Blast From the Past: Why the New F-15X Could Dominate the Skies

 In Air, Air, Americas, Asia, Central, China, China, Contractors, Defense, EU, Europe, GCC, GDI, Israel, Land, Russia, Sea, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army

It will also feature the relatively low, low price of $27,000 per flight hour to fly, compared to the $35,000 it costs to fly the Raptor for an hour.

The U.S. Air Force has been secretly organizing a plan to replace its F-15 C/D fleet with brand spanking new F-15X Eagle air superiority fighters, the Drive  reported on Wednesday. This move could take the heat off of the service’s handful of F-22 Raptors or make up for F-35 shortcomings — and cushion the  expenses involved  in operating and maintaining two 5th-generation fighters.

(This first appeared mid last year.)

Originally commissioned in the mid-’70s to take on  Soviet hordes over the skies of Europe , the Eagle has become a staple in the warzones of the Middle East and Central Asia. The age of the Air Force’s  200-plus Eagle fighters  has been a cause for concern — especially as they age faster than F-35s are getting operational.

The F-35 is a Swiss army knife of an aircraft, laden with stealth features and air-to-ground missions, making it a  less capable dogfighter  than the F-15 in close quarters. And if the F-35 is used as a stand-off missile-hauler, carrying a full complement of 16 air-to-air missiles on external pylons, it  loses the stealth characteristics  that make it so valuable (and pricey).

The F-15, on the other hand, is arguably the  king of 4th-gen air to air fighters.  Boeing has continued to refine the internal avionics of the Eagle, exporting upgraded variants to  IsraelSaudi Arabia , and  Qatar. The proposed F-15X would be able to hold 22 air-to-air missiles, and would slide right into the systems already in place to field and service the F-15 C/D fleet. The F-15X’s weapons loadout would make it a beast in any “Beyond Visual Range” fight, and in the age of China’s anti-access/area denial strategy or A2/D2, BVR  will be  the name  of the game  in the opening phase of any hypothetical conflict in Asia.

The F-15X will feature a new pylon system allowing it to handle heavier weapons loads, upgraded electronic warfare suites, an electronically scanned radar array, and even a sweet  new multi-function sensor  known as the “Legion Pod.” It will also feature the relatively low, low price of  $27,000 per flight hour  to fly, compared to the  $35,000 it costs  to fly the Raptor for an hour.

In the  novel Ghost Fleet , reliance on 5th-gen fighters paints Uncle Sam into a corner when a war kicks off with China and Russia in the Pacific. In this nightmare scenario, the U.S. Air Force pulls retired F-15s out of bone-yards to supplement the skeleton fleet of F-22s and F-35s that survived the surprise attack.

Well, at least that’s  one war scenario we can actually preempt now.

This article originally appeared at Task & Purpose. Follow Task & Purpose on Twitter .

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Source: National Interest

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