So at $137 million a copy, they are not the cheapest things in the air, but their capabilities cannot be denied. Plus they can fly supersonic without melting...
Maybe the folks in Washington are waking up to the reality that the F-35 has left a gaping hole in our capabilities to fight in a real shooting war. $1.5 Trillion could have purchased 10,500 F-15EX with spare change enough to fuel and maintain them for a few years.
What the Air Force is getting with its new F-15EX fighter
Blake Stilwell, Military.com May 8, 2020, 1:44 PM
The Pentagon is spending $1.1 billion for eight new F-15EX fighter jets.
The F-15EX is a fourth-generation-plus aircraft, meaning it's more advanced than previous F-15s but doesn't have the same features as fifth-generation aircraft like the F-35. The Pentagon is set to buy the first of Boeing's new fourth-gen plus F-15EX fighters. The new purchase will cost the government $1.1 billion for eight of the new aircraft, with more buys to come in later years.
For those wondering why the Air Force would opt to buy an upgraded version of an older fighter instead of more modern, stealth fighters like the F-35, you aren't alone. Even the Air Force was surprised to find out it was getting the F-15EX, let alone 144 of them. Eventually, the F-15EX will replace the aging F-15C/D, and those aircraft will be decommissioned.
The Air Force currently flies 235 aging F-15C/Ds that were in line to either be decommissioned or upgraded. Instead of spending money on those, the Air Force will simply buy newer models.
Boeing has been selling different versions of the plane to countries like Kuwait and South Korea, rolling out newer models as time went on. It was foreign sales and development of those nifty new upgrades that kept the F-15 program alive, says Bloomberg's Anthony Capaccio.
Even though the F-15 first appeared in the mid-1970s, today's F-15 is a lot more advanced than the ones first delivered to the USAF in 1974.
The Eagles of today have stronger airframes, more powerful processors and advanced flight control systems than any the Air Force still flies, according to the Congressional Research Service (CRS). What's new to the F-15EX is an advanced radar and other subsystems that other countries' Eagles don't get. About 30% of the American F-15EX would be unique to the US military, they note.
According to Air Force Magazine, "The new airplanes would have a substantially more powerful mission computer, new cockpit displays, a digital backbone, and the Eagle Passive Active Warning Survivability System (EPAWSS) — an electronic warfare and threat identification system."
There's a good reason other Air Forces around the world still fly F-15s, even without US technology: they've never lost in combat. This is a pretty big deal — especially if the enemy isn't flying F-15s.
In the unlikely event that an enemy combatant is flying the same F-15, there's no need to worry. The US version of the F-15 is different from those sold to others, the CRS says.
Upgrading F-15s also won't change operational strategy, as the older airframe is supposed to compliment the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, not replace it, as Wired's Eric Adams pointed out, citing a side-by-side comparison from Air Force Magazine.
The F-35 enters enemy airspace to identify and engage targets, with superior stealth and sensor technology, says the CRS.
F-35s carry weapons in an internal bay to maintain its radar stealth profile. Each F-15EX, in contrast, can carry nearly 30,000 pounds of air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons. The F-35 can only carry 5,700 pounds, according to F-35 manufacturer Lockheed-Martin.
Though the Air Force calls the F-35 a "battlefield quarterback," you can think of it as the Air Force's sniper and spotter combo: the F-35 sees the enemy coming as the F-15 takes them down.
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Originally posted by Toomany Tools: As a retired USAF Aircraft Maintenance Officer, with most of my time as an “Eaglekeeper” I can only imagine the futility of trying to support only 8 of any kind of fighter. A truly pointless endeavor.
The USAF will get about 300 of them when it's all said and done. An attempt to make up for the 450+ F22's we should have bought.