F-15 Fatigue Not What It Was Cracked Up To Be

 - February 21, 2008, 4:50 AM

The F-15 structural fatigue problem is much less serious than had been supposed. Only nine F-15C/D models need to have their longerons replaced, a Boeing official said in mid-February. These were apparently manufactured to reduced, incorrect tolerances. Only two weeks earlier, the U.S. Air Force was saying that 161 of the combat jets might need modification. A Boeing official said in mid-February that 178 of the USAF’s F-15C/D fleet were expected to remain in service through 2025. The 224 F-15E Strike Eagles–which were not affected by the recent grounding–would serve through 2035. All of these aircraft are candidates for modernization with, for instance, an Advanced Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar and wideband datalinks. Boeing expects to deliver the first of 24 Strike Eagles designated F-15SG to Singapore next year. According to Singapore’s chief defence scientist, Prof Lui Pao Chen, the F-15SGs are costing Singapore $80 million each. Boeing is chasing a follow-on order of 20 from Korea (taking the total for that country to 60), and sees potential for 50 more in Japan, as an F-4 replacement.