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The F-15s days may be numbered-and a lot sooner than you think

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posted on Mar, 22 2017 @ 05:46 PM
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At a hearing on readiness, the Air Force and Air National Guard dropped the bombshell that they are looking at retiring the F-15 fleet starting as early as 2020. They would replace them with AESA equipped F-16s.

The plan was described as an attempt to maximize resources, while minimizing number of platforms and performing the required missions.

www.airforcetimes.com...




posted on Mar, 22 2017 @ 05:50 PM
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Eagles are good fighter interceptors, so are Falcons. F16s make better bombers, more of those are needed in the future, not fighters.



posted on Mar, 22 2017 @ 06:01 PM
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Wouldn't they be brilliant for being spots on some radar so while they look at that the newer stuff can sneak in via the side door and do whats needed?



posted on Mar, 22 2017 @ 06:06 PM
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a reply to: Maxatoria

The original plan was that they would backstop the F-22s. The airframes are proving to be more problematical to stretch their life cycle and upgrades would run more than expected.



posted on Mar, 22 2017 @ 06:09 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

FlightGlobal are also reporting this FlightGlobal link, but the story specifically says that any idea is very, very per-decisional. In fact the National Guard General basically said no (with the usual "but maybe in the digital future its possible?" caveat). Its only one of a myriad of possible plans moving forward. Further the USAF's deputy chief of operations stated he wasn't even sure it was a formal retirement plan.

Personally I dont think this idea will come to fruition. Its arguable the F-16 fleet is in no better shape than the Eagle's, and there are certain performance attributes that an AESA'd Falcon wouldn't compensate for. This is just thinking out loud.



posted on Mar, 22 2017 @ 06:15 PM
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a reply to: thebozeian

The F-16 fleet isn't in great shape, but something like 98% of the F-15C/D fleet is at, or over their planned life cycle. Add in their structural problems, and limitations and I think it will gain traction. I don't think we'll see it happen in 2020, but they won't make the 2040 that was tossed around last year.



posted on Mar, 22 2017 @ 06:41 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

Yes Im well aware of the F-15 fleets problems and agree it wont make 2040 without major structural refurbishment and system changes.

However maybe we are both barking up the wrong tree here? Could such an argument be floated to look at alternatives such as an accelerated 6th Gen, speed up the F-35 roll out, or build a case for a limited buy of late model Eagles or Falcons? It was noted in the FG article that the F-16 line was moving from Ft Worth, which I thought was slightly odd to mention as it wasn't wholly pertinent to the story. Could there be a backdoor case building here for spending the money that could be earmarked for AESA upgrades on selected Block 42-50's or structural life extended Eagles, instead being spent on say a couple of hundred Block 60/70 Vipers?
edit on 22-3-2017 by thebozeian because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 22 2017 @ 06:47 PM
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a reply to: thebozeian

Something is in the works. There was no reason to move the Viper line. After the Iraq delivery, I can't think of any outstanding orders off the top of my head. At one point last year they were down to something like 15 aircraft remaining on order.

They were getting ready to activate station 1 and 9 on the Eagle, and continue with the AESA upgrade, new computers and displays. I'm willing to bet that they're finding more aircraft that are needing extensive work above and beyond the upgrades as they're upgrading.



posted on Mar, 22 2017 @ 07:18 PM
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Just hope they dont make them "dissapear" like they did the Tomcats



posted on Mar, 22 2017 @ 07:22 PM
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Im a former F-15 crew chief. Loved that jet. But even in 2001 that jet was old.



posted on Mar, 22 2017 @ 07:23 PM
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a reply to: Blackfinger

They can't. They're required to keep some in the Boneyard until the last one being flown by our allies are retired. The Tomcat wasn't flown by any allies, so they didn't have to keep them around.



posted on Mar, 22 2017 @ 07:26 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

Yeah I thought it was a bit odd to go through the time and expense of moving the Viper line and all the training/retraining of staff in Sth Carolina for a line that is soon defunct without additional orders. So either they got a big order from an international customer(s) in the hundreds needed to justify such a move (not overly likely). Or there is an imminent domestic order about to be announced.

Given the new build cost difference between a Block 60/70 Viper and a nominal "G" model F-15 I cant see additional air superiority variant Eagles being a good business case without a very large buy. So a mix of economical to upgrade Eagles and new build F-16's is probably where the USAF/ANG/Reserve is headed.

The only other possibility is a so far undisclosed new airframe, but then why move the F-16 line instead of just shutting it down at the completion of the current order book?

Something is definitely afoot.



posted on Mar, 22 2017 @ 07:32 PM
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a reply to: thebozeian

The only other thing is that they plan to build the T-50A in South Carolina, but that would be kind of risky to move everything this far ahead of the award for that program. If you don't get it that's a decent chunk of change to pay out for no return.



posted on Mar, 22 2017 @ 08:23 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

And unless Boeing really screws this trainer competition up its pretty much theirs to own. Which would make any planing by LM to move to Sth Carolina a very expensive and a risky operation for a program thats ending and another they may very well not win.

I think heightened tensions with China and et al is going to be an excuse to purchase additional F-16 airframe's to boost available numbers and shore up any potential further delay or shortfall in the F-35 program.



posted on Mar, 22 2017 @ 08:38 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

Maybe they're going to remanufacture a whole bunch of vipers up to the -16V level in SC.



posted on Mar, 22 2017 @ 08:41 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

I take it that the preliminary work on F-XX must also be going well then, isn't it?

Furthermore, the B-21 procurement must be shattering expectations in terms of quickness.

They wouldn't be considering a retirement of the F-15's unless things were trending towards F-XX flying by 2025 if not much, much sooner.



posted on Mar, 22 2017 @ 08:52 PM
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a reply to: Barnalby

The -21 just passed two PDR reviews and has CDR scheduled for this summer.

I've heard rumors that systems development on the new fighter started at least two years ago, so it's moving right along, or should be anyway.



posted on Mar, 22 2017 @ 09:00 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

At this rate the B-21 could see IOC by 2020, incredible.

I'd be shocked if the J-21 and J-31 don't have them shooting at an F-XX IOC around 2025 or sooner.



posted on Mar, 22 2017 @ 11:34 PM
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a reply to: Barnalby

Won't be that fast, but I suspect they will beat the date that's on paper.



posted on Mar, 23 2017 @ 01:09 AM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

With the state of the current USAF fleet, the best option would be to fast-track the F-XX so they can turn the F-15s and older F-16s into Miller cans and museum pieces, push the newer F-16s and the F-22s to the ANG units, and roll out the F-XX on a scale matched only by the F-35.




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