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Sujet: F-15SE Silent Eagle Mer 18 Mar 2009 - 2:22
Rappel du premier message :
Boeing Unveils Stealth F-15SE Silent Eagle for International Customers News >> Military Aviation >> Announcements Released on Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Boeing Unveils New International F-15 Configuration -- the F-15SE ST. LOUIS, March 17, 2009 -- The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] today in St. Louis unveiled the F-15 Silent Eagle (F-15SE), a new F-15 configuration designed to meet the future needs of international customers.
"The F-15 Silent Eagle is designed to meet our international customers' anticipated need for cost-effective stealth technologies, as well as for large and diverse weapons payloads," said Mark Bass, F-15 Program vice president for Boeing. "The innovative Silent Eagle is a balanced, affordable approach designed to meet future survivability needs."
Improvements in stealth include coatings and treatments on the aircraft. With the added advantage of redesigned conformal fuel tanks (CFTs) that allow for internal weapons carriage, the Silent Eagle becomes a very attractive fighter for Boeing's international customers.
Depending on the specific mission, the customer can use the CFTs that are designed for internal carriage or change back to the traditional CFTs for optimum fuel capacity and external weapons carriage. The Silent Eagle will be able to internally carry air-to-air missiles such as the AIM-9 and AIM-120 and air-to-ground weapons such as the Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) and Small Diameter Bomb (SDB). The standard weapons load used on current versions of the F-15 is available with the traditional CFTs installed.
The aircraft's canted vertical tails improve aerodynamic efficiency, provide lift, and reduce airframe weight. Another aerodynamic improvement is the Digital Flight Control System, which improves the aircraft's reliability and reduces airframe weight.
Survivability improvements include a BAES Digital Electronic Warfare System (DEWS) working in concert with the Raytheon Advanced Electronic Scanning Array (AESA) radar.
Boeing has completed a conceptual prototype of the CFT internal-carriage concept, and plans to flight-test a prototype by the first quarter of 2010, including a live missile launch.
The design, development, and test of this internal carriage system are available as a collaborative project with an international aerospace partner.
ps: J'ai pas reussi a poster les photos mais ca vaut le detour Yak, tu vas tomber amoureux de cette aigle .
Sujet: eagle Jeu 24 Mar 2011 - 17:42
tu veux dire que le E est pour EAGLE , mais toutes les versions sont des EAGLE , sauf que le STIRKE est conçu pour des
attaques au sol .
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Sujet: Re: F-15SE Silent Eagle Jeu 24 Mar 2011 - 19:06
Yak la version E n'était pas celle qui avait la capacité look down shoot down et qui a été renommé strike eagle ?
Sujet: Re: F-15SE Silent Eagle Jeu 24 Mar 2011 - 19:34
F-15 A/B/C/D EAGLE
F-15 E Stike Eagle
F-15 Streak Eagle (pour battre les record)
F-15 SE Silent Eagle (Semi-Furtif)
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Sujet: Re: F-15SE Silent Eagle Jeu 24 Mar 2011 - 19:37
oui Strike Eagle mea culpa
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Exclusive: Unmasking The F-15X, Boeing's F-15C/D Eagle Replacement Fighter
Boeing and the USAF have been in talks for a year and a half about replacing the aging F-15C/D with a brand new advanced Eagle derivative, the F-15X.
Last week, the aerospace-defense community was overwhelmingly intrigued by a report from Defenseone.com that said Boeing was pitching a new variant of its 45-year-old F-15 Eagle line of fighters to the United States Air Force. Still, next to nothing is known about this initiative, including where it came from and what it entails exactly. Although it has been framed as a Boeing solicitation to the USAF, the opposite is actually true—the USAF began the discussion over a year and a half ago. Since then, ongoing talks have been kept incredibly hush-hush, along with the details of the aircraft involved—until now.
According to sources familiar with the discussions, The War Zone has learned about the F-15X's origins, its intended capabilities and features, and where it would fit inside the USAF's tactical airpower ecosystem.
USAF Looks Back To The Future
The F-15X came out of a quiet USAF inquiry to Boeing and Lockheed Martin about fielding an aircraft that could seamlessly plug into their existing air combat infrastructure as part of better-defined high-low capability mix strategy—one intended to specifically help counter the service's shrinking force structure.
The airframe would have to be cost-effective both in terms of operation and acquisition, very low-risk, and most of all, it would need to be non-disruptive to the larger F-35 procurement initiative. If anything else, it had to be seen as complementary to the F-35, not as an alternative to it.
The USAF has not procured a 4th generation fighter since 2001. This was over 15 years before the discussions that led to the F-15X began. For a decade and a half, USAF brass had been adamant about only buying stealthy 5th generation fighters to fill out its tactical jet ranks. Even upgrading or retaining existing and battle-proven fighter platforms was in question early in the current decade as the service was myopically focused on stabilizing the F-35 program. Tightened defense budgets under sequester didn't help with the situation, either.
As time moved on, it became clear that the F-35 might not be the USAF's one-size-fits-all solution some thought it would be. This is not a mark against the F-35, but just the reality that the USAF has tactical air power needs that don't necessitate or even benefit from the F-35's unique and costly capabilities.
So the F-15X initiative is not some cold-call Boeing pitch, it was born out of hundreds of ever-strengthening discussions between various stakeholders within USAF and the aircraft manufacturer. All parties involved had worked hard not to disclose the talks out of respect for ongoing procurement programs and the USAF's stated needs. Additionally, doing so without providing adequate detail would surely result in the F-15X being misconstrued by the press as being some huge challenger to the F-35, when that was never actually the case or the scope of the proposed initiative.
The F-15X Concept Is Born
The result of those discussions is the F-15X. Our sources describe the aircraft as a single seat variant of the latest F-15 advanced Strike Eagle derivative—the F-15QA destined for Qatar—but it will also integrate many of the features and upgrades that the USAF intends (or intended as it may be) to include on its nearly four-decade-old F-15C/D fleet. And no, the aircraft is not a repackaging of the semi-stealthy F-15 Silent Eagle concept that Boeing floated nearly a decade ago. The F-15X features no low-observable enhancements of any kind.
The F-15X configuration is impressive as it includes a flat-panel glass cockpit, JHMCS II helmet mounted display (HMD), revised internal wing structure, fly-by-wire controls, APG-82 AESA radar, activation of outer wing stations one and nine, advanced mission computer, low-profile heads-up display, updated radio and satellite communications, the highly advanced Eagle Passive Active Warning Survivability System (EPAWSS) electronic warfare and electronic surveillance suite, Legion Pod-mounted infrared search and track system (IRST) and the list goes on.
With the help of the company's new AMBER missile carrying racks, the F-15X will be able to carry a whopping 22 air-to-air missiles during a single sortie. Alternatively, it could fly with eight air-to-air missiles and 28 Small Diameter Bombs (SDBs), or up to seven 2,000lb bombs and eight air-to-air missiles. We are talking crazy weapons hauling capabilities here. Keep in mind that the F-15C/D Eagle can carry eight air-to-air missiles currently, and the penultimate Eagle variant that is currently being built, the F-15SA, can carry a dozen.
What the F-15X doesn't include is a high price. The War Zone has learned that Boeing intends to deliver the F-15X at a flyaway cost well below that of an F-35A—which runs about $95M per copy. And this is not just some attempt to grab business and then deliver an aircraft that costs way more than promised. Our sources tell us that Boeing is willing to put their money where their mouth is via offering the F-15X under a fixed priced contract. In other words, whatever the jets actually end up costing, the Pentagon will pay a fixed price—Boeing would have to eat any overages.
This is possible because the F-15 is a very known commodity as it has been in production for 45 years and has flown hundreds of thousands of hours in continuously more capable configurations. Additionally, foreign customers have paid for the jet's advanced development already, with around $5B already spent by international operations on evolving the aircraft over the last decade and a half.
Boeing is also likely apt to make the Pentagon a heck of a deal on the F-15X as it will help ensure fighter production at the company's storied St. Louis plant for years to come and it would keep the door open for additional foreign Eagle orders. It would also provide an ongoing tactical aircraft production relationship with the USAF. This relationship could also be sustained via the T-X contract that aims to replace the USAF's half-century-old T-38 Talon jet trainers, but who exactly will win that contract remains a question mark as the award isn't slated to arrive until late this Summer at the earliest.
Trading In The Old For The New
The biggest question most have about the F-15X is where would these fighters be inserted into the USAF's existing force structure? The answer to that, and the whole impetus behind the F-15X program, has been made clear to us—the jet is intended t directly replace the USAF's entire F-15C/D fleet. It would have no impact on the existing F-15E Strike Eagle fleet or its planned upgrade pathway that is underway now.
Currently, the F-15C/D force is largely arrayed along America's maritime borders, with five Air National Guard units flying the type. A squadron at RAF Lakenheath in England and two squadrons at Kadena Air Base in Japan round out the full front-line force. A small number of F-15C/Ds are also assigned to test, evaluation, and tactics development units, and a single schoolhouse based at Kingsley Field in Oregon provides "Eagle Drivers" to the fleet on roughly 235 'air superiority Eagles' in all.
The fate of the F-15C/D within the USAF ranks has been in doubt for over a year now, with the USAF evaluating if it will continue to deeply upgrade and eventually basically rebuild its existing decades-old F-15C/D force or if it will replace them entirely with upgraded F-16s. In fact, just last May, reports surfaced that indicated the USAF had all but formally announced that they will draw-down and retire the F-15C/D fleet.
Swapping F-15s for F-16s means a capability deficit in almost every regard. Even if the USAF wants to do this it will likely result in a major dogfight on Capitol Hill. But replacing the old F-15C/D fleet with drastically enhanced F-15s could alleviate this major stumbling block and prove to be a much more attractive option.
Even if the F-15X is cheaper than an F-35 and ends up being closer in price to a late-block Super Hornet (around $65M), the money will have to come from somewhere to acquire the fleet. But spending money now to acquire F-15Xs may actually save money in the long run. The USAF already intended to upgrade its F-15C/D fleet so that it could remain viable into the 2030s and possibly well beyond. Doing so would cost many millions of dollars per jet, especially if those aircraft end up needing new wings in the coming decade, which according to most accounts, they will. And then you still have an airplane that is in the back-half of its service life and costs more to keep in the air than a totally fresh jet.
The F-15X will have a 20,000 hour service life. Yes, you read that right, 20,000 hours—pretty much three times that of most fighters being produced around the globe. As such, a new F-15X can serve for roughly 80 years. When you spread the cost of the jet over all that flight time, it does appear to be a comparative bargain.
In addition, our sources tell us that F-15X cost-per-flight-hour has been deeply investigated both by Boeing and by third parties by leveraging metrics from legacy F-15 operations and those of late-model Strike Eagle derivatives and even other fighters in the USAF's inventory. The final figure is said to be around $27,000 per flight hour. This is far less than the aging F-15C/D's hourly operating cost (about $42,000 per hour) and about $6,000 more than what the USAF is paying to fly their largely middle-aged F-16 fleet today.
Compared to the F-22 or F-35 this figure is very attractive as well. Apparently, it also takes into account a single-seat, multi-role mission set similar to an F-16 and the manning demands associated with it, not just an air superiority role. And once again, because the F-15 is a known commodity, this number is not some optimistic guess.
With all this in mind, the business case for the F-15X is that the jets will pay for themselves in about a decade's time based on operational cost savings over their F-15C/D brethren—the last of which was built in 1986—alone.
The Seamless Integration And Plenty Of Production Capacity
It's also worth noting that the cost of an aircraft's development—which in this case is nothing—and its 'flyaway price' tell just part of the fiscal story. New logistics chains, centralized sustainment facilities, training squadrons, the unique infrastructure required at every base a new fighter is stationed, program offices, operational test and tactics development, weapons integration, and so on are all extremely expensive but seldom discussed aspects of introducing a new fighter aircraft. The F-15X is specifically configured to require none of this.
It slots directly into the USAF's existing Eagle infrastructure down to the using the same ground support equipment as its F-15C/D and F-15E predecessors. Even pilot training is said to be seamless, with it supposedly taking just single sortie, a bit of class work, and a couple simulator hops to convert an existing Eagle pilot over to an advanced Strike Eagle derivative. It is truly a plug-and-play concept above all else.
The F-15X could also allow current F-15C/D units to migrate to multi-role mission sets instead of the strictly air-to-air mission that they have traditionally performed. The F-15QA will be capable of deploying close to every weapon in the Pentagon's tactical fighter weapons inventory and so will the F-15X. This includes weapons like JSOW, Harpoon, and even HARM. But once again, taking on new missions can be done selectively and F-15C/D units could just as well continue concentrating on air-to-air combat exclusively.
Yet even a suppression/destruction of enemy air defenses (SEAD/DEAD) role that leverages the F-15X's powerful electronic warfare and electronic surveillance measures suites, along with new weapons like JSOW and HARM, would fold nicely into the 'Gray Eagle' community's counter-air role.
As for how quickly the USAF could obtain F-15Xs to replace its F-15C/D fleet, that is really up to the USAF. It is known that the F-15 production line is quite elastic and could scale up to dozens of jets a year if the demand was there. Currently, Saudi Arabia's Eagles are being built and/or refurbished into the F-15SA configuration and soon the first of Qatar's 36 F-15QAs will begin production. It is likely that Qatar will also execute an option for another 36 Eagles as well.
Another order for F-15s from Israel is more likely to occur than not at this point, and other prospects for export remain, from Europe to Asia. But getting the USAF back on the pages of the Eagle's order books would be a huge coup for the program and it alone could very well lead to additional foreign orders.
The Heavyweight Of Tactical Aerial Weapons Platforms
The F-15X initiative may be all about getting already available capabilities to the USAF at a low cost with next to no fuss, but in the future, the jet could play a pivotal role in supporting many of the most buzz-worthy air combat concepts being discussed by USAF today. These include man-machine teaming, in which the F-15X would play quarterback for stealthy unmanned combat air vehicles (UCAVs) that can go where even the F-35 and F-22 cannot.
The F-15X could also act as a weapons truck for stealthy fighters operating forward of their position into more highly contested airspace. This will become an especially critical capacity as ultra-long-range weaponry becomes too large for stealth fighters' weapons bays or to be carried in relevant numbers by smaller fighters.
In the decades to come, it's very likely that standoff tactical jamming support will be necessary to ensure the survivability of America's current cadre of narrow-band low-observable fighters. The E/A-18G Growler provides this to a certain degree today, but additional capability organic to the USAF could come via F-15Xs outfitted with jamming pods or conformal jamming arrays installed in modified conformal fuel tanks/fast packs. This mission could benefit from the F-15's long-endurance as well.
Directed energy weapons—namely lasers—and large surveillance sensors, and even outsized anti-ballistic missile weaponry, would be at home on the F-15X more so than virtually any other fighter. The jet's legendary ability to lug large payloads over long distances to execute standoff attacks could also be very beneficial, especially considering how vulnerable tanker aircraft are increasingly becoming—a problem that is only slated to get worse in the future. A fighter with a larger combat radius that can carry more weapons to hit more targets than its stablemates equates to enhanced survivability for tankers that support them and less dependence on them in general.
An Eagle Encore's Feasibility
As far as how serious the USAF is about actually acquiring the F-15X as an F-15C/D replacement, sources familiar with the ongoing discussions indicate that the service is very serious about it. And frankly, the powers that be need to make a decision about the F-15C/D's fate as spending billions upgrading the fleet just to retire it from service in a few years time makes no sense and is incredibly wasteful.
Above all else, the reality that the F-15X concept is actually a thing, and has been in the works for the better part of two years no less, is a promising indication that the USAF is coming to terms with the need to field a diverse mix of tactical fast-jet capabilities, with each platform bringing something special to the table. An all stealth force sounds good, but in reality, it is fiscally unsustainable and not beneficial, and even a hindrance, to many of the missions the USAF conducts on a daily basis and will continue to do so for decades to come. The Eagle's (old or new) heavy lifting and long endurance capabilities alone are somewhat indispensable in regards to where the future of air combat is headed.
In the end, when it comes to the USAF's tactical airpower needs, it needs to invest in narrow-band low-observable fighters, deep-penetrating wide-band low-observable UCAVs, and non-stealthy fighters that can lug a lot of weaponry over a good distance and/or provide economical solutions for the USAF's 'bread and butter' fighter missions. You don't need an F-35 to take out a Taliban opium lab or to sit alert duty day in and day out to guard America's sovereign airspace.
And this is what the F-15X is all about. It's a non-risk, relevant, and supposedly cost-effective solution to a lot of the USAF problems. And once again, it is not meant to compete in a big way with the F-35 program.
The recent precedent of the U.S. Navy placing substantial advanced Super Hornet orders—which can be at least partially attributed to the Trump administration's intent to spread the wealth around when it comes to Pentagon fighter procurement and its overall push for a larger defense budget—also gives additional credence to the F-15X concept.
In the case of the recent advanced Super Hornet's orders from the Navy, it's not as if the service canceled the F-35C—which will attain initial operating capability next year. It just came to terms with the fact that buying more Super Hornets now alleviates risks that have manifested themselves in the F-35 program and above all else, doing so relieves pressure on the Navy's buckling fighter fleet.
The act also helped out with alleviating USMC's own fighter woes as it allows for younger Navy F/A-18Cs to be transferred to the USMC, many of which will receive substantial upgrades of their own. And enhanced Super Hornets and F-35Cs will complement each other nicely on many levels for decades to come. In other words, both fighters can coexist in production. It doesn't have to be an 'all or nothing' proposition as so many have tried to instill over the last decade or so.
As to whether or not the USAF should actually move forward and procure the F-15X as a direct F-15C/D replacement, we'll save our analysis for an upcoming post. But the concept is certainly enticing and it is more relevant now that it would have been a decade ago when the USAF saw stealth as a threshold qualifier for nearly all front-line future fighter operations.
We will keep you in the loop as we learn more about the F-15X and its potentially bright future within the ranks of the USAF.
_________________ Les peuples ne meurent jamais de faim mais de honte.
jf16 General de Division
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L’avionneur américain Boeing annonce que le standard « Advanced » du F-15 est prêt. L’équipe d’essais en vol de l’US Air Force et de Boeing vient de terminer les essais en vol qui durés presque de cinq ans. Les équipes ont pu tester l’ensemble des nouveaux systèmes ainsi et les nouvelles commandes de vol de l'avion à Palmdale, en Californie. Plus de 15’000 points de test ont été couverts pour assurer la sécurité, la qualité et la performance.
"Croyez-moi, ce n'est pas le F-15 de votre père", a déclaré Matt Giese, pilote d'essai du F-15 de Boeing. "Ce jet n'a jamais ressemblé à cela auparavant."
Selon les premières informations concernant le nouveau modèle, Boeing annonce que les nouvelles commandes de vol électrique offre une plus grande maniabilité et des angles d'attaque plus grands. Le nouvel ordinateur de mission de combat serait le plus rapide au monde, capable de traiter 87 milliards d'instructions par seconde.
"L'intégration de technologies de pointe a rendu cette plate-forme contemporaine et prête pour le futur", a déclaré Prat Kumar, vice-président et directeur de programme, programmes Boeing F-15, "Le F-15 Advanced continuera de faire face aux menaces qui pèsent aujourd'hui, faisant de l'Eagle, une plateforme aérienne d'attaque durable. "
Le projet F-15X :
Sous la désignation de projet F-15X, la nouvelle variante du jet offre des commandes de vol plus modernes, un grand écran unique et un radar amélioré. L'avion emportera également beaucoup plus d’armes avec plus de deux douzaines de missiles air-air, soit une capacité inégalée au sein de l’USAF.
Parfaitement conscient de la situation actuelle, l’avionneur Boeing travaille sur une solution basée sur des améliorations de l’actuel F-15. Pour Boeing, il s’agit de reprendre les travaux engagés sur le « Silent Eagle » mais avec une capacité d’emport d’armement élargie. Le concept de Boeing « F-15 2.040C » (F-15X). La version 2. 040C permettrait également, selon les études de Boeing, de doubler le nombre de missiles à par avions et donc combler une énorme faiblesse du F-35, sa capacité d’emport.
Boeing a doter le F-15X d’une version améliorée du radar Raytheon APG-63 (V) 3 à balayage électronique actif, avec une nouvelle suite de guerre électronique dénommée EPAWSS « Eagle Passive/Active Warning Survivability », et un capteur IRST et une liaison de données améliorée permettant de travaillant en binôme avec le F-22 et le F-35.
Le F-15 ainsi modernisé, offre la possibilité de travailler directement avec le F-22 et le F-35 en appuis avec une forte capacité de tir grâce au transport de missiles accrut, mais il permet également de fonctionner de manière plus furtive avec l’armement monté dans les trappes. La particularité résident dans le fait, qu’il sera possible en fonction de la mission, de choisir entre le transport en interne ou de revenir au transport traditionnel, emport de carburant et armes en externes. Les trappes étant modulables.
Capacité d’emport phénoménale :
Avec la possibilité d’emporter jusqu’à 24 missiles air-air, le F-15X « Advanced » est bien supérieur à ses concurrents, mais il pourra également emporter une gamme complète d’armes comme par exemple : le JSOW, le Harpoon, le missile antiradar HARM. On parle également d’adapter progressivement des armes à énergie dirigée comme les lasers, une fois que celles-ci seront disponibles. La grande taille de l’avion en facilitera l’intégration. Dernier élément, le F-15X pourra travailler en binôme avec des drones pour les actions de frappes en profondeur.
Première commande en préparation :
En décembre dernier, le Pentagone avait confirmé une demande d’acquisition d’un premier lot de 12 avions de combat Boeing F-15X « Advanced Eagle » pour un montant de 1,2 milliards de dollars.
A mon avis cet avion est beaucoup bien supérieur au f-35
jf16 General de Division
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Sujet: Re: F-15SE Silent Eagle Ven 2 Oct 2020 - 20:28
Boeing sélectionne le radar PG-82(V)1 pour le F-15EX. Boeing
02/10/2020 16:53 | Antony Angrand
Boeing sélectionne le radar PG-82(V)1 pour le F-15EX.
Le radar à balayage électronique APG-82(V)1 de Raytheon Intelligence & Space a été choisi par Boeing pour équiper le F-15EX. 8 radars seront livrés jusqu'en 2022.
APG-82(V)1 pour le F-15EX
Le radar à balayage électronique APG-82(V)1 de Raytheon Intelligence & Space a été choisi par Boeing pour équiper le F-15EX. Ce radar a connu un développement qui s'est étalé sur quatre ans et s’est appuyé sur des éléments éprouvés dans d’autres programmes de radars AESA – l’APG-79 volant sur le F/A-18E/F dont il reprend le processeur, l’EA-18G et l’APG-63(V)3 volant sur les plates-formes F-15C, dont il reprend l'antenne spécifique de ce dernier.
En soutien au F-35A
Le F-15EX viendra compléter les capacités offertes par le F-35A et sera également moins couteux à l'emploi que le F-35. Le cockpit du F-15EX a été totalement repensé, les capteurs et la motorisation ont aussi été modernisés. Le F-15EX, qui bénéficie des précédents développements de Boeing, disposera d'une capacité d'emport proche des 14 tonnes. L'appareil sera doté de 12 points d'emport pour de l'armement air-air et de 15 points d'emport pour de l'armement air-sol.
8 radars livrés jusqu'en 2022
À l’origine, ce radar était désigné APG-63(V)4. Historiquement, Singapour a été le premier utilisateur de F-15E à adapter le radar APG-63(V)3 AESA sur ses F-15SG. Ce radar est conçu pour être inséré comme un système de « plug-in-play », aux performances nettement améliorées avec une fiabilité plus élevée, moins de pièces mobiles et de nouveaux modules facilement remplaçables. À ce jour, Raytheon Intelligence & Space a livré plus de 150 APG-82 à des clients américains, puisqu'il équipe les F-15E Strike Eagle dans le cadre du RMP ou Radar Modernization Program et internationaux. Dans le cadre du contrat avec Boeing, Raytheon livrera huit systèmes à partir de cette année jusqu'en 2022.
Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles Are Getting Replacement Wings Ripped Off Saudi F-15S Jets
The Air Force says that the wings taken from the Saudi Eagles will help keep its Strike Eagles soaring for decades to come.
Some of the U.S. Air Force's F-15E Strike Eagles are now in line to get replacement wings taken from Saudi Arabian F-15S aircraft. The Saudi jets are getting entirely new wings as part of the conversion process into the advanced F-15SA configuration and the old ones had been destined from the scrap heap. The Air Force says buying up these surplus wings will help it save hundreds of millions of dollars while helping to keep at least some of its heavily in demand Strike Eagle fleet flying through 2040.
The Air Force revealed the deal with Saudi Arabia, negotiations around which began in 2018, earlier this week. The first eight F-15S wing sets arrived at Robins Air Force Base in Georgia in August 2020, where the service subsequently began refurbishing them for installation on its F-15Es.
How much was spent to buy and prepare the wings to go onto Air Force Strike Eagles is unclear. Officials at Robins said that this process saved the service approximately $80 million compared to buying new wings from Boeing, which would have cost five times more and would have taken five years to be delivered.
“My team was in a unique position to help facilitate the F-15 wings purchase initiative through arrangement for temporary storage after the wing removals at the conversion line in Saudi Arabia and to coordinate documentation approvals with the partner nation," Lieutenant Colonel Matthew Pope, the Deputy Security Assistance Program Manager within the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center's (AFLCMC) F-15SA Conversion, Fighters and Advanced Aircraft office, said in a statement. "Recognizing that the Royal Saudi Air Force F-15S to SA conversion includes removal and disposal of wings, the U.S. Air Force F-15 office determined that the potential of obtaining several sets of Royal Saudi Air Force wings in 'A-Condition' from F-15SA conversion might offer a massive schedule and cost savings for the aging F-15 fleet."
Personnel at Warner Robins Air Force Base work on a wing taken from an F-15S Eagle.
"This wings buy gives the U.S. Air Force the option to install these wings at a significant time and cost savings, while U.S. Air Force legacy wings are waiting for parts or in the event they are found to be non-reparable," Pope added.
Saudi Arabia first received approval to buy a fleet of 84 new-build F-15SA Advanced Eagles, the most advanced version of the F-15 on offer at the time, in 2010 and took delivery of the first of these jets in 2017. In 2012, Boeing received an additional contract through the U.S. Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program to upgrade 68 existing F-15S aircraft to the F-15SA standard. The Air Force announced that it had facilitated the delivery of the last all-new F-15SA to Saudi Arabia on Dec. 10.
An F-15SA used for testing as seen in 2018.
Given the size of the F-15S to SA conversion program, the Air Force says that it may now buy another 42 "A-Condition" wing sets from the Saudis. The service has projected that doing so would save it another $250 million compared to purchasing all-new wings straight from the manufacturer.
"The purchase of the F-15SA wings will open up opportunities to procure other aircraft parts resulting from the F-15 Saudi Aircraft Conversion Program that will benefit the warfighter at a reduced cost,” Eric Wietstruk, the F-15 Product Support Manager in the AFLCMC’s F-15 Program Office at Robins, said in his own statement. “We continue to work with our FMS partners to support and sustain our mutual F-15 legacy and new aircraft fleets."
This is not the first time the Air Force has struck a deal with one of its FMS partners regarding F-15s, either. Just a few years ago, the Israeli Air Force acquired nine ex-Air National Guard F-15Ds that had originally been slated to be parted out. The IAF, which pioneered the use of the Eagle in the long-range strike role, found out about the jets, rushed to buy them, and subsequently put them through a major upgrade program. This highlights how there is a clear value in effectively recycling these aircraft, or portions of them.
The ability to acquire significant stocks of newer components, or ones that are at least cheaper to refurbish compared to buying new, via the castoffs from the F-15S to SA conversion program might turn out to be an important factor for the Air Force's own plans with regards to the F-15E. At present, the service has around 219 Strike Eagles, which are middle-aged at best, or firmly in the back half of their service lives.
While the Air Force's plan is now to replace its even older fleet of F-15C/D Eagle fighters with new-build F-15EX jets, it has yet to make a decision about what to with the Strike Eagles. Cost will be an important point of consideration and there has already been discussion about whether simply buying additional F-15EXs might be the most sensible move price-wise.
One of the first two F-15EX jets under construction for the US Air Force.
The F-15EX, which you can read about in more detail in these past War Zone pieces, is derived from the F-15QA Advanced Eagle for Qatar, the most advanced Eagle in production now, and would offer significantly improved capabilities over the existing F-15E.
Any larger life-extension program for the Strike Eagles has the potential to be costly and time-consuming, even if the jets are not brought to a similarly advanced standard in the process. Other avenues to keep the F-15E fleet going, coupled with other upgrade programs aimed at keeping the jets combat relevant, might change this calculus, even if only in the near-to-mid term.
As already noted, officials at Robins overseeing this wing replacement effort say that this will help ensure the F-15Es remain airworthy through at least 2040. At the same time, it's not clear what else the Air Force may be looking at doing to keep its Strike Eagles going over the next two decades. A portion of the fleet, especially some of the early examples that the service first began buying in the late 1980s and that have less powerful Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-220E engines, could still end up being retired during that time frame.
No matter what, at least some of the Air Force's F-15E Strike Eagles are now set to keep soaring for at least some amount of time thanks to new-ish wings pulled from their Saudi cousins.
_________________ Les peuples ne meurent jamais de faim mais de honte.
C'est un vecteur versatile, puissant et surtout bien moins onéreux qu'un F35 pour les FAR :
L’avionneur américain avance un prix à l’heure de vol de l’ordre de 27’000 dollars, soit un chiffre bien inférieur au coût d’exploitation horaire du F-15C/D qui est d’environ 42’000 dollars. En comparaison, un F-16 de l’USAF coûte environ 21'000 dollars à l’heure de vol.