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Old School Jet Retooled to Slay Stealth Fighters

Discussion in 'Modern Warfare' started by SpArK, Jan 15, 2011.

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  1. SpArK

    SpArK SorCeroR Staff Member ADMINISTRATOR

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    Old School Jet Retooled to Slay Stealth Fighters


    [​IMG]
    F-15 and F-22


    It’s been just three weeks since China unveiled its new J-20 stealth fighter, and already the U.S. Air Force has plans well underway to defeat the mysterious plane from Chengdu.

    No, the Pentagon won’t be buying more F-22 Raptors from Lockheed Martin. Instead, the U.S. military’s main flying branch has turned to an older jet that, with upgrades, could prove to be an even better J-20-killer than the newer, more expensive F-22. That’s right: the Boeing F-15 Eagle, one of the stars of the 1991 Gulf War, is quickly shaping up as America’s main countermeasure to China’s new fighter for the next 20 years.

    To be fair, the F-15 and F-22 (and, later, the F-35) will probably usually work in teams. But the F-15, with its better sensors, could prove to be the backbone for U.S. and allied forces in any Pacific dogfight.

    The magic is all in the Eagle’s nose. Compared to the angular, stealthy F-22, the totally non-stealth F-15 has a more capacious nosecone that can carry a larger radar. The larger the radar, the more likely it is to detect the J-20, despite that plane’s potentially very small frontal radar cross-section. The F-15 also routinely carries more fuel and missiles than the F-22.


    The Pentagon has begun fitting new, electronically scanned Raytheon APG-63(V)3 radars to around 175 F-15Cs dating from the 1980s. In a few years, the 220 ’90s-vintage F-15Es — normally optimized for ground attack, but also capable of air combat — will get new APG-82(V)4 radars, also from Raytheon.

    To pay for this electronic transformation, the Pentagon has set aside some of the roughly $34 billion it will save by shutting down several redundant Air Force headquarters and command centers and delaying production of the troubled F-35 stealth fighter-bomber.

    The F-15 initiative was important enough to warrant mention in Secretary of Defense Robert Gates’ announcement of Pentagon cost-cutting measures last week. Gates said the modernized F-15s would be “viable well into the future.†That might come as a surprise to some observers, considering that just three years ago, an F-15C disintegrated in mid-air, nearly killing the pilot. After that accident, some observers declared the F-15 unfit for duty, for reasons of age.

    But the Air Force determined that a poorly made part, rather than age, caused the F-15 disintegration — and that with repairs and good maintenance, F-15Cs could keep flying until at least 2025, and E-models until 2035. “But those are just planning factors,†said Col. Gerald Swift, the Air Force’s top F-15 maintainer. “Right now, there is nothing life-limiting on the F-15. It is a very well-designed platform.â€

    The sprawling U.S. Air Force base in Okinawa, Japan, will be the main home of the modernized F-15s. The first batch of F-15Cs with the new (V)3 radars arrived in December. By 2013, there will be 54 improved F-15Cs at the Pacific outpost, flying alongside a rotating force of 12-18 F-22s.

    The Air Force is working on new tactics to blend the F-15s and F-22s into a single team. As currently envisioned, the F-15s would fly with extra fuel tanks and AMRAAM missiles and with radars blaring, while the F-22s, carrying less gas and fewer missiles, would turn off their radar and sneak up on the enemy for ninja-style jabs. “Our objective is to fly in front with the F-22s, and have the persistence to stay there while the [F-22s] are conducting their [low-observable] attack,†Maj. Todd Giggy, an F-15 pilot, told Aviation Week.

    This teaming will get a big boost starting in 2014, when the Air Force finally installs secure data links on the F-22, allowing it to covertly swap targeting info with other planes. Even then, the F-15 will have a better radar and more weapons and endurance, making it the Pentagon’s preferred J-20-killer — and the biggest reason why the United States hasn’t yet lost control of the airspace over the Pacific.


    Old School Jet Retooled to Slay Stealth Fighters | Danger Room | Wired.com
     
  2. Tshering22

    Tshering22 Captain SENIOR MEMBER

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    Told you that the main counter to stealth in US plan would be tweaking an existing technology smartly. Because currently they don't have the leverage to keep going more and more advanced as F-22 and JSF have been insane on their pockets. I said this before and I will say this again: F-15 Silent Eagle will be the backbone of future USAF with 200 Raptors MAX as specialized aircraft and F-35 as F-16 replacement.
     
  3. Dilemma

    Dilemma Captain SENIOR MEMBER

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    How much did Boeing pay Wired for this article?
    The chances of USA buying the F-15SE, especially after the J-20 being revealed, is as close to none.
     
  4. RoYaN

    RoYaN Lt. Colonel ELITE MEMBER

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    Its either the F-22 or F-15SE that will be the plane assigned to get air superiority as the F-35 capabilities or the lack of it are well known.
    So its a mater of costs If they have more money they will go for F-22,if not SE is the plane for the immediate future......
     
  5. Tshering22

    Tshering22 Captain SENIOR MEMBER

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    US might want to buy the Death Star for all that matters. The problem is, can they buy the Raptors even now? That would again cost a bomb considering that they must re-open the production lines all over again. Also considering that US ain't selling the raptor to anyone, it will have to order at least 200 more to get it to sane level. Which means after re-opening the production line, a Raptor's cost could be equal to an A380 by now.

    USAF has almost no option but Silent Eagle. The J-20 has an impressive design with some major visible problems that would compromise stealth. However, the US seriously cannot go overboard just by looking at a design. That is so not USA. Silent Eagle is the cheapest stealth option it can buy. And as per what Boeing says that the frontal signature of the SE is equal to F-35's I think getting large numbers of SEs to replace the older F-15 variants is the only reasonable choice.
     
  6. Dilemma

    Dilemma Captain SENIOR MEMBER

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    The F-15SE has stealth features only looking at it from a frontal aspect. From the sides, no matter how many RAM coatings you apply, it will still be quite detectable. The F-22 line was kept in storage and not completely dismantled in case of emergency situations it can be opened up and start producing jets in lesser times.

    The F-35 even though facing cost overruns is the answer. The sales potential of that plane is insane. With bulk orders being received, the cost will go down significantly. People brand it as being bulky but with the avionics suite it has, it doesn't need to be pulling cobras.
     
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