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.
The Pentagon’s aging aircraft concerns won’t go away. About 60 percent of the U.S. Air Force’s 440 F-15A/B/C/D interceptors have been cleared to resume flying after inspections for structural fatigue of the forward fuselage longerons. But cracks have been found in some airplanes, and the remaining 40 percent of the fleet could need repairs.
U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle fighters are flying again, following a grounding after the November 2 loss of an F-15C interceptor version in the U.S. That crash followed an apparent midair break-up and nixed U.S. plans to fly an F-15E in the Dubai Air Show. The older F-15C fleet remains grounded. USAF officials said that the incident underscored their desire to boost the F-22 Raptor fleet beyond the 190 that Congress has approved.
Three military aerobatic teams from Europe will appear in the daily flying display here, interspersed with a dozen solo acts. The Spanish air force Patrulla Aguila (Eagle Patrol) is making its Dubai debut, flying seven CASA 101 jet trainers. The Patrouille de France and the UK Royal Air Force Red Arrows are making return appearances. Among the solo performers, the MiG-29 OVT will likely attract the most attention.
With retirement for its aging RF-4 Phantoms looming, the Japan Air Self Defence Force has decided to equip a portion of its F-15J Eagle fighters with a reconnaissance capability. Yesterday Lockheed Martin announced that it would be part of a Japanese team to provide a synthetic aperture radar (SAR) capability to the Eagle. The company will provide SAR radars to be fitted into a pod carried under the aircraft’s belly.
U.S. and Indian Air Force (USAF/IAF) units are back at the Kalaikunda Air Station (KAS) in India for the third series of Cope India exercises between the two services. Both sides have benefitted from the exchange which pits the IAF–outfitted mostly with Russian and French-made fighters–against frontline U.S.-made aircraft.
The endless string of overseas military engagements and long-running missions–from Desert Storm to Southern Watch to Kosovo to the most recent Operations Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Iraqi Freedom–have inflicted wear and tear on the U.S. inventory of fighter aircraft.
Japan’s Air Self Defence Force (JASDF), which is accustomed to having the most modern variants of U.S. fighter aircraft designs, now appears to be interested in acquiring for its F-X next-generation fighter one of the most expensive ever built: the Lockheed Martin F-22A Raptor.
Gulfstream reported that its Quiet Spike sonic-boom mitigator successfully achieved supersonic flight on October 20. The OEM has been flight-testing the structural integrity of its Quiet Spike since mid-July. Mounted on the nose of a NASA F-15B and flown at Mach 1.2, the Quiet Spike operated as designed. It extended to its maximum length of 24 feet and performed as expected during the 1.5-hour test flight.
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