According to the Marcus Weisgerber reports on Defense One that Boeing has pitched a new variant of its F-15, Named F-15X, to the Pentagon that will carry more than two dozen air-to-air missiles and has modern flight controls,cockpit displays, and radar.
The F-15X would carry more than two dozen air-to-air missiles, more three times more than most fighter jets.
The F-15 Eagle was first introduced in 1972. Designed as an air superiority fighter, the F-15 was armed with four AIM-9 Sidewinder short-range infrared-guided missiles and four AIM-7 Sparrow medium-range radar-guided missiles.
In 2017, Boeing proposed the Eagle 2040C (see above), bumping the number of AMRAAM missiles up to 16. Eagle 2040C was likely meant as a flying magazine, meaning the bird would fly in tandem with stealthy airplanes such as the F-22 and F-35. The non-stealthy airplane would receive targeting information from other fighters hiding from enemy radar, methodically servicing targets served up by a silent partner.
A year later, Boeing has apparently increased the number of air-to-air missiles to more than two dozen. It’s not clear how the company has done this. Traditionally, the F-15 carries four AMRAAM-type missiles on its fuselage, while Eagle 2040C added quad packs of four missiles each to the wing pylons. Assuming two quad packs on each wing plus the centerline missiles, that comes out to just 20 missiles. Are we looking at sextuple packs now?
“We see the marketplace expanding internationally and it’s creating opportunities then to go back and talk to the U.S. Air Force about what might be future upgrades or even potential future acquisitions of the F-15 aircraft,” Gene Cunningham, vice president of global sales of Boeing Defense, Space & Security, said Friday at the Royal International Air Tattoo in England
2017 in fact, reporters traveling with the President spotted then-Chief of Staff Reince Priebus with a Boeing white paper that compared an advanced version of the F/A-18 Super Hornet to the F-35 Lightning II made by rival Lockheed Martin.
However, USAF leaders are currently evaluating their mix of aircraft.
“We have a new National Defense Strategy and the Air Force is working through the process of determining what Air Force is needed to meet that new National Defense Strategy and how do you represent that to the world,” pointed out Gen. James “Mike” Holmes, the head of Air Combat Command, on Jun. 28 at a Defense Writers Group breakfast in Washington. Among the options being considered are new versions of F-15s and F-16s, according to one Air
Boeing faces a bit of an uphill battle selling this to the Air Force. The cost of the F-35A fighter has fallen below $90 million for the first time and will eventually hit $85 million, finally making the new fighter competitive in price to mature but updated designs like the F-15 Eagle and F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. The service has committed to buying only stealth fighters, but the only such fighter currently in production is the F-35. The F-35 can only carry four missiles, and its so-called “Beast Mode,” which would allow the plane to carry 16 missiles as long as stealth isn’t necessary, is currently vaporware.
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