft won’t come off the production line until later in 2022) then the operating cost will be either the same or for the F-35 less than 27k. The global fleet of flying F-35s will be twice that of the F-15 by that time as well, making long term sustainment much easier and cheaper.

The F-15EX also won’t be cheaper to acquire by the time it rolls of the production line compared to an F-35. Again as already stated earlier the total weapon system cost will almost certainly be higher than a FRP F-35.

As already stated numerous times the total flight hours of either jet is a useless metric to compare. The F-15EX will be unlikely to fly a half of its total flight hours before being retired while the F-35 is similar.

You can see then why I find those claims suspect. If those numbers include the cost of conversion of units over to the F-35 from the F-15C/D then we have a different cost base to consider but Dunford does not appear to be alluding to that.

bikerthai wrote:
The question that was not addressed, assuming that they will still need to keep the C/D for a while . . . is the F-15X a better buy in the long run than upgrading the C/D?

The C fleet according the Dunford’s words will struggle to make it past 2028 without some type of refit. That could be as simple as the proposed longeron replacement at US$1 million per aircraft and allow a portion of the C/D fleet to fly into the 2030s. It is likely the better and overall cheaper option but probably means taking a hit on availability.

bikerthai wrote:
The big assumption is that they still need the F-15 for certain missions that can not be done with the F-35 (yet).

Again, I don’t see this. If the mission is replacement of the F-15C/D fleet in ANG service then the F-35 does this mission better, cheaper and is more adaptable in the role.
 
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Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

Tue Mar 19, 2019 9:42 pm

Ozair wrote:
It is likely the better and overall cheaper option but probably means taking a hit on availability.


So it seems that this maybe be the "trump" card in the end :shhh: assuming that the availability of the C/D will continue to drop whether they upgrade or not.

bt
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Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

Tue Mar 19, 2019 10:04 pm

LightningZ71 wrote:
Do we have any solid figures on the ASAT missile that the DOD is planning to deploy on the F-15EX/F-35? The ASM-135 was 18 feet long, which is a bit long to fit in the F-35's internal bay.Lopping 1/3 the length off of that missile (to roughly the NSM/JSM length of 12 feet, which seems to be the longest planned weapon for the bay) would seem to be limiting with respect to carried propellant to get to orbital altitudes from a flight altitude launch position.

As for kinematic performance, it appears that, for the ASAT testing with the F-15A, it was more than capable of flying the needed flight profile with the first generation engines, while carrying two external tanks and an 18 foot long, 2000+ lb ASAT in the center station. With the CFTs and updated engines, there is no reason that the F-15EX could not perform the ASAT mission with 2 ASAT missiles, filled CFTs, and a centerline fuel tank as the Center station is wet. Granted, the liklihood that any single fighter would ever be tasked with two intercepts in the same flight for ASAT duty is vanishingly slim.

Also, for ASAT duty, I don't see where it would be expected that the F-35 would have to operate in full-stealth configuration. Intercepts will likely happen far removed from front line contact, so carrying the missile externally would likely be SOP. That likely means that missile length will be less of a consideration, though again, separation issues may be present that have to be accounted for. That's not a major problem as, in a worse case scenario, it may just require a special pylon. The worry that I have is, will the F-35 have enough internal fuel to fly that mission profile? Can it reach that altitude with that load at the desired speed and also safely separate the payload? It doesn't seem like it would be an insurmountable task, though, it may take some creativity.

We need to establish a key fact first, the USAF has no program of record, at least in the public domain that I can see, for an ASAT. While the ASAT claim is a nice fit for the F-15EX fleet as far as we are aware it does not exist in USAF CONOPS. The US Services already have sufficient investment ongoing in missiles likely capable of hitting a satellite in orbit such as the SM-3 below.

Image

Why spend money on a bespoke F-15 fleet to conduct a mission when land and sea based missiles already exist to do it?

If a USAF ASAT program does exist there is little difference in launching that, based on the known profile of the F-15A ASAT tests, from either an F-35 or F-15. In fact why fly an F-15EX in that role when you could simply use an F-15C with a few simple mods. A small squadron of such wouldn’t be expected to fly more than a 100 hours per year on perhaps specially configured jets.

LightningZ71 wrote:
The worry that I have is, will the F-35 have enough internal fuel to fly that mission profile? Can it reach that altitude with that load at the desired speed and also safely separate the payload? It doesn't seem like it would be an insurmountable task, though, it may take some creativity.

The F-35 outranges both the F-15C/D and the E fleet with similar payloads. Fuel is not an issue given the aircraft carriers almost as much as an F-15 while having a single more efficient engine in a significantly less draggy airframe.

LightningZ71 wrote:
Has there been any work on making the weapons bays wet for extra internal fuel storage for special missions and ferry flights?

Not that I am aware of, it simply isn’t needed for almost all operators. It seems like the kind of mod Israel may try and deploy but would likely involve production line aircraft changes. The future for longer range of the F-35 isn’t in additional fuel but in engine upgrades.

Incidentally the RAAF F-35s on transit to Australia conducted the longest flight of any F-35 to date when they flew direct from Hickam AFB to RAAF Amberley. The original intention had been to land somewhere in the middle but in the end went direct. I believe approximately an 11 hour transit.
 
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Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

Tue Mar 19, 2019 10:08 pm

bikerthai wrote:
Ozair wrote:
It is likely the better and overall cheaper option but probably means taking a hit on availability.


So it seems that this maybe be the "trump" card in the end :shhh: assuming that the availability of the C/D will continue to drop whether they upgrade or not.

bt

I personally think reduced availability for a few ANG units is perfectly acceptable. If you have to take an ANG unit off the line for 36 months to convert to the F-35 then the long term benefits are likely better than the short term pains.
 
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Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

Wed Mar 20, 2019 1:08 pm

Ozair wrote:
I personally think reduced availability for a few ANG units is perfectly acceptable.


But isn't that the point? Certain heads in the Pentagon may not believe it is an acceptable risk with the current and near future needs in the force structure. :scratchchin:
I guess it comes down to how much risk aversion they are willing to take.

The other wild card that we have absolutely no clue to which we can discuss is the nature of the President new Space Force plan. Who knows if this F-15X buy as anything to do with that.

bt
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Ozair
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Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

Wed Mar 20, 2019 8:33 pm

bikerthai wrote:
Ozair wrote:
I personally think reduced availability for a few ANG units is perfectly acceptable.


But isn't that the point? Certain heads in the Pentagon may not believe it is an acceptable risk with the current and near future needs in the force structure. :scratchchin:
I guess it comes down to how much risk aversion they are willing to take.

The point is less about availability and more about future force structure. The F-15C/D fleet without upgrade apparently won’t last past that 2027/8 timeframe. We know the upgrade cost, it is about a third to a half what a new aircraft is going to cost to get the C/D fleet out to 2035ish. Clearly many consider that a bad investment as additional unforeseen issues may present themselves. The question is then what is better for the force structure going forward, an investment in a modernized version of the same 50 year old aircraft or the number one platform for broad USAF use for the next 40+ years?

The position of the USAF was clearly to take the F-35 route given they did not ask for a single F-15EX in their budget submission. The position of the OSD was to suggest the F-15EX, and essentially make the USAF put it into the budget submission, which saves some money in the first few years but will potentially cost more in the long run and comes with less overall capability.


bikerthai wrote:
The other wild card that we have absolutely no clue to which we can discuss is the nature of the President new Space Force plan. Who knows if this F-15X buy as anything to do with that.

I really don’t think it is an issue. If it was why haven’t any of the USAF and Pentagon officials made that clear claim? If it was a factor it would ease the pressure and media hysteria around the F-35/F-15EX budget submission and likely smooth the budget process through congress.
 
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Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

Thu Mar 21, 2019 1:36 am

Things got a bit more complicated, fair play is in.

https://www.vox.com/2019/3/20/18274845/boeing-shanahan-trump-ethics
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Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

Thu Mar 21, 2019 6:46 am

Ozair wrote:
Why spend money on a bespoke F-15 fleet to conduct a mission when land and sea based missiles already exist to do it?

The NEZ of the sea launched missiles is actually pretty small. It is a dome shape, so the higher the intercept altitude the closer the ships must be together. For ABM defense the ships can be more widely spaced near the launch area or target area, but at the mid point the US might need the ships 200nm apart to create a net and they would take days to get into position.

An aircraft can be positioned in the exact predicted path creating a massive net. The majority of the fuel of the missile is consumed just to get it up to 50,000ft. The same missile launched from an F-15 would have the range increased by 2-3 times. A single F-15 could probably provide a missile defense net equal to dozens of ships.


Ozair wrote:
If a USAF ASAT program does exist there is little difference in launching that, based on the known profile of the F-15A ASAT tests, from either an F-35 or F-15. In fact why fly an F-15EX in that role when you could simply use an F-15C with a few simple mods. A small squadron of such wouldn’t be expected to fly more than a 100 hours per year on perhaps specially configured jets.

The F-15EX has significantly higher thrust than the F-15C with the same drag profile. That is a big speed boost. The fixed air intakes of the F-35 will limit top speed. They have to be tuned for a speed range and at a certain speed they would provide a hard limit. The F-15's variable intakes will allow it to fly much faster. The F-15EX's thrust to weight ratio is higher than any fighter including the F-22.

Putting bigger engines in the F-15C, digital avionics and radar to handle the role and strengthening the weapon stations would be very costly.

There has been a few programs such as the ALHTK. They all list the F-15 as the launch platform.
 
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Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

Thu Mar 21, 2019 11:02 am

RJMAZ wrote:
Ozair wrote:
Why spend money on a bespoke F-15 fleet to conduct a mission when land and sea based missiles already exist to do it?

The NEZ of the sea launched missiles is actually pretty small. It is a dome shape, so the higher the intercept altitude the closer the ships must be together. For ABM defense the ships can be more widely spaced near the launch area or target area, but at the mid point the US might need the ships 200nm apart to create a net and they would take days to get into position.

That was true of the Blk IA missile. It is not so with the Blk IIA as shown in the below graphic.

Image

Another shows the significant range, and speed, increase the Blk IIA has over the Blk I missile.

Image

Those ships aren’t single role platforms. They only require a few SM-3 within their complement of missiles to make a significant impact while being deployed gloabally. Meanwhile they can continue to conduct their air defence duties. We are talking about ASAT though, a significantly more predictable profile.

RJMAZ wrote:
An aircraft can be positioned in the exact predicted path creating a massive net. The majority of the fuel of the missile is consumed just to get it up to 50,000ft. The same missile launched from an F-15 would have the range increased by 2-3 times. A single F-15 could probably provide a missile defense net equal to dozens of ships.

We can see from the above graphics that the SM-3 Blk IIA has more than sufficient altitude capabilities now, especially in the ASAT role where the course and speed of the satellite is very predictable.

RJMAZ wrote:
The F-15EX has significantly higher thrust than the F-15C with the same drag profile. That is a big speed boost. The fixed air intakes of the F-35 will limit top speed. They have to be tuned for a speed range and at a certain speed they would provide a hard limit. The F-15's variable intakes will allow it to fly much faster. The F-15EX's thrust to weight ratio is higher than any fighter including the F-22.

I’ve already quoted the profile of the ASM-135 twice, the weapon release occurred at 38,100ft. It does not need anything special to accomplish that a standard F-15C could not do, nor for that matter an F-35.

RJMAZ wrote:
Putting bigger engines in the F-15C, digital avionics and radar to handle the role and strengthening the weapon stations would be very costly.

The F-15C doesn’t need bigger engines to fly an ASAT profile and most of the fleet already has a decent radar. One of the upgrade proposals for the F-15C included a new wing which was going to be within that US$40 million total upgrade cost.

RJMAZ wrote:
There has been a few programs such as the ALHTK. They all list the F-15 as the launch platform.

The first graphic which references the altitude capabilities of the ALHTK shows how limited it is compared to the SM-3. You can clearly see why the US is now investing in the SM-3 Blk II capability and not investing in an aircraft launched ASAT (noting the continued talk of F-35 in some type of BMD but frankly I have my doubts it will occur). The SM-3 Blk IIA is impressive and with so many Burke destroyers and future surface combatants able to take the missile, as well as AEGIS ashore stations emerging, it will be prolific.
 
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Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

Thu Mar 21, 2019 1:01 pm

Do we think that the rivalry between the Air Force and the Navy is sufficiently curtailed to keep the Air Force from maintaining their own ASAT? Do we also think that it is not conceivable that the Pentagon want to keep two ASAT platform for redundancy purpose? Or is there another ASAT platform out there that we have not discussed yet? Politically, the new Space Force is supposed to be under the umbrella of the Air Force. I suppose the Navy ASAT operation could be sequestered under the Space Force command . . .

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Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

Thu Mar 21, 2019 1:34 pm

RJMAZ wrote:
The fixed air intakes of the F-35 will limit top speed. They have to be tuned for a speed range and at a certain speed they would provide a hard limit. The F-15's variable intakes will allow it to fly much faster.

Not really - the aircraft was rated for a specific speed range which (in most profiles it flies, ie. clean and internal) give it an equal top speed to most standard F-15 configurations. Even so - it doesn't have much to do with the inlet.

That DSI / diverterless supersonic inlet which Lockheed developed isn't really a conventional "fixed" intake, nor is it "tuned" for a specific speed, it's nearly optimal at any/all speeds up to M2.0 in testing, and saves a ton of weight and complexity. The principals weren't even remotely conceived when the F-15 came out. The J20 has a near-clone of Lockheed's DSI inlet and (take this with a huge grain of salt) they say it's M2.5+ capable.

RJMAZ wrote:
The F-15EX's thrust to weight ratio is higher than any fighter including the F-22.

Yes, and it needs it to push any/all of its weapons through the air. :checkmark:
 
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Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

Thu Mar 21, 2019 8:21 pm

bikerthai wrote:
Do we think that the rivalry between the Air Force and the Navy is sufficiently curtailed to keep the Air Force from maintaining their own ASAT? Do we also think that it is not conceivable that the Pentagon want to keep two ASAT platform for redundancy purpose? Or is there another ASAT platform out there that we have not discussed yet? Politically, the new Space Force is supposed to be under the umbrella of the Air Force. I suppose the Navy ASAT operation could be sequestered under the Space Force command . . .

bt

Let’s be clear, ASAT is a dead end. It is not the reason the USAF has budgeted for F-15EX aircraft. ASAT for the F-15EX has not been mentioned even once by any of the advocates for the F-15EX or those non advocates explaining the position within the Pentagon or on Capital Hill.

As already discussed earlier in the thread ASAT is a dead end from a military strategy perspective. If you are advanced enough to get an ASAT into space you are advanced enough to be using space already and a few ASAT shots traded back and forth translate to long term difficulties accessing space by everyone. Perhaps in the short term that is a smart military strategy to win a conflict with a near peer but the long term consequences aren’t good.
 
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Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

Thu Mar 21, 2019 9:34 pm

DefenseNews has gotten hold of a CSBA study that assesses the best option for the future fighter force amongst the whole USAF fleet and its future needs. The study apparently clearly states that the USAF shouldn’t acquire the F-15EX but should look to increase the annual buy of F-35 and try to accelerate the PCA.

CSBA often have some unconventional ideas and also sometimes leave budgetary concerns as a secondary consideration but the intent of their study certainly matches with what the SUAF has been saying for a number of years on both the future threat and the force structure required to defeat it.

What aircraft does the US Air Force need to beat China and Russia? This new study has an answer.

The fighter force

Should the Air Force buy the F-15X from Boeing?

The study gives an unambiguous answer of “no,” stating that spending its resources on new F-15s could take away precious funding away from the service’s next-generation fighter, which the Air Force needs to expedite and begin buying as soon as possible.

The F-15X, while a capable “fourth-generation-plus aircraft,” will not be able to survive the more contested battlespace of the future, the assessment stated, adding that “the Air Force should consider replacing some retiring F-15C/Ds with modified F-35As as a bridge to its future air superiority family of systems."

The study prioritizes the development of a new sixth-generation fighter, known as Penetrating Counter Air, or PCA, as well as hastening to a procurement rate of 70 F-35As per year.

Not much is known about PCA, a classified program that is in the early stages of development. The study envisions it as a speedy, long-range family of systems capable of moving deep into an enemy’s airspace and taking out air defenses, opening the aperture up for other assets to move closer to the adversary.

To speed up the development of PCA so that the Air Force can buy at least 50 systems by 2030, the service could look to the B-21 program as an example: “Maximizing use of mature technologies and possibly components and mission systems developed for other advanced platforms could reduce the time and cost of fielding a multi-mission PCA,” the study said. “This capability is needed now, and therefore its development should be a top priority.”

CSBA also recommends the gradual retirement of F-16s, as F-35s come online, and the modernization of F-22 Raptors and F-15Es. Six A-10 Warthog squadrons should be retained into the 2030s as planned, but the service should not pursue a single-mission close-air support aircraft to replace it once the A-10 reaches the end of its service life, according to the think tank.

“Since nearly all of its future precision-enabled combat aircraft will be capable of providing close air support to friendly forces, the Air Force should not develop a future replacement for the A-10 that would be limited to operations in permissive environments,” it said.

https://www.defensenews.com/air/2019/03 ... an-answer/

The story at the above link also covers bombers, tankers and drones/ISR platforms.
 
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Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

Thu Mar 21, 2019 9:58 pm

estorilm wrote:
RJMAZ wrote:
The fixed air intakes of the F-35 will limit top speed. They have to be tuned for a speed range and at a certain speed they would provide a hard limit. The F-15's variable intakes will allow it to fly much faster.

Not really -

Yes really. You thought the F-15 weighed 45,000lb empty back on page four. No you are trying to educate me on intakes..

I'm getting tired of people arguing the speed advantage the F-15 has.

RJMAZ wrote:
The F-15EX's thrust to weight ratio is higher than any fighter including the F-22.

Yes, and it needs it to push any/all of its weapons through the air. :checkmark:[/quote]All aircraft will have to carry the same large missile externally. So the F-15EX will have still have the best thrust to weight and top speed.

Air Force major general David Krumm, the service's director of strategic plans and requirements, told Air Force magazine:

"The F-15 design is technically capable of exceeding Mach three, and so could accelerate a hypersonic missile close to its Mach five-plus operating regime," Everstine and Tirpak noted.

"That in turn would permit smaller booster rockets for the rest of the acceleration to Mach five for weapons such as the Tactical Boost Glide hypersonic concept. The F-35, which was not designed to be USAF’s high-end dogfighter, has a top speed of Mach 1.6, and the first generation of hypersonic missiles is unlikely to fit inside its weapons bay."

https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/ ... iles-47937


We have multiple programs that have gone quiet that have not been officially cancelled. Air launched versions of the ground based missiles, hypersonic missiles, mini satelite launch missiles. These could have all gone black and they all used the F-15 as the launch platform.
 
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Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

Fri Mar 22, 2019 11:53 am

This article links possible sale of F-15 C/d aircraft replaced by the new X model, to Taiwan. Positing new build Eagle purchases as a way to sell “defensive” (A2A) used eagles to Taiwan in a compromise vs. new build F-16’s is interesting, though. Ironically, the old C/D’s would still need the new radars, and the serviceability of this fleet is still long term very...challenging.

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/2 ... tely-freak
 
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bikerthai
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Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

Fri Mar 22, 2019 1:04 pm

texl1649 wrote:
This article links possible sale of F-15 C/d aircraft replaced by the new X model, to Taiwan. Positing new build Eagle purchases as a way to sell “defensive” (A2A) used eagles to Taiwan in a compromise vs. new build F-16’s is interesting, though. Ironically, the old C/D’s would still need the new radars, and the serviceability of this fleet is still long term very...challenging.

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/2 ... tely-freak


:boggled: :faint: I'm out . . . It's getting too complicated.

bt
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Ozair
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Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

Sun Mar 24, 2019 10:32 am

Some good assessment of why the F-15X has been chosen. Still doesn;t mean it will pass congress but at least we are now getting some actual answers. The two biggest factors appear to be first, as expected the decay of the F-15C/D fleet, and second, the desire to preserve the industrial base. Valid reasons both.

Industrial base considerations played role in F-15X decision

When it came time for the U.S. Defense Department to make a decision on which fourth-generation fighter to buy for the Air Force, industrial base considerations — and not acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan — helped tip the scale in favor of Boeing’s F-15X, a senior defense official said Friday.

“There were other things on the table” besides the F-15X, said the official, who disclosed that the Pentagon’s Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation office drove the department’s decision to procure new fourth-gen planes to replace the Air Force’s aging F-15C/Ds.

But when CAPE, the Air Force and former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis finally agreed on the broad decision to more fourth-gen fighters, “the conversation then turned to: How are we going to maintain a robust industrial base?” the official said during a briefing with reporters.

“It really then turned into a conversation of, for the future of the Department of Defense, it’s going to be good to have multiple providers in the tactical aircraft portfolio, and that’s what led our way into the F-15X decision.”

This public acknowledgement of the behind-the-scenes discussions that led to the Air Force’s request for eight F-15Xs in its fiscal 2020 budget comes two days after the Defense Department’s inspector general announced it was investigating Shanahan. The IG is looking into allegations that Shanahan showed favoritism toward his former employer, Boeing, where he was employed for 30 years before being named deputy secretary of defense in 2017.

The Bloomberg report that initially broke the news of the F-15X procurement decision cited one unnamed source who stated that Shanahan influenced the process — something Shanahan has repeatedly denied, saying through his spokesman that he had recused himself from all decisions involving Boeing.

However, Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson’s own acknowledgement that the service had not wanted to buy new F-15s continued to raise speculation that Shanahan had played a role.

The defense official speaking to reporters on Friday denied that Shanahan had any knowledge of when Boeing or any of its platforms was being considered during budget deliberations, though Shanahan was aware that discussions were happening broadly about the optimum mix of fifth-generation jets — like the F-35 — and fourth-gen platforms, which can include Boeing’s F-15 as well as Lockheed Martin’s F-16.

“CAPE ran the program budget review” that assessed whether to buy new fourth-gen jets, the official said.

“Working with the standard of conducts office, we put in place a pretty strict regime of keeping anything related to Boeing out of his purview during the program budget review process,” he added. “He was involved in broad capability discussions or broad force shaping discussions, [but] when it came to any specific platform that involved Boeing, those conversations were held strictly away from him.”

So why did CAPE push so strongly for buying additional fourth-generation jets?

The official pointed to two major factors. First was the need for additional capacity.

The average age of the F-15C/D fleet is 35 years, with some aircraft nearing the end of their service lives. FY20 budget documents note “SERIOUS structures risks, wire chafing issues, and obsolete parts” and add that “readiness goals are unachievable due to continuous structural inspections, time-consuming repairs, and on-going modernization efforts.”

CAPE considered accelerating procurement of the F-35, which in FY20 is limited to 48 units. However, its cost analysis — which pegs the cost of each F-15X at about $90 million for the aircraft and spares — found that F-35 operations and maintenance costs outweigh that of fourth-gen planes like the F-15, the official said.

The second argument in favor of buying new fourth-generation planes is that the national defense strategy establishes the need for both stealthy tactical aircraft that can penetrate into a contested zone, as well as planes with large payloads that can launch ordnance from standoff distances, the official said.

Out of the Air Force’s inventory, the F-15 in particular has that as a selling point. Of all the service’s fighters, it can carry the largest payload.

The defense official didn’t go into detail about what alternatives it considered or why it chose the F-15 over the F-16. Instead, he spoke more broadly about the need for industrial diversity in the run-up to the development of a sixth-generation fighter.

“Maintaining a diverse industrial base is in the best interest of the Department of Defense, not just in the [tactical aircraft] portfolio but in basically any other portfolio as well. So the kind of more diversity we can get there, the more competition we have, the better prices we have,” he said.

However, the decision puts pressure on F-35 manufacturer Lockheed Martin to decrease production and sustainment costs.

Last month at the Air Force Association’s air warfare conference, OJ Sanchez, Lockheed’s vice president for sustainment innovation and operations, said the company was on track for reducing the cost of an F-35A conventional mode to $80 million per jet by 2020, as well as to meet a $25,000-cost per flight hour by 2025.

But Wilson said the company is not making progress quick enough.

“We just don’t think that there has been enough attention on the sustainment costs of the aircraft and driving them down,” she said.

https://www.defensenews.com/air/2019/03 ... -decision/
 
Ozair
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Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

Sun Mar 24, 2019 10:43 am

bikerthai wrote:
texl1649 wrote:
This article links possible sale of F-15 C/d aircraft replaced by the new X model, to Taiwan. Positing new build Eagle purchases as a way to sell “defensive” (A2A) used eagles to Taiwan in a compromise vs. new build F-16’s is interesting, though. Ironically, the old C/D’s would still need the new radars, and the serviceability of this fleet is still long term very...challenging.

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/2 ... tely-freak


:boggled: :faint: I'm out . . . It's getting too complicated.

bt

Crazy talk. Based on the article I just posted the Taiwanese would have to be insane to take old F-15C/Ds and expect to get any serious long term capability out of them. Even with a significant SLEP I expect there are too many unknowns to make it a viable option. Taiwan did just make another request for fighter jets but is leaving it up to the US to decide which one. I doubt highly that used F-15C/Ds is a realistic option.

Taiwan requests fighter jets from the US, but with an unusual twist

He was quoted by news outlet Focus Taiwan as saying that “the F-15, F-18, F-16 and even the F-35 are all among our options, as long as the jets help to strengthen our air defense capabilities.”

https://www.defensenews.com/air/2019/03 ... ual-twist/

New F-15Xs may be difficult to push through Congress but would make more sense as would new build F-16s. The ultimate would be F-35Bs but I highly doubt the US will export any of these to Taiwan. Perhaps the last off the line 20 years from now...

Given Trump's current stance against China it will be interested to see where this goes.
 
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bikerthai
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Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

Sun Mar 24, 2019 1:32 pm

Ozair wrote:
Crazy talk. Based on the article I just posted the Taiwanese would have to be insane to take old F-15C/Ds and expect to get any serious long term capability out of them.


That is why the talk is about leasing, not buying. The other caviat is how the one seater C/D can avoid running up against the 1979 law. Offering the -15X to Tawain may just be a barganing chip that is used to make the -16 sale more palatable. Or the possibility of -35 makes the 15-X more palatable.

The other interesting tidbit is the potential for AV-8B to Taiwan.
The Taiwan thing may be interesting enough to get it's own thread when the time comes.



bt
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SuperiorPilotMe
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Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

Sun Mar 24, 2019 11:54 pm

texl1649 wrote:
Replacing A2A Eagles with new Eagles makes sense if you’re gonna fly them for 20 years to intercept Tu-95’s. USAF doesn’t have the resources to transition more than they have coming for the F-35, period.



Ok.

So explain to me why low-time Falcons can’t do that. I hear we have lots of those without having to resort to a new build order.
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texl1649
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Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

Mon Mar 25, 2019 12:13 am

SuperiorPilotMe wrote:
texl1649 wrote:
Replacing A2A Eagles with new Eagles makes sense if you’re gonna fly them for 20 years to intercept Tu-95’s. USAF doesn’t have the resources to transition more than they have coming for the F-35, period.



Ok.

So explain to me why low-time Falcons can’t do that. I hear we have lots of those without having to resort to a new build order.


Because none of those ANG units fly F-16’s. Converting would defeat the whole purpose of commonality/spares/training/transition costs, and provides no ASAT capabilities.
 
Ozair
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Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

Mon Mar 25, 2019 1:06 am

texl1649 wrote:
SuperiorPilotMe wrote:
texl1649 wrote:
Replacing A2A Eagles with new Eagles makes sense if you’re gonna fly them for 20 years to intercept Tu-95’s. USAF doesn’t have the resources to transition more than they have coming for the F-35, period.



Ok.

So explain to me why low-time Falcons can’t do that. I hear we have lots of those without having to resort to a new build order.


Because none of those ANG units fly F-16’s. Converting would defeat the whole purpose of commonality/spares/training/transition costs, and provides no ASAT capabilities.

You could easily argue the pool of prospective aircrew for the ANG squadrons is bigger if the F-16 was considered as a replacement, given the far higher number of current and ex-serving F-16 aircrew. Yes keeping with the F-15 lowers the commonality/spares/training/transition cost but I expect the USAF has a sufficient amount of F-16 material available that could be rerolled to ANG units, especially as F-35s come online replacing F-16 squadrons. It would lower availability of the ANG fleet but likely not as much compared to acquiring F-35s to replace the C/D fleet.

The primary reason remains industrial capacity. LM already has the F-35 line while the F-16 line, while not secure, has sufficient orders for at least a few years. This order seems to be around preserving Boeing’s industrial capacity for building a heavy fighter.

Again, there is no current USAF ASAT program. That is not a consideration for acquiring the F-15EX for the ANG.
 
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bikerthai
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Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

Mon Mar 25, 2019 1:18 pm

Ozair wrote:
This order seems to be around preserving Boeing’s industrial capacity for building a heavy fighter.


Agreed. While it may not be the only reason, it seems to be the one that may get it by congress.

bt
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bikerthai
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Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

Mon Mar 25, 2019 1:23 pm

Ozair wrote:
You could easily argue the pool of prospective aircrew for the ANG squadrons is bigger if the F-16 was considered as a replacement, given the far higher number of current and ex-serving F-16 aircrew.


My question would be would you use the F-16 ANG to patrol the Alaskan Frontier? As I recall a few years back, when there as an airspace incident with Vice President Gore in Seattle, they sent F-15's from Portland. Do those plane head up to patrol in Alaska as well?

bt
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Ozair
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Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

Mon Mar 25, 2019 9:00 pm

bikerthai wrote:
My question would be would you use the F-16 ANG to patrol the Alaskan Frontier? As I recall a few years back, when there as an airspace incident with Vice President Gore in Seattle, they sent F-15's from Portland. Do those plane head up to patrol in Alaska as well?

bt

F-16s fly from Eielson AFB, in an aggressor role, with additionally two squadrons of F-35s scheduled to start arriving in 2020. The F-16s have flown from there since 1991 and Eielson is a more remote region of Alaska than Elmendorf. There are no F-15s based in Alaska today, the airspace patrol duties are carried out by Active Duty 90th FS F-22s based at Elmendorf but I expect that F-35s will take some of that role going forward.

Clearly conditions at Eielson can be challenging but the F-16s still fly!

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Ozair
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Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

Wed Mar 27, 2019 2:51 am

Some reasonably sound arguments from Dave Deptula although it doesn’t cover the cost of swapping the F-15C/D fleet for F-35s.

This comment from the article is pretty damming though,
In their briefing to the media, last Friday OSD emphasized that there is no intention of sending F-15EXs into high-threat environments at all. They would only be used for standoff roles or in places where there is no issue of air superiority.

If that is the intent then it clearly is a waste of resources no matter the readiness drop. To acknowledge straight out of the box, before the aircraft has even been ordered that it won’t be capable of, and won’t be sent, operating in the areas the USAF needs is the definition of procurement insanity.


The Air Force Wants More F-35s In FY 2020: Congress Needs To Step In

The U.S. Air Force is operating a fighter aircraft inventory on the brink of disaster. The vast majority of its fighter aircraft were designed at the conclusion of the Vietnam War, were produced in the 1980s, and are increasingly not capable of meeting future threats. The F-15C’s structural integrity limits mean that fleet’s airworthiness will come to an end in the early/mid-2020s. An immediate change in defense policy and resourcing is required to ensure U.S. air superiority meets the urgent and pragmatic real-world security objectives of the 2018 national defense strategy.

Teetering on the edge of an Air Force air superiority capability collapse was never supposed to happen. Plans laid out in the late 1980s and early 1990s called for 750 F-22 Raptors to replace F-15 Eagles, and for 1763 F-35 Lightning IIs to replace F-16s. The F-22 was optimized primarily to meet air-to-air challenges and the F-35 was designed to provide multi-role flexibility for both air-to-air and air-to-ground missions. Both are stealthy aircraft with advanced sensors, powerful onboard computing, and secure communications to collaborate across the battlespace—all the elements that define a “fifth-generation” fighter aircraft.

In 2009 however, then Secretary of Defense Robert Gates prematurely canceled the F-22 purchase at less than half the Air Force’s then stated 381 F-22 requirement to free up funds for wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Gates asserted that by 2020 the U.S. would have nearly 1100 F-22s and F-35s, however, the F-35’s programmed production rate growth has continually been reduced. The Air Force presently has only 186 F-22s and approximately 175 F-35s.

That inventory is woefully inadequate to meet moderate combat demands, let alone a potential North Korean conflict simultaneous with a requirement to check Russian aggression in Europe or Chinese aggression in East Asia. What was once “tomorrow’s threat” is now today’s reality. Deterring the ambitions of modern adversaries demands a fighter force inventory properly sized and infused with advanced fifth-generation capabilities.

Yet instead of investing in more modern F-35s, the Pentagon’s 2020 budget request seeks billions of dollars for new-built F-15EXs—an aircraft design whose roots extend back to the late 1960s. As Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson made clear on Feb 28, this was not an Air Force judgment; “Our budget proposal that we initially submitted did not include additional fourth-generation aircraft.” Seemingly oblivious to its own 2018 national defense strategy and reorientation to great-power contests, the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) drove this decision.

According to a senior defense official briefing to media on Mar 22, the rationale was based on three major elements:

The need to rapidly increase Air Force fighter force structure
Cost
Industrial base diversity
The first is a no-brainer. Today’s fighter aircraft average 28 years old with that age growing annually. The Air Force Chief of Staff has stated he needs to buy 72 aircraft a year to reverse that trend and eventually bring the average age down to 15 years. Bizarrely, however, the Pentagon’s proposed 2020 budget would deliver just eight F-15EXs in, “3 to 3.5 years after contract award” (Air Force FY 2020 Justification Book Volume 1 of 2 Aircraft Procurement, (I-22)).

Here’s a much better solution: Congress shifts the money from F-15EX to increase F-35A production. Of note, the Air Force’s unfunded priority list for FY 2020 includes an additional 12 F-35As. By increasing F-35 production from 48/yr. to 60/yr. in 2020, then 78-80 beyond 2020, the Air Force could have an additional 108 F-35s by 2023/24 instead of an anemic additional 8 F-15EXs.

Now let’s look at cost. The Office of the Secretary of Defense claims the new F-15EX unit cost will be about $90 million per copy. Today the F-35A runs about $89 million per copy and is expected to decline to about $80 million in 2020. OSD notes, however, that sustainment costs for the F-35A are greater than the F-15EX. That is a questionable assumption as the F-35A program matures, its sustainment costs are headed down to similar levels as F-15s.

More to the point, OSD’s myopic focus on unit and sustainment costs ignores the actual costs necessary to accomplish desired objectives against the priority threats of the national defense strategy. Unlike F-35, the F-15EX will require additional specialized support aircraft to jam radars, defeat enemy fighters, and negate surface-to-air-missile systems. Those assets, which were not part of OSD’s justification analysis, will drive up requirements for pilots and support personnel, along with additional mission support aircraft such as air-to-air refueling tankers. Against peer threats, the cost of achieving a desired effect with F-15EX is dramatically higher than the same effect delivered from an F-35A.

In their briefing to the media, last Friday OSD emphasized that there is no intention of sending F-15EXs into high-threat environments at all. They would only be used for standoff roles or in places where there is no issue of air superiority. That means that after billions of dollars are spent on the F-15EX, for the next 30-40 years, they will be incapable of participating against peer threats—the largest capacity gap in the Air Force’s fighter inventory.

The last justifying factor cited by OSD is the need to preserve the industrial base, a prudent objective, but it should be done by leaning forward with the next generation air dominance (NGAD) system—not spending finite resources on a design whose roots date back to the Nixon Administration. Enemies have had over 40 years to optimize their defenses against American fourth-generation technology and they have gotten good at it. Buying more new old fighters plays exactly to their strengths.

Additionally, key skills that need to be protected are advanced aircraft design teams—very finite skills. Hitting the production button on a jet whose fundamental design is forty years old does nothing to preserve those skills. While F-15EX fighters offer upgraded capabilities from their Nixon-era F-15 model counterparts, they lack necessary attributes like low observability (stealth) and combat cloud functionality found in their fifth-generation successors. These are not bolt-on capabilities, but features that must be designed into an aircraft from day one.

Given current federal budget deficits, rising interest rates, and mounting pressure from mandatory federal spending accounts, it will be increasingly difficult to sustain current defense spending. History tells us that budgets do not rise forever, but move up and down in cycles. When the next down cycle comes, it will unleash competition for finite dollars between the F-35 and F-15EX leading to a decrease in the F-35 buy rate. Ultimately, if funds are actually appropriated for F-15EX production, they will come out of future spending on the F-35. Reduced production will result in higher unit prices, inducing further program cuts. Indeed, we can already see this happening—DOD’s new five-year plan has the Air Force planning to buy 48 F-35s from 2021-2023, down from 54 per year as previously planned.

The Air Force has seen this act before. These are the same circumstances that led to the curtailed F-22 buy, which is the real cause of today’s aging F-15 fleet. Had we purchased the necessary number of F-22s, today’s F-15Cs would be sunning themselves in desert boneyards today. One difference: This time, it would also impact the Navy, Marine Corps, and allied partners who are also buying the F-35.

Given the large number of Air Force procurement efforts underway—F-35, B-21, KC-46, T-X, UH-1 recapitalization, space initiatives, ground-based nuclear deterrent modernization; and cyber priorities—there is little room for new programs. After three decades’ worth of deferred recapitalization, canceling, curtailing, or delaying any of these programs would imperil core missions. Vietnam-era T-38s will not be viable forever. Nor will Eisenhower-era KC-135s.

President Trump has signaled that 2020 may be the high-water mark of the defense budget, and leaders like House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith are advocating for a lower defense budget.

The answer to the Air Force’s fighter modernization challenge is clear. The F-35A is specifically designed to meet future combat requirements. The F-15EX is not. The nation must increase F-35 procurement rates and add resources to the next generation air dominance (NGAD) program to supplement a dangerously undersized F-22 fleet. Today’s fighter force mix is imbalanced with 80 percent fourth-generation and only 20 percent fifth-generation aircraft. The Air Force needs to increase the fifth-generation side with the F-35A as fast as possible.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/davedeptul ... o-step-in/
 
mmo
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Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

Wed Mar 27, 2019 9:03 am

The purchase of the 80 F-15X along with the F-35 purchase allows the USAF to approach the 72 airframes/year goal. The F-15X is perfect for the air defense role and over the lifetime compared with the F-35 there is a 2.5 million dollar savings/year. Interesting to note, Boeing presented a C version but the USAF opted for the more expensive D model. The savings/year would have been about 1 million more.

I doubt the full complement of 1763 F-35s will be ever seen. The USAF wants to concentrate on 6th generation fighters and we will see that happen in the next couple of years. If that comes to fruition, the funding for the F-35 will never allow the full purchase and the R and D required for 6th generation aircraft.
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Ozair
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Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

Wed Mar 27, 2019 11:26 am

mmo wrote:
The purchase of the 80 F-15X along with the F-35 purchase allows the USAF to approach the 72 airframes/year goal.

An interesting observation. If the goal is to get to the stated 72 aircraft a year goal then the F-35 gets the USAF there quicker than acquiring the F-15EX. The unfunded priorities bid by the USAF for FY20 includes an additional twelve F-35A for a total of US$1.1 billion, the same amount to acquire eight F-15EX. The F-35 acquisition cost continues to trend down and is on target to reach US$80 million per year, lower than the total cost to acquire the F-15EX across the expected fleet size. If the US used that US$1.1 billion F-15EX funding each year from FY2020 on increased F-35 funding they could increase their fleet by an approximate 40 more aircraft over the next three years.

Additionally, the first F-15EX does not arrive for USAF service for 3.5 years, if it even gets approved. How does that improve the fighter gap today compared to funding an active production line with capacity to take the additional ordered aircraft?

mmo wrote:
The F-15X is perfect for the air defense role and over the lifetime compared with the F-35 there is a 2.5 million dollar savings/year.

Two points that aren’t correct. First the F-15EX is good for the air defence role of CONUS but essentially not for anywhere else. The OSD as quoted above stated clearly the jet would be used for stand-off roles or where there is no issue of air superiority. That is pretty telling. The article linked above also makes it pretty clear the per year costs are not accurate, especially as the F-35 per hour cost continues to drop and are targeted for US$25k per hour by 2025, lower than forecasted F-15EX per hour costs.

mmo wrote:
Interesting to note, Boeing presented a C version but the USAF opted for the more expensive D model. The savings/year would have been about 1 million more.

It likely reduces the issue of conversion to type. The performance between the two is likely negligible and it may also make the F-15EX a more appealing replacement for the E fleet which could be rolled to the ANG units where it would better suit the mission.

mmo wrote:
I doubt the full complement of 1763 F-35s will be ever seen. The USAF wants to concentrate on 6th generation fighters and we will see that happen in the next couple of years. If that comes to fruition, the funding for the F-35 will never allow the full purchase and the R and D required for 6th generation aircraft.

Perhaps the whole 1763 won’t be acquired, there is obviously a lot of water to run under the procurement bridge over the next 20 years that production is expected to continue but something needs to fill that gap.

I don’t agree with your 6th gen statement. The USAF has been very clear it wants to increase the 5th gen ratio and the F-35 is the only game in town. The USAF already is funding PCA and has been for a couple of years while still continuing to acquire F-35s at ever increasing rates.
The Air Force expects to ramp up funding to $1.4 billion in FY20, hitting a high in FY22 with a projected $3.1 billion in spending.

https://www.defensenews.com/air/2018/12 ... e-fighter/

Meanwhile the same news article above stated the PCA is expected to cost US$300 million each, over three times the cost of an F-35 and the USAF will likely target approximately 400 aircraft. Those aircraft will replace the F-15C/D and F-22 fleet but what do you expect to replace the F-16 and A-10 fleets in active and ANG units with, all of which will age out in the early 2030s? It won’t be the PCA that is for sure, the USAF would never be able to afford enough irrespective of its capabilities. The other assumption is PCA will actually arrive on time which certainly cannot be taken as certain.

The solution to the fleet age issue remains increasing F-35 production to that 72 a year or above as the article I posted makes clear. There is no other fiscally responsible solution to the problem and the USAF knows that, hence why they didn't request the F-15EX in their budget submission.
 
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bikerthai
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Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

Wed Mar 27, 2019 11:27 am

mmo wrote:
Interesting to note, Boeing presented a C version but the USAF opted for the more expensive D model.


Do you mean the single seat vs. dual seat?

Ozair has made many good argument why the -35 is better than the -15. One thing that the -15X have that we have not explored is the ability to have the second crew without sacrificing significant space for electronics.

There was a mention in an article hat the second pilot can be useful in herding flights of UAV's wingmen thus letting the other pilot free to fly.

However there is little argument for this in the press.

bt
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LightningZ71
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Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

Wed Mar 27, 2019 1:26 pm

Wait, I thought the whole point of this was to allow the limited fleet of F-22 aircraft that are currently having their hours of flying time wasted on CONUS defense patrols be instead deployed forward as needed in high threat environments where they can better use their expensive attributes? Why would the USAF forward deploy F-15s in high threat environments when they have F-22s and F-35s available for that, having been freed up by having their home defense duties covered by updated or new-build F-15s that have state of the art electronics to make their defense capabilities relevant?

As for cost of operation projections, the F-15EX is a relatively known quantity. We know how much it costs to keep the QA, which it's based on, in the air. We already have the infrastructure in place. There is just no need to spend the money on retooling all of those F-15 bases to support F-35 operations, which are known to be having logistics and sustainment issues as a result of the well publicized failings and limitations of ALICE.

This is a STRATEGIC decision. It doesn't have to make sense from a money perspective, just not be a complete and utter waste. DOD wants air superiority assets forward deployed. They have two choices, maximize F-22 availability for that, or build more. They can maximize F-22 availability by moving as many as possible to a forward deployed posture and covering their duties with F-15s. They can also invest a mountain of money into regenerating the ability to produce them, but, then, that's chasing a 30 year old design at this point. It would make NO sense to do so without investing into making updates, which just multiplies the cost of that task. It makes MUCH more sense to just take the latest and greatest version of the F-15 for home defense, fulfills a STRATEGIC obligation to maintain domestic (Boeing's) ability to produce high end fighters, and allows the F-22s that ARE available to be used where they are most relevant and reduces the number of flight hours that they are accumulating as a result of flying missions that don't require their capabilities.

So, I can see why this decision was made. The argument to be made is, is it worth the expense of buying more F-35s to cover the home defense role with the associated extra cost of retooling all of those bases to support them much, much sooner than they would otherwise need to, especially when we still haven't ironed out all the support issues with the F-35 over using the F-15 as a solution? I'd argue that, FOR THAT MISSION, and for the possibility that they CAN STILL BE USED EFFECTIVELY in the stand off role in network-centric warfare, the F-15 still has a role in the USAF. So, then, the choice is, do you refurbish existing F-15C/D frames to last a "while" longer to use in that role, or, do you build a version that is going to be MORE CAPABLE via better engines, better electronics (as the QA is itself specced to a higher total standard than the proposed update package for the C/Ds, and the EX furthers that a bit) and lower total and ongoing sustainment costs at the expense of a higher initial investment?

Then, you compound some of this by taking into account other, local factors in this decision. Canada is still dragging their feet on replacing their aging hornet fleet. They kicked the can down the road a bit with the purchase of the RAAF legacy hornets, but, its not expected to make a major impact on their availability woes, and their combat effectiveness is VERY questionable against peer states. It is reasonable to expect that the USAF will have to assist Canada in policing their own airspace in the coming years, which means MORE hours on home defense aircraft. Yeah, no one is talking about this, but, if we're honest with ourselves, its a very real possibility. There are other factors at play here. China, which is a real and present adversary, is developing a carrier fleet of their own. They already have two in active operations, and another soon to come online, and a whole fleet of them planned and in various stages of production. Just as the US projects power, so will China. As a result of this, there will be more patrols flying in the coming years, not less. Do we want to burn hours on high end assets or do we want long life assets that are tailored to that very role employed for it?

I don't see the F-15EX as the perfect solution, but I don't see it as a bad one. The alternatives cost just as much or more in the long run, and some of them can present a very real problem in specific circumstances. We are suffering from a crucial mistake made over a decade ago, not making enough F-22s. We've been served a sh*t sandwich by the past and we're trying to make the best of it. The F-15EX has value for the USAF going forward. It will have a very long life of availability. It is fully dual role and can be used to supplement the F-15Es that aren't replaced by the F-35 as they begin to be retired in the coming decade as well as not every strike mission will require putting hours on a stealth platform. Just like people complained that, in the middle east, not every mission required a high end fighter or bomber to complete it, and it was a waste of money and frame hours to use those fighters for those missions, and they argued that the A-10 or even lower end strike aircraft like the OV-10, the super Tucano, or other turbo props could have been used just as effectively for far less money, this is the VERY SAME ARGUMENT.
 
Ozair
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Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

Wed Mar 27, 2019 10:19 pm

LightningZ71 wrote:
Wait, I thought the whole point of this was to allow the limited fleet of F-22 aircraft that are currently having their hours of flying time wasted on CONUS defense patrols be instead deployed forward as needed in high threat environments where they can better use their expensive attributes? Why would the USAF forward deploy F-15s in high threat environments when they have F-22s and F-35s available for that, having been freed up by having their home defense duties covered by updated or new-build F-15s that have state of the art electronics to make their defense capabilities relevant?

There is no intent to replace F-22s and F-35s doing CONUS defence with F-15EXs. The intent is to replace the ANG F-15C/D fleet which is aging out and requires a SLEP.

LightningZ71 wrote:
As for cost of operation projections, the F-15EX is a relatively known quantity. We know how much it costs to keep the QA, which it's based on, in the air.

We don’t know what the QA costs to operate, none are in service yet. The Saudi’s have the SA in service which is very similar but trying to compare a USAF operating cost for an ANG unit to that of Saudi Arabia is probably pointless.

LightningZ71 wrote:
We already have the infrastructure in place. There is just no need to spend the money on retooling all of those F-15 bases to support F-35 operations, which are known to be having logistics and sustainment issues as a result of the well publicized failings and limitations of ALICE.

The selling point for the F-15EX is the existing infrastructure and manpower and the industrial considerations of keeping the line open. The F-35 has some teething issues with ALIS but it will be overcome, given the focus on it now, in the next couple of years. The question is whether the long term costs of converting F-15C/D units to F-35 is a waste of resources or whether the long term benefits of having more 5th gen aircraft available to the US is worth it. Given we know the F-15EX won’t be used in a near peer conflict except in a stand-off role and won’t be deployed anywhere where air superiority isn’t assured (by F-22 and F-35 aircraft…) then the long term utility of the F-15EX fleet is questionable.

LightningZ71 wrote:
This is a STRATEGIC decision. It doesn't have to make sense from a money perspective, just not be a complete and utter waste. DOD wants air superiority assets forward deployed. They have two choices, maximize F-22 availability for that, or build more. They can maximize F-22 availability by moving as many as possible to a forward deployed posture and covering their duties with F-15s. They can also invest a mountain of money into regenerating the ability to produce them, but, then, that's chasing a 30 year old design at this point. It would make NO sense to do so without investing into making updates, which just multiplies the cost of that task.

The USAF has submitted a plan to rationalise F-22 locations to see better utilisation of the fleet and essentially not spread it so thin. That plan does not see the F-22s reducing their current CONUS patrol duties, it just concentrates the fleet in fewer locations. The F-22 is never coming back to production, of that we can all be 100% certain.

The important thing to note is that more F-16s conduct CONUS air defence than F-15s today with the first few of those units to soon transfer over to the F-35. The F-22 and the F-15 are not the only or sole solution to CONUS air defence and the F-35 is likely to be a better asset in that role than either of the previous aircraft anyway given its better sensor suite, longer range and cheaper per hour cost.



LightningZ71 wrote:
It makes MUCH more sense to just take the latest and greatest version of the F-15 for home defense, fulfills a STRATEGIC obligation to maintain domestic (Boeing's) ability to produce high end fighters, and allows the F-22s that ARE available to be used where they are most relevant and reduces the number of flight hours that they are accumulating as a result of flying missions that don't require their capabilities.

Of the above only the strategic industrial decision is rational. Flight hours for the F-22s will not be a problem with the base rationalisation. The aircrew still need to fly to maintain currency and the rationalisation will see more time available for high end training missions.


LightningZ71 wrote:
Then, you compound some of this by taking into account other, local factors in this decision. Canada is still dragging their feet on replacing their aging hornet fleet. They kicked the can down the road a bit with the purchase of the RAAF legacy hornets, but, its not expected to make a major impact on their availability woes, and their combat effectiveness is VERY questionable against peer states. It is reasonable to expect that the USAF will have to assist Canada in policing their own airspace in the coming years, which means MORE hours on home defense aircraft. Yeah, no one is talking about this, but, if we're honest with ourselves, its a very real possibility. There are other factors at play here. China, which is a real and present adversary, is developing a carrier fleet of their own. They already have two in active operations, and another soon to come online, and a whole fleet of them planned and in various stages of production. Just as the US projects power, so will China. As a result of this, there will be more patrols flying in the coming years, not less. Do we want to burn hours on high end assets or do we want long life assets that are tailored to that very role employed for it?

Assuming Canada does acquire a replacement aircraft eventually in that 2025-2030 time period then they will be able to handle their own airspace patrols as per NORAD agreements. Given the low number of intercepts and forward deployment the RCAF does today anyway it won’t be a significant change in the future. Perhaps the US will see increased air patrol requirements in the future, it is debatable that China has any interest in sending a carrier fleet to sit off the coast of California when US bases exist in the Western Pacific, but I’m not convinced that cannot be accomplished in other ways or using newer technology to intercept only those you need or want to, as opposed to every one because you feel you have to.

But neither of those arguments factors in favour of the F-15EX being able to fly more hours. There is almost certainly a limit to the number of hours each of these aircraft will fly in a year given available funding resources and more importantly manning constraints. The F-1EX will be lucky to fly more than 300 hours a year per jet and on those numbers it won’t matter which jet does the flying. At current life rates the F-35 will fly those missions for the next 27 years and the expectation is the F-35 will be capable of more than the mandated 8000 hour life. What that translates to for the F-15EX is a whole lot of life on the jet that will never be used.

LightningZ71 wrote:
I don't see the F-15EX as the perfect solution, but I don't see it as a bad one. The alternatives cost just as much or more in the long run, and some of them can present a very real problem in specific circumstances.

The evidence suggests that the F-15EX will be a more expensive option to maintain over its life than comparable options in the form of the F-35 or even the F-16. It has a few benefits over the F-35 perhaps in the form of deploying heavy weight hypersonic missiles but since none of those exist yet it is hard to know that those limitations, or benefits, are real.

LightningZ71 wrote:
We are suffering from a crucial mistake made over a decade ago, not making enough F-22s. We've been served a sh*t sandwich by the past and we're trying to make the best of it. The F-15EX has value for the USAF going forward. It will have a very long life of availability. It is fully dual role and can be used to supplement the F-15Es that aren't replaced by the F-35 as they begin to be retired in the coming decade as well as not every strike mission will require putting hours on a stealth platform.

The F-15E planned retirement date is currently 2042. I could see the F-15E replacement being an optimised loyal wingman to 5th and 6th gen aircraft or on the outside a modified PCA but the loyal wingman concept makes more fiscal and operational sense.

LightningZ71 wrote:
Just like people complained that, in the middle east, not every mission required a high end fighter or bomber to complete it, and it was a waste of money and frame hours to use those fighters for those missions, and they argued that the A-10 or even lower end strike aircraft like the OV-10, the super Tucano, or other turbo props could have been used just as effectively for far less money, this is the VERY SAME ARGUMENT.

It isn’t the same argument. The USAF currently doesn’t have the pilots available to fly all those low end conflict jets and those high end conflict jets at the same time and it clearly is not in favour of maintaining a two tier air force. The USAF has a clear vision of future near-peer conflict and every single 5th gen aircraft it acquires can operate in that near-peer conflict or those low air threat conflict, in the same way those B-1s, F-15E, F-16s, F-22s have to date. The F-15EX cannot do that going forward. The other side of that is while it may seem a waste to send high end fighter jets into operations over low threat conflicts that still provides the USAF will valuable learning and experience for their crews in deploying weapons on real targets and in supporting US ground forces.
 
SuperiorPilotMe
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Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

Thu Mar 28, 2019 12:59 am

texl1649 wrote:
And the truth is, these aren’t million mile Lexus vehicles.


This is not Matt Farrah’s million mile Lexus.
Stop the stupids!- Claus Kellerman
 
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bikerthai
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Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

Thu Mar 28, 2019 2:12 am

Kind of funny how we dish the F-15X in a near peer conflict. But do not blink an eye at upgrading the B-52 who may be flying long after the last F-15 is retired.

Sure situation is different . . . but seems comical some how.

bt
Intelligent seeks knowledge. Enlightened seeks wisdom.
 
mmo
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Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

Thu Mar 28, 2019 4:55 pm

USAF has announced the F-15EX will be flown without a second crewmember. Begs the question why didn't they purchase the proposed F-15CX.

https://aviationweek.com/defense/usaf-p ... -back-seat
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