That's a lot more ordinance than an F35 can deliver, and no matter what anyone says, in a future conflict there will be a need for bombs in areas not covered in top tier air defenses.
The F-15X concept is about replacing the F-15C/D air superiority fleet. Despite what Tyler is suggesting the aircraft would almost certainly conduct very little to no strike role in USAF service. As for ordnance, the F-35 stacks up very well against an F-15 in payload capability.
Plus, practically speaking, why wouldn't the USAF want to keep two prime vendors in the inventory for the next 30 years in TAC-air?
The USAF is not there is keep corporations in business. There are enough manufacturers that Boeing’s exit from manned fighter aircraft will have no long term detraction on the maintenance and sustainment of the future USAF fleet. Don’t forgot that the USAF can tender for the maintenance and support of both the F-22 and F-35 to any company they like, LM does not have sole ownership of that business. Sure LM almost certainly have an advantage but it is not clear cut nor guaranteed.
Sure, the up front cost vs. F-35 is similar, but there's not much doubt that the F-15 fleet is going to be cheaper to operate.
There is no way Boeing can offer an F-15X for less than an F-35, simply no way. Already the USAF operates a comparable number of F-35s to the F-15C/D fleet, and in four years will operate more F-35 than all F-15s, and four years after that will operate more F-35s than it has ever operated F-15s…
The F-15 is a large twin engine aircraft that costs more to operate per hour and costs more to acquire. Boeing will not lose money selling F-15s to the USAF nor would their executives sanction and shareholders be happy with a loss making exercise of selling aircraft below cost price.
For CONUS missions, surely, stealth isn't really needed, anyway; why keep sending F-22's to intercept Tu-95's (and/or why go to a single engine plane to do it)?
Why not use a single engine aircraft to do it? That works for many other nations around the globe, including the USAF who also use single engine aircraft for that role. Aircraft and aircrew have to fly to maintain proficiency and there is no massive over burden of flight hours on the F-22 fleet that it needs to be rationed by not conducting these interceptions. In fact stopping the F-22 fleet from WVR practise would better preserve flight hours than long range low G interception missions.
This is a supplement to the F-22's mission set and nothing more. The F-22 is being wasted on missions where it's stealth isn't needed. That's putting hours on the frame that don't need to be there, and wasting it's expensive logistics costs.
As already stated the F-22 needs to fly to maintain aircrew and airframe proficiency. The fleet is not short of hours nor are current hours being wasted.
It is also a replacement for the C/D models that are going to be retired. This replaces the expensive upgrade projects that have been programmed, and replaces the expensive SLEP that was supposed to deal with a handful of air frame corrosion and wear issues.
The maximum cost of the F-15C/D SLEP was going to be US$30 million that would likely have included replacing the wings. A much cheaper cost, approx. US$1 million per aircraft, would have allowed the airframe to serve for longer.
https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... af-446189/
Over the past two years, the USAF has discussed options for keeping a subset of the F-15C fleet in service through the mid- to late-2030s. Those aircraft would require a longeron replacement with a $1 million cost per shipset, Parker says. Some Air Force officials also are discussing options to keep the F-15Cs in service even longer, which could require a wing replacement, Parker says.
The additional life extension is currently “not required, but it my be something they want to do”” Parker says. “We’re just giving them some options.”
With Boeing agreeing to a fixed price contract for this, and that price being less than the F-35, why not get a known good platform for those missions that don't require stealth? The US will be flying air soverignty missions as long as its in existence. Those missions don't have to be done with stealth aircraft, and benefit from having an aircraft that has a high sustained dash speed and long legs, two things that the F-15x has.
Boeing has not agreed to any fixed cost price, that is Tyler making that claim with no evidence to support it.
I see this as a logical decision, and, with the expected 20,000 hour airframe life expectancy, its going to be cost efficient over its lifetime.
20,000 hour airframe life is meaningless. The aircraft currently are funded for 250-300 hours per year of operational use. The USAF will not operate an F-15X for the next 66 years just because the airframe life allows it to fly that many hours, someone still have to pay for that flight time and the USAF has to find enough pilots to fly those hours…
People, stealth is not a panacea. It works great for top cover and the initial engagements. However, for everyday grunt work, it is more expensive to maintain.
Bk, while that is true for the F-22 it is not correct when it comes to the F-35. The cost to maintain the aircraft is approximately 10-15% more than the F-16, significantly less than the per hour cost to maintain the F-15C/D fleet or a new F-15X fleet.
Seems like the USAF is just looking for a few mules to haul massive loads of missiles/bombs that can sit behind a line of F-35's to counter any attempt to overwhelm the front line fighters with mass quantities.
The arsenal idea has some merit but the USAF could do that with existing F-15C/D aircraft by re-winging them and extending the airframe life. That would easily allow for the fleet to live until the late 2030s when a UCAV could replace that arsenal role.
And if you think about it, the F15 bomb hauler could be more of a A-10 replacement than the F-35. You just need to put a pod on the belly that can spit out something larger than 20mm rounds.
Respectfully, that concept is absurd. Given the move to smaller munitions the CAS mission doesn’t really need more bomb haulers, it needs aircraft that can survive in any threat environment. The F-15X is not that aircraft and the per hour cost would be more than both the A-10 and F-35, while being less capable in that CAS role than both.
Let us put some sanity to this, EPAWSS has been cancelled and the USAF has investigated replacing the role of the F-15C/D fleet with an upgraded F-16 until enough F-35s come online. The future of the F-15 fleet was indicated by this news report earlier in the year.
https://www.c4isrnet.com/electronic-war ... e-upgrade/
Information about the planned retirement of the F-15C/D are among the few redacted portions of the IG report, showing the lengths that the Air Force is willing to go in order to conceal exactly when it may mothball the F-15C/D fleet or the internal guidance supporting such a decision.
“In February 2017, the DCS AF/A5/8 issued the [redacted] to retire the F-15C aircraft beginning in [redacted] and fully retire the aircraft by the end of [redacted]. However, [redacted],” reads one section of the report, using an acronym that refers to part of the Air Force headquarters staff.
“The [redacted] communicated the Air Force’s long-term strategic intention to build and sustain a capable, right-sized Air Force and directed program resource allocation. The DCS AF/A5/8 planned to use F-15C EPAWSS procurement funds to develop a higher priority Air Superiority program.”
In response to the IG’s findings, the Air Force has agreed to provide Congress with “specific plans and justifications” for phasing out the F-15C/D.
According to the report, the service was expected to finalize its decision on the F-15 retirement issue as part of FY19 planning choices — which took place late last year. The Air Force has still not publicly announced when the F-15 could begin leaving its inventory.
That does not read as the USAF looking to acquire new F-15 aircraft…