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Boeing Proposes New Life, Lethality for F-15C Fighter
The F-15 2040C upgrade would double the missile load of the F-15C from eight to 16 missiles and extend its range. (Image: Boeing)
Boeing is proposing an “F-15 2040C” series of upgrades that would extend the life of the fourth-generation F-15C air superiority fighter to complement the fifth-generation F-22 Raptor. The 2040 version would double to 16 the number of air-to-air missiles the fighter carries, extend its range and improve its lethality and survivability with upgraded electronics.
An F-15 2040C would also extend the fighter’s production line in St. Louis, which with 84 F-15SAs destined for Saudi Arabia has firm orders through 2019. Boeing previously offered a stealthy “Silent Eagle” version for South Korea’s F-X III fighter competition, but that country last year settled on the Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II for the requirement.
At the recent Air Force Association conference in National Harbor, Md., Boeing said it has conducted an internal study of upgrading the F-15C to serve as a cohort to Lockheed Martin’s F-22. The U.S. Air Force originally sought as many as 750 F-22s, but the U.S. government ultimately stopped production in 2011 at 187 operational fighters. Boeing now seeks to fill a perceived gap in air superiority capability with an upgraded F-15C.
“There’s a real challenge that the U.S. faces with air superiority because the next generation air dominance platform is not intended to be fielded until the mid-2030s, and it won’t be out there in numbers until roughly the 2040 time frame to start replacing the fleet,” said Mike Gibbons, Boeing vice president of F-15 programs. “That means the U.S. Air Force has the F-15s and the F-22s they have today to perform the air superiority mission.”
The F-15 2040C would be a menu offering of F-15 program of record and proposed upgrades. “We’re not providing it as a single proposal to the U.S. Air Force,” said Gibbons, who added that Boeing is providing the service with analysis and cost and time estimates of possible improvements. “We expect if they head down this path, they won’t be left to do it all in one [budget] cycle. It’s very likely this would be a set of upgrades to the jet,” he said.
The package would incorporate the programmed radar upgrade of F-15C/Ds with the Raytheon APG-63(v)3 active electronically scanned radar and a new electronic warfare suite called EPAWSS, for the Eagle Passive/Active Warning and Survivability System. A proposed long-range infrared search and track sensor pod would complement the AESA radar. Boeing supplies conformal fuel tanks on the multi-role F-15E Strike Eagle; the 2040C upgrade would add them on the F-15C. The proposed weapons load increase would be accomplished by adding a Boeing-developed “quad pack” carriage system on two weapons stations. A communications and networking pod with advanced datalinks, now being demonstrated under the Air Force’s Talon HATE program, would enable the older F-15 to interact with the Raptor and other platforms.
“These are critical capabilities that are not important to the F-15 alone; they’re really a nice complement to what the F-22 has,” Gibbons said. “The F-22 is an incredible platform by itself. When you bring in an F-15 that’s got more weapons, a long-range sensor that is in a different frequency band than what the F-22 carries, the extended range and the connectivity to the F-22 and other systems—that is a huge increase in capability.” @ainonline.com
The Raytheon APG-63(V)3 is a more modern variant of the company’s APG-63(V)2, and applies the same kind of AESA technology that Raytheon uses in the company’s APG-79 designed for the Navy Boeing F/A-18 Hornet fighter-bomber. The APG-63(V)3 has been in service since 2006.
The Raytheon AN/APG-83 radar for the F-15E, meanwhile, combines the processor of the APG-79 radar with the antenna of the APG-63(V)3 AESA being on the F-15C/D. This radar upgrade is part of the F-15E Radar Modernization Program. (RMP). The new radar includes a wideband radome that enables the radar array to operate on more radar frequencies, and has improvements to environmental control and electronic warfare (EW) systems. @militaryaerospace.com
Eagle Passive/Active Warning and Survivability System
Boeing has chosen BAE Systems as the subcontractor to develop EPAWSS, which provides advanced EW capabilities and a “significant growth path” for the F-15, according to an Oct. 1 BAE Systems statement. The system will improve aircraft protection by adding advanced electronic countermeasures, radar warning and increased chaff and flare capability.
“By upgrading to an enhanced all-digital system, the Air Force, in conjunction with the platform prime, Boeing, will provide next-generation electronic warfare capability to F-15C and F-15E aircraft to help keep the platform capable and mission-ready against current and future threats, ” said Brian Walters, vice president and general manager of Electronic Combat Solutions at BAE Systems, according to the BAE statement. @defensenews.com
The Digital Electronic Warfare System (DEWS) leverages 5th generation technology to provide advanced capabilities for the F-15 Eagle Passive Active Warning Survivability System (EPAWSS).
- The U.S. Air Force requires an integrated electronic warfare system to combat the threats of tomorrow- DEWS provides this capability
- DEWS is currently in production, and has been designed for the next generation F-15 fighter jet
- DEWS leverages an extensive history of providing advanced electronic warfare capabilities to U.S. Air Force aircraft
- DEWS improves survivability and enhances mission capability for
- First look, first shot, first kill
- Deeper penetration against modern integrated air defense systems
- Find, fix, target, track, engage and assess @baesystems.com
See F-15 related post:
See details of Talon HATE pods for F-15C/D: HERE
See details of F-15E: HERE
See details of F-15K: HERE