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Raptormodeller
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Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

Wed Jan 09, 2019 8:07 pm

RJMAZ wrote:
seahawk wrote:

The F-35 is the first fighter aircraft to have significant body lift.


-F14
-F15
A380 A330 A318 A319 A320 A321 B737 B757 B767 B747 MD80 E185 E195
AF BA QF SQ HOP LT AA
 
Ozair
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Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

Wed Jan 09, 2019 9:41 pm

seahawk wrote:
Then you sent up one of the spares that would always ready in a conflict. And if the drag is higher you need to tank more often, but still less often than 6 fighters.

Surely 2 F-15 can not cover as much area as 6 F-16s, but for the same area covered they could carry more weapons. As I said it is a capability with some appeal, not a game changer or something the USAF needs to have, especially as you could develop the Beast mode for the F-35 which would then carry 14 missiles. But probably with more drag than the F-15.

Flying around with 22 missiles on your airframe is far more than simply requiring to tank more often. The aircraft would likely struggle to reach supersonic speeds with that loadout which also impacts the tactical fight, how they engage, how they position themselves for the intercept, what support they can provide to their wingman and vice versa.

The issue is almost never about the number of weapons an aircraft has anyway. Russian Flankers flying in Syria, while capable of 10+ missile loadouts, never flew with more than 6. The drag issue is too great, the missiles have total wing hours and tactically the aircraft is usually never able to prosecute that many targets in the timeframe available. In the same way we only ever see US aircraft flying with max AAM loadouts for photo shoots if the US procured the F-15X we can be almost certain the aircraft would never fly with that loadout, it is just too tactically limiting.
 
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seahawk
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Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

Thu Jan 10, 2019 5:53 am

Why would you fly with a full load over Syria, when you do not expect to fight any dogfights and just arm for self defence. The same with CAP over the US, when you expect Cessnas or hijacked airliners, you do not need many missiles.

But I thought the USAF is getting ready for conflict with a near peer enemy, like China and there the outlook is imho different. There cruise missile attacks with 20+ missiles are realistic as are enemy formation of more than 20 fighters. And considering how they mount the AAMs on the F-15 the belly mounted ones won´t be that draggy, so you would probably only drop the quad packs and end up with 14 missiles in a practical load out. In the end your argument is like saying that the F-14 being able to carry 4 (up to 6) AIM54 was pointless, as they mostly flew CAP with just one mounted during the Cold War.
 
ThePointblank
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Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

Thu Jan 10, 2019 8:20 am

seahawk wrote:
Why would you fly with a full load over Syria, when you do not expect to fight any dogfights and just arm for self defence. The same with CAP over the US, when you expect Cessnas or hijacked airliners, you do not need many missiles.

But I thought the USAF is getting ready for conflict with a near peer enemy, like China and there the outlook is imho different. There cruise missile attacks with 20+ missiles are realistic as are enemy formation of more than 20 fighters. And considering how they mount the AAMs on the F-15 the belly mounted ones won´t be that draggy, so you would probably only drop the quad packs and end up with 14 missiles in a practical load out. In the end your argument is like saying that the F-14 being able to carry 4 (up to 6) AIM54 was pointless, as they mostly flew CAP with just one mounted during the Cold War.

1. There's no realistic expectation that one could engage 20 targets. There has never been an aerial fight on record where a single fighter has engaged more than a handful of aircraft at the same time.

You also don't engage if the terms of engagement are not on your side; sending a one or two fighters to attack a large formation of enemy aircraft is foolhardy and a total waste of resources. You either send more fighters to even the odds, or you break up the formation into smaller, more manageable sections to be picked off.

2. The F-14 was both drag and weight limited, which prevented the aircraft from carrying more than 4 AIM-54's at a time on a patrol. More specifically, 6 AIM-54's exceeded the weight limit for landing on a carrier; if a F-14 wanted to land after being armed with 6 AIM-54's, they would have to eject the bulk of them into the ocean... which doesn't make sense for a CAP patrol during the Cold War...
 
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seahawk
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Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

Thu Jan 10, 2019 9:50 am

But made sense when it came to shooting down anti-ship missiles and bombers if the Cold War turned hot.

Same with a 22 missile load on an F-15, it would not merge with 22 MiG-35 or Su-35, but against say 8 cruise missiles and the expect low hit rate of the missiles against such targets, it makes sense. So for the defence of CONUS it has some appeal.
 
ThePointblank
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Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

Thu Jan 10, 2019 10:52 am

seahawk wrote:
But made sense when it came to shooting down anti-ship missiles and bombers if the Cold War turned hot.

Same with a 22 missile load on an F-15, it would not merge with 22 MiG-35 or Su-35, but against say 8 cruise missiles and the expect low hit rate of the missiles against such targets, it makes sense. So for the defence of CONUS it has some appeal.

1. You only did so if the prospects of an engagement was extremely likely; i.e. the carrier group is alerted that a Soviet Naval Aviation strike force was inbound.

2. You are better off sending more fighters armed with less missiles than a few fighters armed with lots of missiles; for one, you can cover more ground, and if you are engaging multiple targets in a group, more aircraft doing the shooting at the same time will ensure that pilots don't get overwhelmed by the number of targets. While a fighter could technically engage and track 20+ aircraft, managing the engagement from inside the cockpit is going to be a nightmare, and if you can spread the work across multiple aircraft, so much the better.
 
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seahawk
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Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

Thu Jan 10, 2019 10:54 am

Only if you have more fighters.
 
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bikerthai
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Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

Thu Jan 10, 2019 2:18 pm

seahawk wrote:
Only if you have more fighters.


Which give the theory of leasing these frames to Taiwan more credence :scratchchin:
They don't need the range, they do need mass quantities of missile but do not have infrastructures to support so many frames.

bt
Intelligent seeks knowledge. Enlightened seeks wisdom.
 
texl1649
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Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

Thu Jan 10, 2019 5:59 pm

Data links, training costs, acquisition costs, and basically everything else is cheaper if you have 22-missile sleds compared to some theoretical enormous fleet of F-16V’s for Taiwan, vs a theoretical onslaught by the Chinese, where the first 6 hours would be critical, to say the least.
 
ThePointblank
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Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

Fri Jan 11, 2019 4:16 am

bikerthai wrote:
seahawk wrote:
Only if you have more fighters.


Which give the theory of leasing these frames to Taiwan more credence :scratchchin:
They don't need the range, they do need mass quantities of missile but do not have infrastructures to support so many frames.

bt

Would disagree.

For one, the tactical air space over Taiwan is fairly limited; the Chinese can only send up so many fighters before the air space becomes too crowded and it becomes ineffectual because of the need to deconflict the air space. That limit is well within the means of existing Taiwanese fighters and air defence systems to handle.

Second, there isn't enough air bases in China close enough to effectively ensure that Chinese aircraft could generate sufficient sorties without creating overcrowding. And even then, the sortie generation rate would decline over time as aircraft go out of service, become damaged or lost, or as air bases are attacked by Taiwanese missiles and aircraft.
 
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seahawk
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Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

Fri Jan 11, 2019 5:46 am

Which assumes that the first attack would be fighters and not cruise missiles.
 
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bikerthai
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Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

Fri Jan 11, 2019 2:11 pm

seahawk wrote:
Which assumes that the first attack would be fighters and not cruise missiles.


Or that the fighters would not come in waves thus having a significant number of missile allow for longer CAP time before returning to base for reload (assuming you survived). Even then, If you have 12 fighters in rotation, you would not have many in the air at the same time, so I would think you are not worried about lack of Chinese fighters to engage.

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

Sat Jan 12, 2019 3:00 am

bikerthai wrote:
seahawk wrote:
Which assumes that the first attack would be fighters and not cruise missiles.


Or that the fighters would not come in waves thus having a significant number of missile allow for longer CAP time before returning to base for reload (assuming you survived). Even then, If you have 12 fighters in rotation, you would not have many in the air at the same time, so I would think you are not worried about lack of Chinese fighters to engage.

bt

You won't have enough fuel for extended CAP patrols and engagements, as the Taiwanese have no tankers.

Not to mention that fatigue also sets in as well; if you have to land to refuel and change out pilots, reloading weapons is minor in comparison to that.
 
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bikerthai
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Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

Sat Jan 12, 2019 1:18 pm

We are not talking about CAP over the strait. As any conflict would assume the Chinese already invaded. So if you assume one or two flights of attacking aircrafts every 15 -20 minutes over the island, it is possible to use up all missiles before you have to return to base fore fuel. Preferably you don't want to have spent all your missiles as it would mean that bandits are still in the area when you have to leave the scene.

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

Sun Jan 13, 2019 2:49 pm

From the latest press, it seems that these frames are for the USAF and not for Taiwan. And the arguments we are having here are the same they are having in the DOD.

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

Thu Jan 24, 2019 2:13 pm

See Aviation Week & Space Technology for the low down on this acquisition.

Yes, these F-15X are meant to supplement the current air superiority short fall because:

1) They did not built enough F-22
2) They can not build enough F-35 in time to meet their force structure requirement before the F-15C/D life runs out (you can upgrade the electronics but you can't do anything about the airframe).
3) The F-X program will not start soon enough to meet the force structure short fall.

So even though the Air Force originally objected to the buy, looks like they are forced into it by happenstance.

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

Thu Jan 24, 2019 8:45 pm

bikerthai wrote:
See Aviation Week & Space Technology for the low down on this acquisition.

Yes, these F-15X are meant to supplement the current air superiority short fall because:

1) They did not built enough F-22
2) They can not build enough F-35 in time to meet their force structure requirement before the F-15C/D life runs out (you can upgrade the electronics but you can't do anything about the airframe).
3) The F-X program will not start soon enough to meet the force structure short fall.

So even though the Air Force originally objected to the buy, looks like they are forced into it by happenstance.

bt
In other words, it's a gift for Boeing.
 
texl1649
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Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

Thu Jan 24, 2019 8:52 pm

bikerthai wrote:
See Aviation Week & Space Technology for the low down on this acquisition.

Yes, these F-15X are meant to supplement the current air superiority short fall because:

1) They did not built enough F-22
2) They can not build enough F-35 in time to meet their force structure requirement before the F-15C/D life runs out (you can upgrade the electronics but you can't do anything about the airframe).
3) The F-X program will not start soon enough to meet the force structure short fall.

So even though the Air Force originally objected to the buy, looks like they are forced into it by happenstance.

bt


I would be curious what they have to say but won't go to the AWST site any longer. It's usually decent content but the cookies/ability to actually read articles are a real pain, plus, Trimble loves aviation but is a die hard leftist in US politics and filters data through his worldview prism.
 
Ozair
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Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

Thu Jan 24, 2019 9:14 pm

bikerthai wrote:
See Aviation Week & Space Technology for the low down on this acquisition.

Yes, these F-15X are meant to supplement the current air superiority short fall because:

1) They did not built enough F-22
2) They can not build enough F-35 in time to meet their force structure requirement before the F-15C/D life runs out (you can upgrade the electronics but you can't do anything about the airframe).
3) The F-X program will not start soon enough to meet the force structure short fall.

So even though the Air Force originally objected to the buy, looks like they are forced into it by happenstance.

bt


BT I’m confused by that rationale. It doesn’t match the facts as we know it about the situation.

1 – Yes they didn’t built enough F-22s but I’m not sure how buying F-15Xs overcomes that issue. The planes have very different capability sets and the acquisition of the F-15X comes at the expense of F-15C/Ds operating in the air defence role anyway, so no increase in total numbers but perhaps an increase in availability.

2 – They most certainly can build enough F-35s in time to meet the force structure requirements. In 2016 the USAF plan was to receive 80 aircraft a year from 2022 but the Pentagon dropped the yearly rate from 80 to 60 from 2022 for the subsequent 16 years of production. That equates to 320 aircraft the USAF could have had earlier.

You can review the respective SARs here,
2016 - https://fas.org/man/eprint/F35-sar-2016.pdf
2018 - https://fas.org/man/eprint/F-35-SAR-2018.pdf

In lowering that production rate the USAF has to pay more as it keeps the F-35 production line open an additional six years to meet the total expected F-35 acquisition numbers.

As for the USAF not being able to upgrade the F-15C/D airframe, that is clearly false. Boeing has been very clear on what the cost to upgrade the aircraft and what each cost provides in life extension.
By replacing the aircraft's longerons — the thin strips of material that make up the skeleton of an aircraft — the Air Force can extend the life of the F-15C/D past 2030 for about $1 million per aircraft, Boeing's vice president of F-15 programs, Steve Parker, said during an April 17 interview.

https://www.defensenews.com/air/2017/04 ... -proposal/

That same article references a discussion that the USAF had with Aviation Week earlier in 2017 where they indicated the F-15C/D was too costly to upgrade, approx. US$40 million each, which would take them out to 2040.

3 – I can agree with the F-X argument. The USAF was targeting a 2030 timeframe but that is clearly optimistic today.

There are some valid arguments for replacing the F-15C/D with the F-15X but I don’t consider 1 and 2 as viable. It would be an easier, cheaper and provide more overall capability to increase F-35 production than to acquire the F-15X. The only thing stopping the USAF from increasing their buy to 100 a year is funding and funding F-15X at the expense of additional F-35 doesn’t make a lot of rational sense. It would also be cheaper still to upgrade the existing F-15C/Ds to carry them over until the early 2030s replacing it with both F-35 and F-X.
 
RJMAZ
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Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

Fri Jan 25, 2019 2:45 am

Ozair that is exactly what I am thinking.

It is clearly obvious that they could just increase F-35 production back to the original planned levels to cover this "gap".

Any money to purchase an F-15X could purchase a more capable F-35. Everyone in the USAF would know this. To purchase the F-15X for A2A when the F-35A is cheaper and does a better job would require corruption on all levels.

So the correct answer is the F-15X is to perform a mission that can not be done by the F-35. It is very difficult to think of a mission where the F-15X could outperform the F-35. Even the arsenal idea, it would be cheaper for the USAF to develop a twin AMRAAM launcher rail for the F-35's wing pylons. Allowing 12-14 AMRAAM's and two sidewinders.

So that leaves anti satelite and ballistic missile defense as the only thing left.
 
Ozair
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Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

Fri Jan 25, 2019 4:13 am

RJMAZ wrote:
So that leaves anti satellite and ballistic missile defense as the only thing left.

That is emerging as the only realistic use case to justify the acquisition but I still believe that is reasonably flawed in execution.

The use of ASATs only works for so long before space access becomes a lot more difficult (but I guess that levels the playing field for everyone, especially if Russia and China are actually hitting US satellites). I also think emerging small satellite constellations in LEO looks a lot more promising for times of conflict and likely make the use of larger systems in higher altitudes somewhat redundant. SpaceX’s 12,000 by the mid 2020s is incredible and would make even laser based attacks against these systems difficult.

BMD makes more sense to me but the target set is dynamic and likely very difficult to hit. The F-15X makes a great launch platform but is the interceptor missile and the F-15X's sensors ready for that type of task?
 
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seahawk
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Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

Fri Jan 25, 2019 6:01 am

The other option is that the F-15 is made in a different state and politicians from that area want to keep the jobs, disregarding operational needs of financial efficiency for their own re-election.
 
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bikerthai
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Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

Fri Jan 25, 2019 2:18 pm

texl1649 wrote:
Trimble loves aviation but is a die hard leftist in US politics and filters data through his worldview prism.


I didn't get the vive that the article was an opinion piece. Or at least the options were of a technical base an not politics.

Ozair wrote:
The only thing stopping the USAF from increasing their buy to 100 a year is funding and funding F-15X at the expense of additional F-35 doesn’t make a lot of rational sense. It would also be cheaper still to upgrade the existing F-15C/Ds to carry them over until the early 2030s replacing it with both F-35 and F-X.


From the article:
Any interest by the Air Force in reinvesting in F-15 production is not a direct reflection on the F-35 itself.
“We’re very happy with the F-35s that are coming off the line today,” Donovan assured the Mitchell Institute.
But the slower rate of orders for the F-35A has forced the Air Force to seek options. The service still plans to receive all 1,763 F-35As in the program of record. Instead of taking delivery of the entire fleet by 2025, the last F-35A is now projected for delivery in 2044.


There would be a 3 year gap between the C/D coming off line and the F-35 fully delivered.
This exercise is performed by others as well. (This may just be inference)

Other U.S. and international air branches with F-35 orders are taking similar steps. In January, the U.S. Marine Corps announced that it had awarded Raytheon a contract to upgrade its Boeing F/A-18C/D fleet with active, electronically scanned array radars, even though the type is scheduled for retirement by 2027. International F-35 customers also are searching for new options. Israel, for example, plans to buy another round of improved F-15Is, even as it continues to buy more F-35Is.


Replacing all F-15Cs with a next-generation fighter will not be cheap. In 1998, the Air Force estimated an F-15C cost $29.9 million, which is equivalent to $46.5 million in 2018, according to the Commerce Department. A next-generation fighter entering service after 2030 will cost $300 million on average, according to the December CBO report. The disparity in replacement costs drove the CBO to examine more affordable alternatives. After considering proposals to refurbish F-15C or buy newer versions of the same aircraft, the CBO concluded the latter was preferable.
“New versions of older-model aircraft would probably result in more aircraft that are available (not in depot-level maintenance) and mission capable than a similarly sized fleet of refurbished aircraft,” the CBO report states
.

To the CBO it is preferable to get the F-5X because of what you say as the depot-maintenance issue.


RJMAZ wrote:
It is clearly obvious that they could just increase F-35 production back to the original planned levels to cover this "gap".


It may be obvious to some of us, but maybe not the CBO. Note that the CBO report was probably written prior to the recent congressional election when the Republican control congress. And as geography show that Lockheed Martin is in "Republican Country" . With the recent election the House move to the Democratic party (Boeing Country). So unless one can attribute this buy to Pat Shanahan (Boeing influence) or to Trump (Republican influence), then attributing this to politics doesn't jive either.

bt
Intelligent seeks knowledge. Enlightened seeks wisdom.
 
texl1649
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Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

Fri Jan 25, 2019 2:37 pm

BT, again I'd just note that your political theories are very suspect. The CBO has never, to my memory, been seen as "Republican friendly" in any analysis, and the CBO doesn't make acquisition recommendations of one program vs. another anyway.

Besides, F-35 and F-15 production sites are both, essentially, GOP friendly territory presently (Texas/Mizzou). I am curious what the rationale is but it again seems like ABM is most logical. The other option could have been F-16's but that's not a political conspiracy either (South Carolina).
 
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bikerthai
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Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

Fri Jan 25, 2019 4:57 pm

I agree that this should not be considered as a political decision. Corporate welfare? Well it is what it is no matter what the decision was. Someone will get a contract.

So we are down to what technical or budgetary reason for the decision.

Technical:

The F-15X can be used for ASAT

Budgetary:

The F-15X will provide more value in the long run than upgrading the C/D
The F-15X is more cost effective in the short term than putting more money in the F-35 line to increase production enough to meet the requirement by 2041 (IE there is not enough money to speed up the F-35 line to meet their needs).

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

Fri Jan 25, 2019 11:30 pm

bikerthai wrote:
The F-15X is more cost effective in the short term than putting more money in the F-35 line to increase production enough to meet the requirement by 2041 (IE there is not enough money to speed up the F-35 line to meet their needs).

That isn't true.

The F-35 price per aircraft would be lower than the F-15X. So the F-35 is more cost effective.

If Lockheed produced 10 extra F-35's per year between 2020 through to 2025 those aircraft will not cost any extra. But that would provide 50 additional aircraft for the USAF by 2025. Lockheed would need need a lump sum of money for prosuction ramp up as it is only a slight increase.

The fighter capability gap does not appear overnight. It fades in with retirements and unavailability. So an an extra 10 F-35's in each year would completely stop the creation of a gap. As few as 5 extra F-35's per year could stop the gap from becoming a problem.

Even if F-35 production ramp up has to fade in gradually you could still acheive the 50 aircraft by 2025.

2020 +2 aircraft
2021 +6 aircraft
2022 +10 aircraft
2023 +14 aircraft
2024 + 18 aircraft

The F-15X being a new aircraft sub type would require an additional year until it would enter service. This gives the F-35 time.
 
texl1649
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Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

Sat Jan 26, 2019 12:18 am

I agree RJMAZ. This is why it must be the case that acquisitions are being made, if at all, based on someone’s perception of a capability advantage for the F-15X. The BMD capability is unique in the Eagle’s inherent abilities vs. competitors.

I would be curious if, plausibly, this even entails a directed energy/laser intercept capability vs. the present assumptions. Then, the massive thrust:weight and time:altitude capabilities might make (even/more) sense.
 
Ozair
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Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

Sat Jan 26, 2019 11:18 pm

bikerthai wrote:

From the article:
Any interest by the Air Force in reinvesting in F-15 production is not a direct reflection on the F-35 itself.
“We’re very happy with the F-35s that are coming off the line today,” Donovan assured the Mitchell Institute.
But the slower rate of orders for the F-35A has forced the Air Force to seek options. The service still plans to receive all 1,763 F-35As in the program of record. Instead of taking delivery of the entire fleet by 2025, the last F-35A is now projected for delivery in 2044.


There would be a 3 year gap between the C/D coming off line and the F-35 fully delivered.
This exercise is performed by others as well. (This may just be inference)

As RJMAZ clearly indicated the issue is not F-35 production and acquiring F-35s comes cheaper to buy and operate than F-15X.

This is also a strange statement by AvWeek given that the F-35 has never been the planned replacement for the F-15C/D fleet in USAF service anyway. It is actually perfectly placed to do so but was never the plan.

bikerthai wrote:
Other U.S. and international air branches with F-35 orders are taking similar steps. In January, the U.S. Marine Corps announced that it had awarded Raytheon a contract to upgrade its Boeing F/A-18C/D fleet with active, electronically scanned array radars, even though the type is scheduled for retirement by 2027. International F-35 customers also are searching for new options. Israel, for example, plans to buy another round of improved F-15Is, even as it continues to buy more F-35Is.


The USMC modifying F/A-18s with AESA is not about the F-35, it is a specific decision the USMC made to replace the AV-8B first and keep the classic Hornet until at least 2028. This decision keeps the classic Hornet fleet more capable until that retirement date. Remember the USMC will also continue to operate the classic Hornet from USN Carriers until retirement, even though the USN has now divested itself of classic Hornets.

Israel is moving to a two fleet fighter base similar to what they previously had. F-35 will replace F-16 while the F-15 will continue to serve for many years to come. It makes sense for them to top up, especially when the airframes will come from US Aid money.

bikerthai wrote:
Replacing all F-15Cs with a next-generation fighter will not be cheap. In 1998, the Air Force estimated an F-15C cost $29.9 million, which is equivalent to $46.5 million in 2018, according to the Commerce Department. A next-generation fighter entering service after 2030 will cost $300 million on average, according to the December CBO report. The disparity in replacement costs drove the CBO to examine more affordable alternatives. After considering proposals to refurbish F-15C or buy newer versions of the same aircraft, the CBO concluded the latter was preferable.
“New versions of older-model aircraft would probably result in more aircraft that are available (not in depot-level maintenance) and mission capable than a similarly sized fleet of refurbished aircraft,” the CBO report states
.

To the CBO it is preferable to get the F-5X because of what you say as the depot-maintenance issue.

Which makes sense, except it doesn’t… Sure a new fleet of aircraft would have higher availability rates but the cost to achieve this could easily be recouped by actually servicing the current F-15 fleet to the right standard. On the first page I did the maths on this and the F-15X made sense only if a full refurb of the F-15C/D fleet occurred. If the USAF just did the longeron replacement at approx. US$1 mill per aircraft that makes the F-15X, even with lower operating costs and higher availability, a fiscally bad case.

texl1649 wrote:

I would be curious if, plausibly, this even entails a directed energy/laser intercept capability vs. the present assumptions. Then, the massive thrust:weight and time:altitude capabilities might make (even/more) sense.

Probably too early for that. The laser weapons they are talking about for fighter jets are in the 75-150 kW range while to intercept and actually make an impact on a mid-course BM warhead would likely require higher power. As an example the YAL-1 was looking at 1 MW of power in a housing that was specifically designed to minimize beam divergence. I doubt you could get that precision, power and subsequent range on a fighter based system.
 
texl1649
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Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

Sun Jan 27, 2019 12:31 am

The HALE bid supports boost phase intercept from around 63K feet vs. North Koreans (basically), I understand/respect/agree.

https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity ... e&_cview=0

But, I am skeptical attempts to drive re-entry intercepts using this program are not related, though I admit it’s technically challenging. It had been posited that an F-35 based capability might be sought, yet this acquisition might reflect some unacknowledged abilities/needs for a specific mission.

https://www.businessinsider.com/trumps- ... rea-2019-1
 
Ozair
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Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

Sun Jan 27, 2019 9:50 am

Interesting comments from Goldfein about what we have been discussing and somewhat of a confusing conversation.

It is hard to see how a USAF acquisition of F-15Xs can be justified as costing less than F-35s. Even more confusing is the USAF needed 72 new fighter jets a year to lower the overall fleet age but dropped the F-35 production rate from 80 a year to 60. Then Goldfein makes it very clear that he wants more F-35s over anything else...

Question is, where is the money coming from to justify an F-15X buy, is it for the Space Force as RJMAZ and others suggest even though Goldfein and others talk about the F-15X replacing F-15C/Ds. Could the cost be justified because of lower base infrastructure changes and easier aircrew and maintenance staff conversion to X model F-15s compared to new F-35s?

If the money is there, new and improved F-15s could be coming soon to the Air Force

The U.S. Air Force could buy a new version of the F-15, known as the F-15X, as long as there is enough money in future defense budgets, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein told Defense News Saturday.

And regardless of whether the service does buy the new jets this year, Goldfein said the new aircraft won’t be taking money from the Lockheed Martin F-35.

“I’m not backing an inch off of the F-35” Goldfein said. “The F-35 buy that we’re on continues to remain on track. And I’m not interested in taking a nickel out of it when it comes to buying anything else in the fighter portfolio.”

The FY2020 defense budget has been the focus of speculation for months, and the Pentagon has still not released a final topline figure.

Original planning had called for a $733 billion topline, which dwindled down to $700 billion after calls from President Donald Trump to slash federal spending and then ballooned up to $750 billion after the intervention of then-Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.

In December 2018, Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson told Defense News that “all options are on the table," and on Saturday Goldfein acknowledged that the service had built multiple budgets as different figures were proposed.

“We built the [$]730[billion] budget, and we went in and did a drill said what if we only get [$]700[billion] and what do we subtract, and what if there was a [$]750[billion] budget?” he said.

Goldfein would not directly confirm that the Air Force has the money in the budget for the new planes. But he hinted strongly that the service would pull the trigger on acquiring them.

The F-15X is an improved model from Boeing, teaming a new airframe with an improved radar, cockpit, electronic warfare suite and the ability to carry more missiles, bringing in upgrades that have been developed for the F-15s sold to Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

Late last year, Bloomberg reported that the Air Force was planning to request $1.2 billion for 12 of the fourth-generation jets in the 2020 budget request. The report said the aircraft would go to the Air National Guard to replace the olders F-15Cs, which date to the 1980s.

And that age is why the Air Force is looking at a new variant. The service currently has about 230 F-15C and D model aircraft in service. However, Goldfein acknowledged those aircraft don’t have the lifespan to make it to 2030 like other current fourth-generation aircraft, such as the F-15E, the F-16 and A-10.

“It [has] performed brilliantly, but the cost growth runs to a point to where you’re spending too much money," Goldfein said.

The Air Force’s decision to buy new F-15s came as a surprise late last year, as Air Force leadership had previously pushed back on the Boeing sales pitch. As recently as September 2018, Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson said that the Air Force needed to prioritize buying fifth-generation aircraft.

"We are currently 80 percent fourth-gen aircraft and 20 percent fifth-generation aircraft,” she said at the time. "In any of the fights that we have been asked to plan for, more fifth-gen aircraft make a huge difference, and we think that getting to 50-50 means not buying new fourth-gen aircraft, it means continuing to increase the fifth generation.”

But, Goldfein said Saturday that the decision to possibly refresh the F-15 fleet comes down to the need for more fighters in service, regardless of generation.

“They complement each other,” he said. “They each make each other better.”

When asked if that meant compromising for quantity over quality, he said that would not be the case.

“We’ve got to refresh the F-15C fleet because I can’t afford to not have that capacity to do the job and the missions.” Goldfein explained. “That’s what this is all about. If we’re refreshing the F-15C fleet, as we’re building up the F-35 fleet, this is not about any kind of a trade.”

He added that Air Force needs to buy 72 fighters a year to get to the amount they need in the future — and to drive average aircraft age down from 28 years to 15 years. And while Goldfein might want all 72 to be fifth generation F-35s, budgetary concerns likely won’t let that happen.

“If we had the money, those would be 72 F-35s. But we’ve gotta look at this from a cost/business case.” he explained. “An F-15 will never be an F-35. Never. But I need capacity.”

https://www.defensenews.com/newsletters ... air-force/
 
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Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

Mon Jan 28, 2019 3:22 pm

Ozair wrote:
It is hard to see how a USAF acquisition of F-15Xs can be justified as costing less than F-35s. Even more confusing is the USAF needed 72 new fighter jets a year to lower the overall fleet age but dropped the F-35 production rate from 80 a year to 60. Then Goldfein makes it very clear that he wants more F-35s over anything else...


There is one thing that we have not thought about when discussing F-35 ramp-up. You are right when you question why the Air Force reduce the rate from 80 to 60 a year. If it money related, then one can not say that they have enough money to buy enough F-35. Given that they have reduce the rate to 60 a year, the question is can they increase to a desired rate to meet the short term need with all 5th generation fighters?

You have to look at the skin material for the F-35 vs the F-15. I believe the F-35 skin is a special high temperature composite. Now, the question is "is there enough autoclaves out there to build these types of composite"? Remember, Boeing is in all out composite production mode for their 787 and 777-x and many sub-tier supplier are running their auto claves at capacity to support those programs. Again it may not make a difference as the type qualified autoclaves to build the F-35 skins may be specialized and does not impact other composite manufacturer's capacity.

So if you are to ramp up production and built X more autoclaves, is there business case to build for the short term and risk not having enough business in the long term? The Air Force can throw money at Lockheed to ramp up their production, and some here say there should be enough money to do it. My question is do they have enough autoclave capacity and if not, how long, how much money and how much risk are they willing to take up to build new autoclaves for the short term and have overcapacity in the long term?

bt
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Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

Tue Jan 29, 2019 12:22 am

No, I don’t think industrial capacity for production rate of F-35s is the issue here and there is sound logic to support that position.

If you look at the F-35 2018 SAR I linked further up the USN stops buying F-35B/C in 2032. That takes 45 aircraft the line is producing from 2021-2030 out of the production schedule. If production capacity were an issue then the USAF could have increased their buy from that year to compensate for the lower earlier years and there would have been more than sufficient industrial capacity.

Given the additional orders long after the USAF made their reduction that have come from Japan, Belgium, expected from Singapore as well as Canada, Finland, Switzerland competitions occurring and delivering in the 2025 time period there is plenty of line growth as well as incentive for LM and the USAF to spend a little extra cash to get the rate they desire.

Why the rate was reduced is almost certainly money, preventing an increased rate for the USAF whether from production funding or from base establishment/transition/training funding. From the DefenseNews article they were factoring a US$700 billion budget (still higher than expectations in 2016 when the 80 to 60 reduction occurred), were then told US$730 billion (obviously Pentagon all up) which has likely gone back to US$700 again.
I see two potential alternate scenarios around an F-15X acquisition.
1- It could very well be pilot conversion training backlog that is preventing more F-35 aircrew being available to fly the jets coming off the production line. The current training pipeline may only be able to support 60 new aircraft a year.
2- Perhaps the USAF is hoping Congress will baulk at the prospect of buying more 4th gen aircraft and instead fund the required F-35A the USAF really wants, especially in the context that the F-35 has very wide congressional appeal given its vast US supplier base across most of the country.
 
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Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

Tue Jan 29, 2019 2:04 pm

From the latest article quoting the Air Force general, it looks like they ARE increasing the F-35 rate. Just not enough. If it's not capacity, then it has to be money or ASAT. There has to be a reason why this proposal is getting more traction.

The ideas of not enough pilots is also intriguing. Just to show that there may be more factors in the decision than we know and dismissing the F-15X as a bad idea out right may show how little we know in their planning process.

bt
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Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

Tue Jan 29, 2019 4:54 pm

    Actually I think the way to rationalize why the $1.2 bil goes to the F-15X as opposed to getting more F-35 is to consider the F-15X is a short term funding that may or may not be there in the near future. To increase the F-35 rate is a long term endeavor that requires long term commitment. So it make sense to have all the "confirmed" long term funding committed to the F-35 but have any short term extras be placed on the F-15X where Boeing does not need long term commitment as they already have it with the foreign sale. So if congress decide to pull the budget in the future, you are not face with as big a contractual penalty or upheaval to your schedule.

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

    Tue Jan 29, 2019 5:10 pm

    IIRC, there is a congressional mandate for force structure for the USAF. I will try to find it or the reference. But the bottom line is the money goes further purchasing F-15X vs the F-35. The F-15X is needed to replace the C/D fleet over time so the purchase fulfills two requirements at the same time.
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    Ozair
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    Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

    Tue Jan 29, 2019 8:53 pm

    bikerthai wrote:
    From the latest article quoting the Air Force general, it looks like they ARE increasing the F-35 rate. Just not enough. If it's not capacity, then it has to be money or ASAT. There has to be a reason why this proposal is getting more traction.

    The USAF rate is increasing as per the SAR, 48 aircraft in 2019 and 2020 and then 54 in 2021 and 2022 before 60 from 2023 but it also increases as Congress continues to add more F-35 to every year’s budget.

    I fully expect Congress to fund additional airframes this year and continue to do so every year the rate stays at 60. It will be interesting to see what happens when the USAF can participate in the multi-year bulk buys, how much more the price will drop and if the rate will stay at that 60 a year.

    bikerthai wrote:
    The ideas of not enough pilots is also intriguing. Just to show that there may be more factors in the decision than we know and dismissing the F-15X as a bad idea out right may show how little we know in their planning process.

    bt

    I get the impression the USAF doesn’t understand the planning process, at least from a Pentagon point of view… Given what Goldfein said it appears likely that F-15X, if it actually gets ordered, will be almost as much a surprise to them as it was to us.

    mmo wrote:
    IIRC, there is a congressional mandate for force structure for the USAF. I will try to find it or the reference.

    I would be interested to read the congressional mandate for USAF force structure.

    mmo wrote:
    But the bottom line is the money goes further purchasing F-15X vs the F-35. The F-15X is needed to replace the C/D fleet over time so the purchase fulfills two requirements at the same time.

    How does F-15X money go further than purchasing F-35? The USAF already operates the F-35 (by the end of this year in greter numbers than the F-15C/D) while it does not operate the derivative F-15X, which is distinct enough from the F-15C/D to make it a non-simple acquisition given the different avionics, radars, pylons, EW systems etc.

    Also what two requirements are fulfilled? The replacement of F-15C/D doesn’t need to be another F-15, especially given the USAF has already indicated they would be happy with AESA modified F-16s to replace F-15C/Ds in Guard units. Goldfein made it clear he wanted the F-15C/D fleet replaced but was essentially ambivalent on the replacement as long as it didn’t interrupt F-35 acquisition.

    We are approaching the time now though where we will get an idea of what the Pentagon are after.

    The 2020 defense budget and number of F-15X's the DOD could buy are still up in the air until the Pentagon submits its request on Feb. 4.

    https://www.investors.com/news/boeing-f ... heed-f-35/
     
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    Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

    Tue Jan 29, 2019 10:32 pm

    Ozair wrote:
    How does F-15X money go further than purchasing F-35?


    If you are talking about training pilots, then you do not need as much training to get a C/D pilot into a -X vs a -35. :scratchchin:

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

    Tue Jan 29, 2019 11:35 pm

    bikerthai wrote:
    Ozair wrote:
    How does F-15X money go further than purchasing F-35?


    If you are talking about training pilots, then you do not need as much training to get a C/D pilot into a -X vs a -35. :scratchchin:

    bt

    Probably, but I wasn’t sure if that was what he was referencing. The flip side of that is the F-15X is going to cost more to operate per hour than the F-35 so does that cost equation even out over the longer term anyway? As with most of these issues, the problem often comes down to the DoD being restricted on what money they can shuffle from the respective budgets. It is very hard to transfer acquisition money to fund O&M and vice versa.
     
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    Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

    Wed Jan 30, 2019 5:03 am

    I hope they aren't seriously considering acquiring the F-15X at a rate of one per month...

    Looks like everyone is on the same page that this does not represent a threat to the F-35. Also noting it is contingent on the funding being available, I would hazard it may be one of the first items cut if the budget gets tight given the USAF’s acquisition priorities remain F-35, B-21 and KC-46.


    Lockheed CEO: Boeing’s F-15X won’t disrupt F-35 program

    Lockheed Martin has been given assurances by top Pentagon leaders that the F-35 program will not be negatively impacted by a potential U.S. Air Force buy of Boeing’s F-15X, Lockheed CEO Marillyn Hewson said Tuesday.

    “If they choose to have an order of the F-15, it won’t be at the expense of F-35 quantities,” she told investors during an earnings call.

    “I'm hearing that directly from leadership in the Pentagon, and I think that's an important point for me to make. It's not just our suspicion, but I've been told that directly.”

    The U.S. Air Force is expected to roll out a plan to begin buying new F-15s in its upcoming fiscal 2020 budget release. In December, Bloomberg reported the service intends to purchase 12 new F-15X aircraft in 2020 for $1.2 billion.

    On Friday, Gen. Dave Goldfein, the Air Force’s chief of staff, confirmed to Defense News that the service will procure new F-15s if the budget grows enough to allow it, but that the F-35 program of record would remain the same with no slowdown to the buy rate.

    “I’m not backing an inch off of the F-35” Goldfein said. “The F-35 buy that we’re on continues to remain on track. And I’m not interested in taking a nickel out of it when it comes to buying anything else in the fighter portfolio.”

    Goldfein added that the Air Force wants to increase fighter procurement to 72 aircraft a year.

    The Air Force has about 230 F-15 "C" and "D" models currently in service, and the F-15X will replace the portion of the fleet owned by the Air National Guard, according to Bloomberg. The new F-15 model will have new radar and electronic warfare equipment, the ability to carry more weapons, and include other improvements originally designed for Saudi Arabia’s and Qatar’s F-15s.

    If the service maintained a rate of one F-15X a month, it would be free to boost its F-35 production rate to 60 aircraft a year — a number that Air Force officials had cited as key for production ramp up. However, the FY19 budget forecast showed that the service would likely be unable to procure the F-35 in those quantities before FY23.

    “If we had the money, those would be 72 F-35s. But we’ve gotta look at this from a cost/business case.” Goldfein said. “An F-15 will never be an F-35. Never. But I need capacity.”

    Hewson’s statement indicates that support for the F-35 continues to be strong both within the Air Force and among Pentagon leaders. However, earlier on Tuesday, acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan told reporters he wants to see “more performance” from the F-35, although he did not specify particular areas of improvement.

    “I am biased towards giving the taxpayer their moneys’ worth. And the F-35, unequivocally, I can say has a lot of opportunity for more performance,” said Shanahan, a former Boeing executive.

    When investors asked Hewson to respond to Shanahan’s critique, the Lockheed CEO said the company remains on the same page with the Pentagon on the need to reduce the cost per plane.

    “We’re on a path to drive it to an $80 million [unit cost] for the F-35A by full-rate production,” which is projected to begin in Lot 15 with deliveries starting in 2023, Hewson said.

    “So as long as we stay on our procurement rate plan — which by all accounts we’re going to continue to ramp up at the rate that we envisioned — then we’re going to continue to drive the price down."

    https://www.defensenews.com/industry/20 ... 5-program/
     
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    Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

    Wed Jan 30, 2019 8:06 am

    https://www.cbo.gov/publication/51535 This is the latest planning document I could find.

    Someone asked about the F-15X money going further. First of all, the acquisition cost is cheaper than an F-35, training is chaeper, more capability when compared to the C/D versions. Not a hard concept to grasp.
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    Ozair
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    Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

    Wed Jan 30, 2019 11:25 am

    mmo wrote:
    https://www.cbo.gov/publication/51535 This is the latest planning document I could find.

    Thanks


    mmo wrote:
    Someone asked about the F-15X money going further. First of all, the acquisition cost is cheaper than an F-35, training is chaeper, more capability when compared to the C/D versions. Not a hard concept to grasp.

    Not sure where you have gathered that info but it isn't correct. The F-15X has been proposed at twelve aircraft for a flyaway cost of US$1.2 billion. They have also sold less capable aircraft to Qatar and Saudi for significantly more than US$120 million per copy. The X would have additional systems that isn't going to reduce the cost of the aircraft compared to those acquisitions. Additionally, the production rate proposed doesn't lend itself to a lower acquisition cost. Compared to that the F-35 will exceed 130 aircraft delivered next year and will do so with a flyaway cost of US$89 million or less, likely closer to US$85 million. There is no way Boeing is building an F-15X with everything proposed for less than US$90 million.

    Not sure why training is cheaper, the aircraft uses more fuel than the F-35, the same number of aircrew, both have existing training pipelines and by 2022 the USAF will have more F-35s in service than all F-15s combined. The F-35 also has significantly higher fidelity simulators that allow more training hours with significantly more realistic or challenging scenarios that can better prepare aircrew for high end conflict.

    While the F-15X has more capability than the C/Ds it still has the same issues of being an airframe the USAF has clearly stated is not their preference and will cost more to run in the long run than that same funding used to acquire F-35s.

    The issue remains, where is the funding coming for this acquisition that couldn't be allocated to what the USAF actually wants?
     
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    Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

    Wed Jan 30, 2019 11:44 am

    Maybe for the IAF?
     
    mmo
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    Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

    Wed Jan 30, 2019 1:21 pm

    Ozair wrote:
    Not sure why training is cheaper, the aircraft uses more fuel than the F-35, the same number of aircrew, both have existing training pipelines and by 2022 the USAF will have more F-35s in service than all F-15s combined. The F-35 also has significantly higher fidelity simulators that allow more training hours with significantly more realistic or challenging scenarios that can better prepare aircrew for high end conflict.

    While the F-15X has more capability than the C/Ds it still has the same issues of being an airframe the USAF has clearly stated is not their preference and will cost more to run in the long run than that same funding used to acquire F-35s.

    The issue remains, where is the funding coming for this acquisition that couldn't be allocated to what the USAF actually wants?


    1) The training footprint at the RTU will be much shorter as you are not flying the aircraft for the first time, thus a much shorter training cost which becomes less expensive.
    2) The airframe is different than the C/D. The weak areas in the airframe have been addresses that is why Boeing is quoting a lower total life cost for the F-15X.
    3) Upgrading fidelity in simulators is, in the larger scheme of things not a big cost.
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    Planeflyer
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    Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

    Wed Jan 30, 2019 1:44 pm

    Investing more inn15x is totally wrong headed. 15x is a commodity.

    Better to leverage all the investment in uas and sensor fusion to roll out loyal wingman type AC to carry more stores.

    Don’t do what easily replicated when you can do what can’t be.
     
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    Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

    Wed Jan 30, 2019 2:55 pm

    seahawk wrote:
    Maybe for the IAF?


    F-15 for the IAF is in a different budget (Foreing Aid) and already in the pipeline.

    bt
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    Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

    Wed Jan 30, 2019 2:57 pm

    Planeflyer wrote:
    Investing more inn15x is totally wrong headed. 15x is a commodity.

    Better to leverage all the investment in uas and sensor fusion to roll out loyal wingman type AC to carry more stores.

    Don’t do what easily replicated when you can do what can’t be.

    [twoid][/twoid]

    All than will no way be ready by 2040.

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

    Wed Jan 30, 2019 7:13 pm

    bikerthai wrote:
    Planeflyer wrote:
    Investing more inn15x is totally wrong headed. 15x is a commodity.

    Better to leverage all the investment in uas and sensor fusion to roll out loyal wingman type AC to carry more stores.

    Don’t do what easily replicated when you can do what can’t be.

    [twoid][/twoid]

    All than will no way be ready by 2040.

    bt


    I would have said 2030 but this just an estimate. The sensor fusion and communication hardware and software are the gaiting items and this work is largely complete.
     
    Ozair
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    Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

    Thu Jan 31, 2019 2:22 am

    mmo wrote:

    1) The training footprint at the RTU will be much shorter as you are not flying the aircraft for the first time, thus a much shorter training cost which becomes less expensive.

    To an extent I agree because all you cover there is conversion training. You aren’t covering new aircrew training unless you decree that only existing F-15 qualed aircrew convert to the X.

    The other side of it is how much training you give these aircrew. While they aren’t flying the F-15 for the first time few F-15C/D aircrew have A2G experience. The F-15X, being significantly more capable than a C/D, is only so when you add the A2G features. The A2A specific systems are mostly covered already (with the exception of EPAWSS which was defunded) with existing F-15C/D upgrades.

    How much training in A2G do we expect USAF F-15X aircrew, coming from existing F-15C/D squadrons, to get?

    mmo wrote:
    2) The airframe is different than the C/D. The weak areas in the airframe have been addresses that is why Boeing is quoting a lower total life cost for the F-15X.

    Sure, how likely it is that the USAF will fly the aircraft to that life though? Boeing are promising a 20,000 hour service life but at 300 hours a year that is 66 years… The USAF already doesn’t want to operate any more 4th gen fighters so offering that life time on the airframe seems pointless to me and the USAF pay for that service life through the upfront price. The offset to that sticker cost is it almost certainly delivers higher availability and more overall capability to ANG units.

    mmo wrote:
    3) Upgrading fidelity in simulators is, in the larger scheme of things not a big cost.

    Well in the F-15X case you have to buy new simulators anyway. The cockpit and systems are clearly different enough you will need a new simulator. While you can dial up the fidelity on that you are paying more on the side for ancillary systems that may not be apparent to the “Boeing will sell F-15Xs cheap to the USAF” reporting media. I imagine that is where Boeing expects to make real margin on this sale, not the airframe but all the side systems required to actually operate the aircraft.
     
    Planeflyer
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    Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

    Thu Jan 31, 2019 2:42 am

    I think the big cost is operating non stealth ac in modern contested environments. However improved the x it is still limited by the mid 70’s shape and rd electronics has since improved by at least an order of magnitude and if you could factor in cost which means units fielded maybe 2 orders of magnitude.

    No 4 th gen fighter can survive long and that means the loss of the most rare of resources, trained pilots.
     
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    Re: USAF Considering New Build F-15X

    Thu Jan 31, 2019 2:24 pm

    Planeflyer wrote:
    I think the big cost is operating non stealth ac in modern contested environments. However improved the x it is still limited by the mid 70’s shape and rd electronics has since improved by at least an order of magnitude and if you could factor in cost which means units fielded maybe 2 orders of magnitude.


    The consensus here is that the X would not be at the front end of any day attack. Buying the X only make sense over the existing C/D is the added capability of 24 AA missiles and the huge radar, which evens the field a little when you are up against quantities of opponents or cruise missiles.

    bt
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    Accidents Accident, incident and crash related photos

    Air to Air Photos taken by airborne photographers of airborne aircraft

    Special Paint Schemes Aircraft painted in beautiful and original liveries

    Airport Overviews Airport overviews from the air or ground

    Tails and Winglets Tail and Winglet closeups with beautiful airline logos