posted on Feb, 6 2006 @ 10:23 PM
I find it interesting that the Golden Eagles, which are just F-15Cs with the AESA would suddenly have nose gear problems, when they didn't BEFORE
AESA. The Golden Eagle is simply a REFIT of existing F-15Cs from what I read, which means they're exactly the same as was shown in those pics,
except for the radar. But now suddenly they have weak nose gears?
The APG-63V(2) is heavy, being based on largely similar 'brick' technology to that on the APG-77. As I recall they had to add 300-400lbs of ballast
in the back end to keep the jet in trim.
That said, the same general kind of (save our program!) thing happened with sudden structural cracks in the primary wingspars and rear fuselage
longerons of A-7's being 'discovered' when the 7F looked suitable to re-supplant the A-10 and most Guard Ds while 'allowing' for the actives F-16
fleet to upgrade to 229 engines (i.e. no new LGPOS production).
At under 4 million dollars for all airframes.
"We just lost the A-12, now they're after our Bread And Butter, quick, find a problem!!" sayeth the All-For-Texas lobby. And suddenly GD had
economic security for another decades worth of F-16C.50s. Despite the fact that they couldn't drop bombs (no SAR mapping, no ATP-as-Sniper, no IAMs)
any better than a C.25/.30 could in 1991.
All our smart-weapon capability continuing to be vested in tiny fleets of F-16CG (.40) and F-15E whose SALH-only capabilities were /also/ underbought
'for cost' (oink, oink), at the same time the bomber folk were looking to save their existence by demanding that all JDAM be CMUP'd first 'as a
roadmap' to their own future.
Switch things around a little:
1. F-22 (when it still /was/ the F-22) gets JDAM during EMD for service intro in 1998 as originally planned. Purchases get reduced to a 550 but in
trade, a multiyear contract is undertaken, similar to the F/A-18E/F effort. There is no 'trainwreck' of overlapping rampup to 4th generation
2. F-15E and all F-16C get JDAM and improved Radar _by 1994 at the latest_. Becoming frontline assets in time for Deny Flight and ONW/OSW where they
can bomb through weather and with or without targeting pods.
3. F-16C.50 production stops after 100-150 airframes are built, to replace the F-4G SEAD capability as originally intended. All recieve IDM so that
they can perform cooperative range-known hunting, either with each other or with the RC-135. All use AGM-154 as 'SHARK' alternatives to HARM in
attacking radar-silent threats from 40nm standoffs.
3. B-1B gets canned as it should have been by the late 80's. And the B-52 is reroled back to (semismart CBU) iron dropper with a first-day-of-war
mod for AGM-158B whose development supercedes that of AGM-86C conversions and even the BGM-109 tomahawk. BUFF-G is retired while BUFF-H also trades
half the inventory (50 aircraft remaining, tops) for new Trent engines and a 'de-man' program to pull all but 2 or perhaps 3 people from the
cockpit. B-2 stays a SIOP platform (the only thing it's really good for) and gets AGM-131 to augment the B-83 along with perhaps the GBU-37 as an
alternative WMD HDBT buster.
4. F-16A's get rewinged rather than ADF'd as a CUPID/MLU prequel alternative to the A-7F if there really is a problem with the latter's upgrade.
Contingent upon this 'CAS Force' requirement is the provision of IDM and LITENING pods as the principle effectors by which _Smart Interdiction_ can
also be undertaken.
5. All F-15A's are pulled from the fleet by 1995. All F-15Cs by 2002. All F-15Es by 2005.
6. All AV-8B's are removed by 1995
7. All A-10s are removed by 2000.
8. All F/A-18A-D are removed by 2005
9. Marines are told to stop aggitating for an all-STOVL force and fly like they were always going to be a Navy RAG. Because that's all they're
10. All F-117's are removed from inventory by 2001.
Today's inventory would then look like:
450 of 550 F-22 delivered
750 of 900 F/A-18EF delivered
80 of 200 F-16E coming online
150 F-16C cascading to replace Guard F-16s
30-50 B-52 standing watch as cruise systems.
20 B-2 standing watch as SIOP penetrators
Probably for under half a trillion dollars (JSF is a quarter trillion with half the capability mix).
Meanwhile, the advent of Small Diameter Bombs and glide kits would probably rewrite the spec for a not-golden 'CALF' (Common Affordable Lightweight
Fighter) _just now beginning_ program definition. And shift back towards external carriage of heavyweight munitions 'when needed' as an alternative
to a 2,500-3,000lb internal loadout of 8 SDB or 4-6 AIM-120 as a principal starting point for ONE variant to fulfill all USAF/USN/USMC mission roles
as a function, not of munitions but basing mode commonality.
One wingspan (mission gross=platform cost). One landing gear/structural modality (all naval=shared inventory, and longer airframe life, even during
active ops). One COST (economies of scale for a single variant).
And probably a reasonable 800 airframes total anticipated production scalars, half each for the USN and USAF, to act as mini-A-6/F-111s 'or cruise
missiles with landing gear' in first-day-of-war reduction of IADS and C2 threats.
That airframe not being manned at all, but rather a UCAV.
The only remaining thing to then do would be to consolidate our tactical Air Services back towards a single representative 'command' with training
and spares pipes for a mere 3 types (F-22/F-18EF/UCAV), not 10.
It was our shortsighted inability to see (or be told, by those with a vested interest in covering such 'details' up) the relative weighted sortie
differences on tactical vs. strategic platform aimpoints serviced per day with high density IAM counts 'on both pylons' that doomed us to a 2,500
airframe fighter fleet that _does not_ need replacing, in kind.
Airframes/SMER racks/sorties surged per day vs. flown in from out of area.
400X8X3= 2,400 DMPI's per day. (700nm radius)
120X8X1= 960 DMPI's per day. (2,500nm radius)
Under a 1,000nm, tacair wins, every time.
And THAT, in turn, is how you tell the monster that our 'independent' (of any collective-utility oversight) air services have become to stop being
such gluttons and define a warplan vs. _unified_ inventory capability for numbers of aimpoints serviced per day. Relative to the 'intensity' of
expected attrition necessary to sustain attacks for X-days until the war can be ended diplomatically, or by ground forces onset.
Do not plan your defense around numbers of pilots as 'union workers worried about their 401K plan'. Do not endorse a dated warfighter paradigm on
the basis of letting a few defense industries make maximum profits _off exports_ whose R&D was free on the taxpayer's hook.
Treat them like any other asset to be discarded at need in war or after their utility is no longer necessary. Do this and you can forestall the
calamity that Eisenhower warned of in the late 1950s with the conspiracy between government and industry and the services becomes an almost
unbreakable 'base' of corrupt power.
Interest in the F-15 as some kind of reverse-stopgap-becomes-future-solution 'nostalgia' just goes to show what happens when you FAIL to exercise
proper fiscal constraint. And the reality becomes that we cannot afford any of the 'superior' solutions.