A pair of U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles fly over northern Iraq after conducting airstrikes in Syria

Close in at the merge, if the Su-57s survive the initial AMRAAM volley, the surviving F-15Cs would be at somewhat of a disadvantage against the extraordinarily maneuverable Russian fighters.

However, the F-15C community has a lot of practice flying against the extremely maneuverable F-22s, and while they are disadvantaged, Eagle pilots do win dogfights against the Raptor on some occasions.

The venerable Boeing F-15C Eagle has long been hailed as the world’s greatest air superiority fighter given its lopsided combat record of 104 kills to zero losses, however, the aging jet is likely near the end of its operational life. Nonetheless, it remains a potent fighter even as it likely heads toward retirement.

The U.S. Air Force is deferring planned upgrades to the Eagle—such as the addition of new electronic warfare systems—until it decides if it wants to keep the increasingly aged airframe. Indeed, as the Air Force has discovered, the F-15C will need an extensive airframe overhaul and structural modifications to remain in service past the mid-2020s.

In all likelihood, given that the Congress has refused to allow the service to retire the A-10 Warthog, the Air Force will have little choice but to divest itself of the F-15C to free up funding for more pressing projects. The F-15E Strike Eagle interdictor aircraft, though, will remain in service indefinitely.

However, for the time being, the F-15C makes up about half of the Air Force’s air superiority fleet because the service received less than half of the Lockheed Martin F-22A Raptors that it required.

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Eventually, the Air Force hopes to develop a new Penetrating Counter Air platform to supersede both the F-15C and the F-22 in the 2030s as Russia and China increasingly field new fifth-generation fighters such as the Sukhoi Su-57 PAK-FA.

The Su-57—especially once it receives its new second stage engines—will be a handful for any fourth-generation fighter given its combination of speed, maneuverability, stealth and electronic warfare capability. However, the U.S. Air Force does have a plan to defeat enemy stealth aircraft and a counter is already in the works.

The answer lies in the long-wave infrared spectrum, which the current generation of stealth aircraft is not designed to suppress.

Nor does any countermeasure currently exist to suppress detection at long range by a long-wave infrared sensor that could be retrofitted to existing airframes.

It is likely that engineers could in the future devise measures to hide from a long wave infrared sensor, but the airframe would likely have to be designed from the outset to incorporate those technologies.

Lockheed Martin is currently developing the Legion pod, which will afford the F-15C a long wave Infrared Search and Track (IRST) capability.

Lockheed Martin expects to produce more than 130 Legion pods, which are equipped with the company’s IRST21 infrared sensor and advanced data processing capabilities to provide long-range detection and tracking of airborne threats in “radar-denied environments.”

Boeing, which serves as the U.S. Air Force’s prime contractor, is expected to award Lockheed Martin an engineering, manufacturing, development and production contract for the Legion pod sometime this year.

“With a rapid delivery schedule and unmatched sensing capabilities, Legion Pod will immediately enhance our warfighters’ operations and address a passive attack capability gap,” Paul Lemmo, vice president of Fire Control/Special Operations Forces Contractor Logistics Support Services at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, said last year.

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“Our proven partnerships with Boeing, including on our U.S. Navy F/A-18E/F IRST21 and international F-15 IRST products, will ensure successful execution of the F-15C Legion Pod program for the U.S. Air Force.”

The U.S. Navy and industry officials have previously told The National Interest that long-wave IRST–especially when combined with high-speed data networking—could generate a weapons quality track against a stealth aircraft.

That track would only get more precise with multiple IRST-equipped aircraft sharing data amongst themselves. “It’s the Navy’s primary counter-stealth capability,” one industry official had said.

Equipped with the Legion pod, the F-15C would easily negate any stealth advantage that the Su-57 offers.

Once the Eagle has spotted the Su-57, it would also be able to bring to bear its immensely powerful Raytheon AN/APG-63(v)3 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar with a focused scan—and likely acquire the Russian jet that way too.

Either way, the F-15C would be able to generate a weapons quality track on the Su-57 and engage it with its long-range Raytheon AIM-120D AMRAAM missiles.

Close in at the merge, if the Su-57s survive the initial AMRAAM volley, the surviving F-15Cs would be at somewhat of a disadvantage against the extraordinarily maneuverable Russian fighters.

However, the F-15C community has a lot of practice flying against the extremely maneuverable F-22s, and while they are disadvantaged, Eagle pilots do win dogfights against the Raptor on some occasions.

Moreover, with the addition of the Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System and the Raytheon AIM-9X Sidewinder, the F-15C has excellent high off-boresight capability—the ability for the pilot to shoot in the direction his head is pointed—as does the Su-57, which more often than not results in a mutual kill as numerous training exercises have shown.

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At the end of the day, if it were not for the maintenance and sustainment costs coupled with the need to pay from structural repairs, it would likely be worth it to keep the F-15C in service.

However, given the age of the airframe and the continually evolving threat, it is more prudent for the Air Force to invest in next-generation capabilities such as the PCA—especially since Congress will not let the service rid itself of the A-10. Something has to give and it looks like the F-15C’s time has come.

 

Source: National Interest

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Daeshbags-Sux
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Daeshbags-Sux

“given its lopsided combat record of 104 kills to zero losses”
=> Everybody knows VERY WELL how Yanks cover-up their losses against enemy aircraft…

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

Took ’em 27 years to admit the loss of a F-18 to a MiG-25 during Desert Storm, and only after the wreckage was found in 2018 with remains of the missile. Usually, they drop a 2,000lbs bomb on any…

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

wreckage in combat and likely list it as mechanical/human failure or to a SAM launch 😉 In fact, F-15 and F-18 losses to mechanical/human failures are strangely very high for bi-reactors…

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

Compared to those used in more peaceful countries 😉 And the aircraft written-off strangely highly increase in the 24-30 months following any war 😉

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

There are at least a dozen claims from opposing air forces to have shot down the iconic F-15 😉 Some are unproven, some are said from SAMs by Yanks 😉

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

Nevertheless, when you know how F-15 ended with bad surprises during drills against Indian composite squadrons and their MiG-21 Bison achieving drill-kills…

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

Even if no doubt, F-15 is/was very effective, the 104-0 score seems nothing else than propaganda, period.

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux
Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

Many other cover ups are known, e.g. the EF-111A 66-0023 officially crashed in KSA after having been mistakenly been targetted by a F-15C, huhu, and IFF?

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

2nd version? Crashed while doing evasive manoeuvres while being chased by Iraqi Mirage-F1. Reality? Mirage-F1 had missiles able to shoot down MiG-25 or SR-71 😉

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

And later, you also had an US narrative of a Mirage-F1 crashin into the ground while chasing a F-111 in dogfight as the sole F-111 ever A2A victory🤣

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

Yanks can’t help painting their war actions just like if these were straight out from a John Ford movie 😉 It’s boring…

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

“with the addition of the Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System”
=> MiG-29 already had such system in the early 80’s! Very innovative!

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

A 1st batch of 12x F-15X Advanced-Eagle was ordered in Dec.2018. These will be able to carry 24 air to air missiles and inherit some systems from F-35. Hourly cost is to be lowered at $27k

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

Airframe is planned for 32,000 flying hours. Nevertheless, it’s an obvious change in USAF all-stealth doctrine which we were numerous at seeing it coming for long.

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

I wouldn’t be too surprised if serious cuts in the number of F-35 ordered was on the table too : the bill is simply much too high, same as it was for F-22, so what we’ll have will be F-22/35 working ahead…

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

While F-15 will stay behind, using very long range missiles in serious numbers, these being guided from F-22/35…

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

My 2 cents Boeing may soon propose a ramjet kit for AMRAAM and/or Sidewinder in order to ‘drop’ them at 300-400km. Who knows, since…

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

MBDA now has factories in the US (bought Northrop’s bomb/missiles factory), maybe USAF may start to use Meteor/MICA/ASRAAM?

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

The National Interest is really outdated! The ‘Legion pod’ is 1st gen US QWIP (Quantum well infrared photodetector) ALSO in use on Su-57! Rafale has QWIP since before introduction and now has 2nd gen. with OSF-IT 😉

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

USAF is into ordering F-15X, BTW, and use them as flying arsenals with shïtloads of AIM-120D… Nevertheless, if AIM-120D keeps AIM-120C’s seeker => ROFL!

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

AIM-120C never managed to hit anything further than 38km in combat despite a 120km range! A serious salvo on a 4 Indian Su-30MKI flight targetted by no less than 24 Paki aircraft ended with…

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

ZERO HITS!

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

AIM-9X was dodged by an old Syrian Su-22 in August 2018 while shot near pointblank! AIM-9X uses a copy of Russian Vympel R-73’s seeker 🙂

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

USAF should consider getting rid of outdated AMRAAM and Sidewinder.

svinebugten@gmail.com
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Upvoted

Dashbags-Sux should be grounded. When its about dogfights, he comes with a cat.

Next focus for him probatly will be a megabook for the 2 x 737 verticals and not the other 9.998.

Very good for him Almasdar dont demand stamps.