Introducing the F-15X: Would the Air Force Buy a Non 'Stealth' Fighter?



Red Flag is the most realistic setup there is so you are a bit stuck without arranging a few real wars. :wink:

I would suggest spending sometime doing some research - you will eventually start to see the difference.


I’d be more trusting if those war games were done under realistic rules rather than hamstringing the F-15s and refusing to allow certain actions by the opponents.


Oh I’ll grant you that Red Flag is the most realistic wargame / exercise there is. I read about the red eagles, and all that. So cool. Back then, RedFor were fighting for their 3-year old daughters, in that they were fighting to improve BluFor, and BluFor was between the nursery and the hordes of slavering commies. Or so we believed back then.

Now, its all just politics. Internal politics. Who get’s the money. The jobs. So no, I wouldn’t put the same trust in those outcomes as I would in the ACEVAL/AIMVAL stuff for example. But that’s just me, and my uninformed random internet dude opinion. Heh.

I firmly believe panthers are some truly next level stuff. Seen it up close, heard it, seen it move and read all about it. But it also seems fragile. I don’t know stealth tech from up close, but I read it’s fragile. I do know IT stuff from up close, and I know it’s fragile. Networks and software keel over. Choke up. Get hacked. I wouldn’t trust that. Not the way I would trust a well made airframe that just moves.

I’m also having a great time with this discussion so let’s be extra careful in staying respectful, ok?


I just just told you they don’t get things right and you give me a news story to some kind of admin screwup - my point still stands. Yep they are still best placed however dictated to by people who know less - thankyou.

Static thrust rating does not account for drag and weight or any of those things I listed separately.

As I said you will need to wait a few years for more idea on MCR.


How were the F-15s hamstrung exactly ?

The F-35s have been hamstrung in many ways such as non complete systems and restrictions on agility.


ACEVAL/AIMVAL was mostly unrealistic on purpose because they wanted to test close in combat with the new All aspect IR missiles and what happens when 2 jets get real close in.


Panthers are great they’re small, they’re agile (eyewatering roll rate on them things) and they have a ton of fuel. Also sweet sweet gizmo’s to play with.
I used to believe the F-35 was a potato, but no, not anymore. It is everything a viper pilot could dream of in a fighter.

It also is not an F-15. It lacks certain features an all-out air superiority fighter has.
Great kinematics. And not just acceleration, but ceiling, top speed, all that stuff they did so well already in the 60s.
Gobs of persistence. That means fuel but that also means a big bag of sticks to throw at the enemy.
A big ol’ radar. The panther’s is neat and all, but that nose is small. In the end aperture size matters for the sensitivity of a radar. That’s one of the reasons classic air superiority fighters are big. They have big fat noses with big fat radar antennae in 'em.

Now an F-15X. It’d have the same awesome networking the panther has. The same sweet senor fusion. But also the ability to get up to angels 55 and set their hair on fire. Catch themselves an 60’s MiG-25. Also carry over 10 long sticks. Be a bomb truck if needed (and truck as much as two panthers, even if those are in trucking mode).

No I really think the super eagle is a great idea. Universal healthcare is a better idea, but that’s an entirely different subject :stuck_out_tongue: :cccp:


Uh, no, it doesn’t. That was a DOD-wide audit which would not have happened had Congress not directed it. Which means the USAF would not have checked their equipment and figures. Thus they would have written off $53 million worth of perfectly good equipment, then gone to Congress and begged for more money that they didn’t need. The audit basically forced them to do something they wouldn’t have otherwise done.

With 350 aircraft already made and in service for several years now, I should hope that the readiness rate improves significantly, because otherwise the trend is going down, not up. From 2016 to 2017, the F-35’s readiness rate went down by -9.90%. Shouldn’t that be going up, not down, as time goes on and familiarity is increased?

The F-15s were prohibited from using BVR weapons, AWACS, and data links. I believe it was Cope India 2004 and I strongly believe the USAF was using the exercise for political reasons, namely for the F-22 and F-35 programs.

This unfortunately is a very real problem and one that can’t be discounted. The JSF program was set up in a way that worked out very nice for members of the US Congress, as well as US allies. A lot of people have economic reasons for staying with the F-35 beyond capabilities or cost alone; the secondary effects of being part of the F-35 acquisition process are very lucrative. Notably, with the recent difficulties in Turkey, where critical parts of the F-35 are made represented some issues as they tried to figure out where to source alternatives in event of issues.

There’s actually a reason for this, namely that much of the planned electronics suite for the F-22 was shifted from it to the F-35. It was a “rob Peter to pay Paul” decision made as the USAF believed the greater quantity of F-35s was needed over a smaller number of F-22s. Reason being that the F-35 being a multirole aircraft was more suited to what the USAF needed to do over the pure-fighter F-22.

I have to be fair to the F-35 in that much of what they’re doing is very new and unique, especially with regards to modern information systems. It’s new territory that is unfamiliar, so developing and building an aircraft to operate with such systems is a perilous affair. My personal opinion, however, is such was too much all at once and an incremental approach would have served everyone’s interests better. The most significant piece has to be UAS, which the long development cycle of the F-35 hasn’t seemed to account for.


More misconception - acceleration not far off the F-22 and top speed is limited to M1.6 which is more than fast enough for its design. It clearly has thrust - drag to go over M2.0 on the charts I have seen.

Sigh The F-15 cannot be considered a top tier air superiority fighter anymore and its kinematics are no where near where you think in combat config…anyway


I honestly do not believe that’s the question at hand. The question isn’t “what is the perfect solution?” it’s “what’s the good-enough solution?” It’s harsh, but we cannot afford perfect solutions everywhere with everything.

If the F-15X is bought, it may not be the perfect answer to the problem, but it could keep F-15C/Ds from falling out of the sky without putting more demands on the F-35 fleet. That could be very good in the grand scheme of things.


Well an audit where someone has screwed up - this is not really relevant to this discussion and the point being made.

2004 Cope India you say? …okay are you sure about that?


Some excellent points being made here gentlemen. Very insightful comments and interesting discussion.

My personal opinion is having that many more planes and missiles in the air directed by 5th generation platforms and sensors data linked to 4.5 generation planes would nullify any advantages gained by having a couple more 5th gen aircraft With a lower overall airframe count. I just can’t imagine it being that much more of an advantage.
I just can’t see it. My fault maybe but thats my honest OPINION on it.


@MigBuster, you are being awfully negative about the F-15X. You call it a second tier aircraft and refer to its capabilities like it was an F-15C.

I see the F-15X as an advanced 4th gen aircraft with great range and payload. It will free up the 5th gen stuff from, as said, domestic and lower threat areas.

It does seem from the articles that the Air Force brass is only interested in the new expensive 5th gen. Why not leverage a venerable design like the F-15?


It pertains primarily to how the USAF and the DOD aren’t always right. They are human and make mistakes just like anyone else; sometimes for the right reasons, sometimes for the wrong ones.

Affirmative, it was Cope India '04:

If you get down to brass tacks, that’s kind of what’s been going on for the past 30 years, with AWACS aircraft directing and controlling operations using their powerful sensor suites and electronic communications. A 5th generation aircraft can now incorporate much of the same capabilities in one airframe due to technological advances, coupled with automation allowing for fewer crewmembers. Such is not cheap, however, and one has to ask if such capability is needed all the time in all situations. The past 20 years of military action are not conducive to arguing for such a capable fleet.


Because the F-15X certainly looks to be more expensive than the current 5th Gen and shows very poor value as per my first post :slight_smile: and it is not as capable regardless.


One has to be fair about the figures: the intent is only to purchase ~250 airframes. If the F-35 were purchased in such a small number, would the cost not also scale up astronomically for it as well?


Economies of scale as I mentioned on post 6.

A small scale purchase like this looks horrendous on the face of it however the production line is still in swing and if Boeing can make a loss. (wont hold breath). Another solid (not) political reason is literally to keep the line going of course!!

They are also a lot more complex than the F-15Cs and on the face of it not seeing how they fit into the USAF because they bring a load more new systems with them. We can however see what great MCR they have after 4-10 years though if this fantasy ever happens :wink:


Ah, so there is a benefit over the existing F-15C/Ds: a more capable airframe. With what we know about the F-15E’s flight hour cost and readiness rate, why would an F-15X be that much worse? At a proposed cost of $50-75 million per F-15X, getting 80-90% of the F-35’s capability seems like a very good deal to me, especially if it turns into a firm price contract a la KC-46.


That’s my whole point as well. I completely agree with this.
There really can’t be that much in it.
If it’s directed by the f35s sensors. Directed by the f35 data link. Missiles are guided by the f35 systems what does it matter if the launcher is not an f35… This I really can’t get my head around.
Low observable tech will not matter one iota to the pilots of these bomb trucks.
The pilots will pass out long before the limits of an f35/22/15x are reached so really can’t be the manoeuvrability or the power or even the range.
Surely they are just force multiplication planes and even deterrent aircraft in that no 5th gen fighter and wingman can dodge that many missiles.


Again not much to go by but more complex non mature systems will have bugs to iron out plus guys needing training on the systems.
You are not getting 80-90% of the F-35s capability :joy: