The design maybe 40 years old, but there is plenty of life left in the F-15 Eagle fighter. Boeing’s St. Louis factory is producing F-15Ks for South Korea and F-15SGs for Singapore, and current orders mean that the Eagle will be in production into 2012. Meanwhile, Boeing Defense, Space and Security (DSS) is maintaining the technology insertion program that has seen the F-15 remain a viable option in today’s tactical aircraft marketplace.
The U.S. Air Force F-15 display here is so hot you can see the paint peeling off the aircraft! In fact, although this F-15E Strike Eagle needs sprucing up a tad, its airshow act could hardly be smarter. The display put on by captains Phil “Ritz” Smith (pilot) accompanied by John “Gizmo” Cox in the back seat, is the best that AIN has seen of an F-15.
Is Lockheed Martin’s Joint Strike Fighter a “bomb truck,” optimized for the stealthy attack of ground targets but of limited value as a defender of airspace? Critics and rivals of the multibillion-dollar international program have been sniping at the F-35’s air-to-air maneuvering performance for years.
Boeing has applied some stealth design principles to the F-15 Strike Eagle, and is marketing the modified aircraft for export as the F-15SE Silent Eagle. On the new model, the conformal fuel tanks (CFTs) already added to the F-15E are adapted to carry weapons internally and the vertical tails are canted outwards to reduce radar-cross section under certain conditions.
A ceremonial review of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) last month included the static display of two new Japanese air-to-air missiles that are now entering service on the JASDF’s F-15J interceptors. The AAM-4 is an active-radar-guided replacement for the AIM-7M Sparrow. It has been under development by Mitsubishi and the Japan Defense Agency (JDA) for about 10 years.
The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter has exceeded Mach 1 for the first time–a timely achievement after a recent Rand study suggested that the design lacked maneuverability for air-to-air combat. Lockheed Martin said that the Lightning II accelerated to Mach 1.05 with a full internal load of inert weapons–5,400 pounds–on November 13. The design top speed is Mach 1.6. The Rand study on Air Combat discussed the potential performance of U.S.
Boeing’s F-15 Eagle has racked up an enviable 104-0 combat record, as one of the world’s top-flight air-superiority and air-to-ground assault fighters. Although the Eagle made its first flight 36 years ago, the latest U.S. Air Force plan says it won’t be leaving its inventory any time soon. Current considerations call for the F-15C/D to remain in service for another 17 years, and the F-15E for another 27.
A unique formation wowed the crowd at the recent Joint Services Open House at Andrews AFB in Maryland. A Second World War P-51 Mustang led a 1960s-vintage F-4 Phantom, 1990s-built F-15E Strike Eagle and a brand-new F-22A Raptor Stealth Fighter. The event also featured an F-22 solo display that has been enhanced from last year with new post-stall and thrust-vectoring maneuvers. The F-22 is flying at airshows in the U.S.
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.