Saturday, April 17, 2010

Chorus Line for the Raptors

We won't have enough F-22 Raptors to carry out all air defense duties.

So I figured we could use more advanced versions of the F-15 as the low part of the high-low air defense mission. With the new AESA radars we are adding to F-15s, there is a lot of potential for more than just identifying targets.

Well, the F-15 is to be the official backup to the Raptor:

F-22 stealth fighter production is capped, so USAF officials are upgrading their best F-15C with advanced, long-range radars to beef up the air dominance force.

Because of the larger size of the F-15s radar and the aircraft’s greater flight endurance, they also will serve as “stand-in” electronic warfare jamming and attack aircraft as part of the Air Force’s composite air dominance force that also includes stealthy F-22s stationed at Langley Air Force Base, Va.

Each fighter type will shoulder 50% of the air dominance mission now that the F-22 force has been capped at 187 aircraft. The upgraded F-15Cs will carry the larger APG-63(V)3 active, electronically scanned array (AESA) radar. The radar's long range and small target detection capability will allow F-22s to operate in electronic silence with their low observability uncompromised by electronic emissions.

With good pilots, good radar, good missiles, and a good system behind them that supports the sorties from maintenance to post-strike analysis, we can continue our 56 years of aerial dominance for decades more.