Thursday, April 25, 2019

Good Enough for Some Government Work

The F-15, no matter how updated, cannot compete with or replace the fifth generation F-35. But as I've argued, there are missions that the 4th generation F-15 can carry out with no problem at all without the need to use the F-35s over-kill capabilities. This article at least recognizes that reality:

However, CAPE [the Pentagon’s Cost and Program Evaluation office] and Air Force officials see viable continuing missions for the F-15EX in homeland and airbase defense, in maintaining no-fly zones where air defenses are limited or nonexistent, and in delivering standoff munitions.

Yes. Although I though it was called the F-15X:

Not to state the obvious, but the F-15X wouldn't fight the F-35 given that we are selling it to allies (well, there is one potential problem).

But aside from that, this argument neglects that the F-15C is used for continental air defense and won't face enemy stealth fighters or air defense missiles; and forgets that a lot of potential enemies would have less capable aircraft--nor will even China and Russia have exclusively 5th generation planes (Russia especially)--that the F-15X could defeat. Why wear out F-35s on weaker air opponents?

Further, with the ability to carry so many air-to-air missiles, the F-15X could serve as a missile truck that an F-35 could be linked to for firing the F-15 weapons based on what the F-35 saw--without the F-35 revealing itself by firing. Maybe this plane could be the way to go to support the F-35 instead of the AABONE I suggested.

The F-15Cs are aging out too fast for the delayed F-35 production to replace. Buying some F-15EX planes to replace some of the retiring F-15Cs makes sense to me.

And as I've also noted, the F-15EX could take over some air defense missions from the F-22, freeing more of that small fleet to deploy overseas.

I could be wrong, but ruling out the F-15EX simply because it is not as capable as the F-35 misses the point that the F-15EX doesn't need to be as capable as the F-35 to do its jobs.