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Meet the Proposed F-15X, carrier of 24 AAM or SDB

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posted on Jul, 25 2018 @ 05:26 PM
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Recently, the F-15X came to light Boeing wants to build the F-15X fighter for the USAF as a 1:1 replacement of the F-15C/Ds. The initial impression running around the press was this was an unsolicited proposal by Boeing to try to keep their F-15 line open. That appears to have been rather wrong.

The USAF apparently approached both Lockheed and Boeing about a cheaper compliment to the F-35A due to the fact the F-15C/Ds were getting up there in age, the F-35s were coming behind the original plans in a big way and the 6th gen aircraft would be coming in after the 15C/Ds were retired. This discussion was not for the replacement of the F-15E, btw. There's no word if Lockheed came back with an F-16 or not, but I suspect they don't want to detract from the F-35 budget. The USAF had made it clear the proposal should not do so. However, Boeing, with no part in the 35A, came back with the F-15X.

The F-15X is something of a beast. It can carry 24 air to air missiles or 24 small diameter bombs or a mixture of the two. The 15X also gets a cockpit update with a new all glass cockpit and avionics and sensor updates. The number of hours for the airframe goes WAAAAY up to somewhere around 28k hours: yes, this is a new manufacture, not a remanufactured C/D. Boeing is willing to do a fixed price contract. The cost comes in - supposedly - at $65M/airframe.

That's the tough issue though. If Boeing were to replace the remaining ~400 F-15C/Ds, the cost would be $26 billion. An F-35A at current prices is about $90M pre block buy. That same amount of money would get the USAF 288 F-35As at the current price and if the goals are actually reached and the 35A price is becomes $80M/each, the number of F-35As bought with that sum goes up to 325. You do get more F-15X than F-35A, but only 75 more. To make this viable, IMO, the price needs to come down to $45M and the total cost comes down to $18B. With that amount, the only 225 F-35As could be bought vs the 400 F-15Xs.

Likewise, the timing isn't great: the fastest this could start would be in 2020 with a couple year ramp up. The fastest the F-15X production could be finished, IMO, would be 2026, probably 2028, really. The B-21 will be coming into play in a big way budget wise. The NGAD/PCA will have selected a contractor by then and will need to have gone into EMD. Plus whatever else the USAF has to buy. It seems like a budget distraction there.

Finally, the F-15X will be facing a lot more 5th gen fighters. The J-20 had (iirc) 18 delivered this year so far and we're half way through. By 2026, there may be more J-20s than F-22s. In fact, I'd almost bet on it. It's also highly likely the next Chinese 5th gen (whether its the J-31 or something else) will have joined the PLAAF by then. The Russian SU-57 might even be in full rate production by then. Within the life time of the 15X, the 6th gen fighters will have been fielded and the X will wildly be outclassed then.

I think the F-15X would have been the thing to do, say, circa 2008 while the F-35A was still in serious trouble. However, with near peers appearing, the plan to build an updated 4th gen anew seems less than ideal. In fact, it seems like a bad one to me.

What do others think?




posted on Jul, 25 2018 @ 06:11 PM
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a reply to: anzha

24 Missiles seems a ton. What's an average modern planes loadout? With the right radar and avionics, it could wipe out a ton of planes.

Looks like an f35 carries 4.
edit on 25-7-2018 by pavil because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 25 2018 @ 06:21 PM
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I`m an Eagle fan hands down before any other fighter ever, but considering what the facts and numbers are. It seems more logical to expedite the advancement of whatever is going to replace the F-22 than to make a Super Eagle stop gap.



posted on Jul, 25 2018 @ 06:30 PM
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a reply to: pavil

It appears the F-15SA (Saudi version) carries 12 missiles. This would carry twice that.



posted on Jul, 25 2018 @ 08:40 PM
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a reply to: pavil

Most fighters carry 8 max. The F-15SA gets to 12, by going with double wing rails, and opening the 1 and 9 station on the outboard wing up. The 2040C goes to 20 I believe, by going to a quad rail system on the wings, and the four body missiles. The F-15X uses the AMBER rail system that goes with the quad rails on the wings, and double rails on the fuselage, to go to 8 on the body.



posted on Jul, 25 2018 @ 10:00 PM
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Math doesn't work. They'd have better luck funding through refits/rebuilds to recap, but I don't think it would be enough to get the price down. We're currently at $89M for a F-35 buy. The number keeps getting lower. Commit that money to another 300 F-35's and the price drops even more as you take advantage of bigger long-lead buys from subs.

Boeing isn't in a good spot at the moment. They have a good, proven product in the F-15, but unless you're pitching to a non-partner of the F-35 program, and can offer offsets, it's hard to see where either of the F-15 or F-18 models fill a hole in the market.

An F-35 alternative has to be priced right, and it's hard to see how to make that happen when you're looking at limited runs compared to the F-35 program. It'd have to be something lighter/cheaper like a big-wing F-16 with larger capacity than Block 60 or an XL derivative. And LM has zero motivation to compete with itself.

Even internationally, there isn't much at the price point. The Gripen is price-locked by low-production, but would make a good alternative for the new "hi-low mix" with the F -35. But that a production run sufficient to drop the price enough will never happen.



posted on Jul, 25 2018 @ 10:22 PM
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a reply to: RadioRobert

It's not being offered as a competitor though.



posted on Jul, 25 2018 @ 11:01 PM
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Maybe I wasn't clear enough. The USAF, Boeing and Lockheed conversations were not meant to create a competitor for the F-35. In fact, the USAF made it clear if it was presented as an alternative to the F-35 (iirc), this wouldn't go forward.

Boeing is offering this as a stop gap replacement for the F-15C/Ds that will be retired in the near future until the sixth gen bird, fighter or not, takes the F-15 and F-22 places providing air superiority.

Whatever the USAF and Boeing may wish, this is going to be presented as an alternative to the F-35. You can see that to some extent in the Rogoway article. I think I had to wipe my face off after reading the article: it felt sticky. Proverbially.

As such and with the limited budget: yes, the budget is increasing, but given its going to be a competitor in funding for both the NGAD systems and the F-35 I don't think it has a chance. Furthermore, if rumors are true that the F-22 was killed to allow the LRSB to start, then the B-21 crowd will almost certainly make sure the F-15X is strangled in the cradle.

Plus all the other stuff out there. Griffin has made it clear hypersonics are the biggest, most important thing on his plate. That ought to make some of our members happy.



posted on Jul, 25 2018 @ 11:16 PM
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a reply to: anzha

Why dont they just put missiles on top and under the wing?

Or, better yet,

Why not have a single long "rail" - that is loaded with missiles - on a conveyor /belt fed track leading to a launch point at the wing tips - that attaches to existing limited hard points on any plane?

You could design specific adapters for the 2 long missile rails under the wings and the varying existing hardpoints for different planes, while using the same design for the main "missile conveyer belt rail" they are attach to.

In future planes where stealth is desired, incorporate the technology into the design and feed the launch points at the wing tips by way of a conveyor tracks, from missile stores inside the body of the plane.

You could also design it so missiles can launch from many or any point on the conveyor track, so multiple missiles can be fired at once.

Just some ideas I dreamt about from an alternate earth.


edit on 7 25 2018 by tadaman because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 25 2018 @ 11:34 PM
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a reply to: tadaman

Dropping from the bottom allows gravity to work in your favor.

Releasing from the top has a problematic history: see the D-21 UAV.

What you're describing as far as other release mechanisms is rather complicated. Simple is better, especially for maintenance. Complexity breeds expense.

I've wondered why they don't make a VLS-like system, but I suspect it has to do with the boundary layers from the airflow over the birds.



posted on Jul, 26 2018 @ 12:08 AM
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originally posted by: Zaphod58
a reply to: RadioRobert

It's not being offered as a competitor though.


It isn't going to replace any current F-35 buy, but it is competing for the same dollars for force recapitalization. Why buy new F-15 airframes when you can buy new F-35's almost one for one with the same money to recap with? It's a loser plan.



posted on Jul, 26 2018 @ 04:57 AM
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Just wanted to point out that Boeing has a fair bit to do with the f-35.

Anyway, those added missiles will kill the gforce capability. I just dont understand why they dont just ramp up more f22's. A pair of those could take out 8 Eagles.....and i am a strike eagle guy. So 1 f22 replaces at least 2 eagles in lethality.



posted on Jul, 26 2018 @ 05:07 AM
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a reply to: RadioRobert

It's a loser plan.

Maybe. Dont underestimate the stupidity of the Air Force or Boeings ability to buy them off.

I dont think Boeing is even trying to compete with the F-35A 5 years down the road. If they wanted to, they would have gone with a Silent Eagle concept on steroids. The F-15X doesnt feature any signature reduction however.
I think its possible they are going after the arsenal plane requirement formulated by the DoD a while back.



posted on Jul, 26 2018 @ 05:39 AM
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Is it going to be based on the F-15C or the F-15E? Cause an F-15C with the big engine would be a monster. And 28,000 flight hours is extremely impressive.

Anyways probably something to supplement existing F-15s and act as arsenal plane.

The F-35A was designed to carry 5,000 lb weapons externally and F-15E can do the same. How much would a hypersonic missile weigh?
edit on 26/7/18 by C0bzz because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 26 2018 @ 07:03 AM
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a reply to: C0bzz

It's a single seat QA.



posted on Jul, 26 2018 @ 07:06 AM
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a reply to: RadioRobert

Because you don't need an all stealth air force. But hey, what do I know. High tech rules.



posted on Jul, 26 2018 @ 07:07 AM
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a reply to: lakenheath24

Because they don't want to pay $400M an airframe.



posted on Jul, 26 2018 @ 07:40 AM
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a reply to: Zaphod58
Its either going to be this or the proposal put forward to Japan for an "F-28.5". Either way the pitch will be that this wont eat into F-35 procurement (which it shouldn't now) and be a bolstering supplement. I have been expecting this to happen for some time as eventually someone had to point out the massive Elephant in the room of block obsolescence for most of the US Tac Air fleet. Given how well this appears to have been run as a back office operation and they have done real world costings and taken into account other programs, if this thing can (and probably will) pay for itself inside of 10 years it will almost certainly happen. Which would be the smartest and most well run thing the USAF has done in decades.



posted on Jul, 26 2018 @ 07:42 AM
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a reply to: C0bzz
Big motor, latest AESA, 20000+ hr airfame, 22 missiles, FBW controls and the list continues. Sends shivers down your spine doesn't it?

edit on 26-7-2018 by thebozeian because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 26 2018 @ 07:49 AM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

True that. But the 22 is so good that we didn't even offer it to anyone else. So in that sense, you could divide the cost by 1/4, as it would replace that many X models.
nationalinterest.org...


Anyway, there is no way a jet with 24 A/A missiles hanging off it is going to perform well in a dogfight. I prefer what they are doing with the F-35 now, which is using it to control several other conventional planes weapons systems. So 1 F-35 could potentially fire 32 missiles from 4 E-models.




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