Gentlemen, (and ladies). Let's bring this back to the topic at hand, The argument is not whether the F-15X is better than the F-22 or the F-35 in a variety of mission profiles. We know that for stealthy missions (and a few other missions), it is not. The question at hand is why was budget for 12 F-15X written into an appropriation request? The assumption is that the request was not because of the whim of the president or some of-the-cuff idea of someone in the Pentagon, without any reasoning to support it.
The only two reason that make any sense to me so far are:
2) Missile Truck
If anyone else can come up with another reason, then we can analyze it.
The key then is to examine the article that this whole scenario hangs on,Pentagon to Seek $1.2 Billion for New Boeing F-15 Fighters (1)
https://about.bgov.com/blog/pentagon-bi ... -fighters/
The Pentagon is planning to request $1.2 billion for 12 Boeing F-15 X fighter aircraft—the newest version of the decades-old jet—in its fiscal year 2020 budget request, according to two people familiar with the decision who asked not to be named because it’s not yet official.
The initial decision to buy the newest kind of F-15 aircraft, so far only sold to U.S. allies, comes from the Pentagon’s top leadership, including with some prodding from Deputy Secretary of Defense Pat Shanahan, and not the Air Force, which would be flying the planes, the two people said. Shanahan, a former Boeing Co. executive, recused himself from any decisions related to Boeing when he was confirmed by the Senate. President Donald Trump has tapped Shanahan as acting defense secretary starting in January.
But Lt. Col. Joe Buccino, Shanahan’s spokesman, said the deputy secretary is recused from any decisions impacting Boeing.
“The Department’s legal advisors have a screening process to ensure that Boeing-related issues are not routed to Mr. Shanahan,” Buccino said in a statement to Bloomberg Government. “While the details of the Department’s FY2020 budget request remain pre-decisional, the screening process was in place throughout the budget review to ensure that any DoD programmatic decisions impacting Boeing were neither made nor influenced by Mr. Shanahan.”
A Defense Department official who asked not to be named to speak on the issue, said the idea wasn’t forced on the Air Force. Outgoing Defense Secretary Jim Mattis made the decisions regarding the future mix of fighter aircraft and that decision was made in consultation and accepted by the Air Force, the official said.
None of the budget decisions are final until the Pentagon submits its request on Feb. 4.
The reason for buying the F-15X aircraft would be to start replacing the F-15 C variants for the Air National Guard, which have become to expensive to overhaul, one of the people said. Production of the C variants ended in the 1980, said Richard Aboulafia, an expert on military aircraft and vice president of the Teal Group, a consulting firm.
Boeing builds the F-15 in St. Louis, where it also builds the Super Hornets, an aircraft that has benefited from congressional largesse over the last several years. Boeing has kept the F-15 design current, said Aboulafia.
“They have been able to do that because of sales to Korea, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar,” he said in a telephone interview, adding that the planes have new systems and sensors.
“The F-15 is kind of in a class by itself in range and performance,” Aboulafia said. It’s faster, carries a lot more and can go a lot farther than the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the newest and the most expensive Pentagon program, The F-35 is, however, stealthy, which the F-15 isn’t, Aboulafia said.
The decision to buy the newest version of the F-15 may not sit well with F-35 supporters within the Pentagon and in Congress because it would essentially compete for funding.
F-15C, -D, and -E models participated in Operation Desert Storm in 1991, according to information on Boeing’s website. The F-15 notched 32 of 36 U.S. Air Force air-to-air victories and struck Iraqi ground targets. F-15s served in Bosnia in 1994 and downed three Serbian MiG-29 fighters in Operation Allied Force in 1999. They enforced no-fly zones over Iraq in the 1990s. Eagles also hit Afghan targets in Operation Enduring Freedom, and the F-15E version performed air-to-ground missions in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Boeing declined to comment on Pentagon budget deliberations.
So what do we know?
- A single source has suggested these are being requested and acquired not by the USAF but by the Pentagon.
- The intent, according to the source, is to start replacing the F-15Cs in National Guard Units.
- Existing F-15Cs are apparently too expensive to overhaul (incorrect, we know the figures for this and Boeing has been pushing F-15C overhaul as a cost efficient exercise for the last ten years, and the USAF has upgraded the Radars on most F-15Cs to a modern AESA).
- It apparently has longer range and more payload than comparable aircraft (incorrect but we will go with it).
- The budget decision isn’t final.
For these two reason, can we say if there are any other airframe out there that can do this job at a reasonable price and be available at a reasonable timeline? If we can flush out the technical and financials behind either of these two mission profiles, then we may be able to see if there is any merit to this budget request and whether it will have legs or will be cut with the next budget iterations.
As already provided, the F-35 is cheaper to acquire, cheaper to run than both the F-15C and X versions while being as capable as a missile truck and likely more capable in the A2A role. It is the clear stated preference of the USAF and the F-35 will start going to National Guard units this year. Itr is also being manufactured at now over 100+ a year and has production capacity to increase further.
Back on topic, what if these are actually intended to be leased to Taiwan, and it’s not being publicized to keep things relatively quiet during the Chinese trade negotiations? I certainly don’t think the USAF has a bunch of ‘spare” F-15C’s not being utilized right now, for loaners.
Actually the USAF has about 100 F-15Cs sitting at AMARC that could be refurbished and put back into service.
The Taiwanese could quite easily refurbish these aircraft and upgrade them at the same time, as they are doing to their entire F-16 fleet, and achieve an aircraft that could easily fly for another 20+ years, at probably half the cost of a new build aircraft.
I doubt they want to though. The per hour cost of the jet is more than they likely want to accept and Taiwan doesn’t need the payload range offered by the F-15. What they need is survivability in the airspace and the F-15X does not make sufficient improvement over the upgraded F-16V they are now receiving in that area.