Boeing Unveils the Stealth Eagle

Enter the F-15SE!

The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] today in St. Louis unveiled the F-15 Silent Eagle (F-15SE), a new F-15 configuration designed to meet the future needs of international customers.
“The F-15 Silent Eagle is designed to meet our international customers’ anticipated need for cost-effective stealth technologies, as well as for large and diverse weapons payloads,” said Mark Bass, F-15 Program vice president for Boeing. “The innovative Silent Eagle is a balanced, affordable approach designed to meet future survivability needs.”
Improvements in stealth include coatings and treatments on the aircraft. With the added advantage of redesigned conformal fuel tanks (CFTs) that allow for internal weapons carriage, the Silent Eagle becomes a very attractive fighter for Boeing’s international customers.
Depending on the specific mission, the customer can use the CFTs that are designed for internal carriage or change back to the traditional CFTs for optimum fuel capacity and external weapons carriage. The Silent Eagle will be able to internally carry air-to-air missiles such as the AIM-9 and AIM-120 and air-to-ground weapons such as the Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) and Small Diameter Bomb (SDB). The standard weapons load used on current versions of the F-15 is available with the traditional CFTs installed.

Boeing timed this perfectly. One month before Secretary Gates puts the kibosh on Lockheed’s F-22 program, Boeing swoops in with a highly versatile, 5.5 generation fighter that’s both deadly and cost effective (the Stealth Eagle was announced in mid-March).
Boeing seems to be gearing this program towards overseas clients, with the USAF looking ahead to the inevitable massive JSF purchase. Fair enough. But would it hurt to beef up our inventory with a couple F-15SE squadrons? Halting F-22 production has put an enormous gap in the Air Force’s fleet, so the introduction of a cheap, flexible, capable, and stealthy fighter practically has a bow on it. The old USAF, pre-decapitation, would sniff at any technology that’s anything less than cutting edge and exciting. Today’s boys in blue are more open to innovation.
If nothing else, it’s worth a look.
Aside: Each time I read “F-15SE” I want to say “F-15 Strike Eagle” instead of Stealth Eagle. Annoying.

  • Jeffrey

    F22 – $140M/plane
    F15-SE -$100M/plane
    F35 ~ $90M+/plane + cost of logistical and support infrastructure.
    F15-SE certainly sounds like a good deal. Is there any word on how quickly they might go to production? I love the irony of replacing F15s with (better) F15s!
    I still believe the F22 is better and the way to go, but if its doomed this is at least an alternative.

    • gord-x

      they should a built the f-23, better plane, but no….

  • Tony Conner

    The F-15C and F-15E are both excellent aircraft, but long in the tooth. It is doubtful that the F-15SE will have sufficient advantages against the current generation of Russian/Chinese aircraft to be dominant. The obvious answer was to continue production of the F-22 for the US Air Force and supplement the allied air forces with some F-15SE’s to fill the air superiority role. The allied air dforces are now using the Eurofighter,
    Rafeal, and Gripen. These are fine aircraft, but again would have serious trouble with the SU-30 or MIG-35. The time of the F-15/F-16 has passed. The F-35 is no match for the latest generation of Russian/Chinese fighters. I only hope the teh UCAV’s mature in the very near future!!!

    • gord-x

      put thrust vectoring on the f-15se and i think you’d be supprised.

  • Drake1

    No brainer really…the Navy is buying new conventional aircraft. Seems sensible for the Air Force to buy some new conventional aircraft to full out the force. Of course some of that capacity may now be permantly taken by UASs.

  • John

    Sven — yes, older info. Noted in the second paragraph :)

  • Tim

    “Halting F-22 production has put an enormous gap in the Air Force’s fleet”
    Enormous gap? What are you smoking?
    It’s more accurate to say that the USAF will now merely be ridiculously oversized in the future instead of obscenely oversized.
    For those who are a bit behind on the news, the cold war ended. Several years back, in fact.

    • Matt

      so china isnt really building up its forces? russia isnt creating new fighters? the af needs to be giant to take on the amounts of cheap low quality chinese “fighters”…

  • ProjectThor

    You must not keep up with todays news… you do know it’s 2009, not 1999, right? If you haven’t noticed, yet, this country isn’t well liked around the world and the enemies of this nation are growing in numbers. Our old adversaries are rebuilding their forces and the “American Empire” is squarely in their sights. Since Obama has yet to walk on water for us, i’ll put my faith in our soldiers/sailors/airmen and our technology, thank you.
    Wake up and smell the 21st century, ye of sheltered mind and blinded vision.
    Have a nice day.

  • The Cenobyte

    Good plan on their part. A lower cost kind of stealthy aircraft that has a proven kill record. Good job guys… Although I am suprised they didn’t include new intakes, new canopy shape, etc to make it even more stealthy. I understand they wanted something cheap but I think they could have been closer to a 5.75 gen aircraft with just a tiny bit of more work.

  • Byron Skinner

    Good Morning Folks,
    Well said Tim. To Project Thor, the American Empire? Beside being a shrill for the defense industry who the he** are you? Come clean and fight under your real name/organizational name.
    A close look at this variant of the F-15 finds it purely for export. The USAF has no need for this short range F/A aircraft. The F-15 is 1960’s technology and that is what we should be selling to Saudi Arabia, Twain, South Korea, Pakistan etc.
    Byron Skinner

  • DominionofOne

    I mentioned this last night on the F22 comment page. I must really be way ahead of the curve. I guess I do know a thing or two after all.
    I am sure Israel, Japan, and UAE will buy or few.

  • Moose

    Just call it the F-15N. N for Ninja.

  • cunninglinguine

    “If you haven’t noticed, yet, this country isn’t well liked around the world and the enemies of this nation are growing in numbers.”
    Gee, who do we have to thank for that?

  • Ryan

    @Tony Conner – How can you say the F-35 is no match for the latest generation of Russian/Chinese fighters? It hasn’t even completed development. In any realistic scenario where the two aircraft would face off, the F-35 is going to have stealth, AESA radar, AWACS support, and the AIM-120D. That sounds like a pretty damn formidable combination to me.

  • Ryan

    @Project Thor — The election of Barack Obama seriously undercut the narrative our enemies were spinning about the Evil American Empire. Whatever you think about his politics, his popularity around the world is undeniable. I have little doubt that the list of our country’s enemies is shrinking, not growing.

  • ProjectThor

    @ Mr. Skinner,
    I am not a “shill” for the defense industry.. i’m an ex-SF soldier that put in too much time & blood to see the country screwed by the democrat whores in office right now. The F-15SE might be a good stop gap until there REALLY is a F-35.
    Don’t be a pinhead and start the freaking finger pointing all over again. It’s asinine, pointless, and it started with Uncle Willie thinking that the world needed us to be there police force so STFU.
    Are you kidding me? The world is viewing Obama as a joke, now. The man is as graceless/uncouth as anyone, except a Somoli pirate, could be. Power to the people my ass… you have any clue how much money that twit made last year? If you did, you would be twitching all over like a blind queer at a weinie roast. Left wing it elsewhere.

  • El Cid

    Forgive me for my own naivete, but at a recent airshow both the F-15 and F-18 performances were shockingly good — I had no idea how amazingly aerobatic both were. Sure, the F-22 was an unearthly level more tricky, but if the F-15 can be structurally sound, it still strikes me as an astoundingly effective vehicle.

  • jack

    What the US really needs more than a new fighter is more ACM training for it’s fighter crews. ACM right now is way down on the list of priorities. There’s no doubt the US has the best bomb droppers in the world. No one would argue that. But we’re certainly not the best in ACM. Not even the top 3. We need to start spending dollars giving our pilots more flight time and alot more realistic ACM training more often.

  • Valcan

    Caught this a few weeks ago from the moment i saw it new the raptor was doomed. I say we buy some more of these for use as a poor mans raptor.
    As far as it not being as good i wouldnt count on that also how many can they build and can they keep them flying? Most ppl think of an airforce they think of numbers and tech but it is also about logistics without logistics fuel parts maintanence your awsome airforce is just a easy ground target.
    Ok some ppl still dont get it. There are alot of ppl out there that feel that the world is unfair and treats them wrong. Well it does, life isnt fair so these ppl then hate those better off than them or more successful or stronger.
    I want them to hate us if that means where stronger better. Life isnt about being just like everyone else. Its about being as strong as capable and as powerful as YOU can be. If the rest of the world or some weak kneed men in washington feel we need to all be “Equal” then let them move.
    If obama or the far left loves europe so much move there. I cant count how many times ive talked to a person from europe who moved here and tells me ive gotten so much farther than i ever could have there or something like that.
    Talked to a guy his wife was german he was indian. We came over to just say hi and talk. It amazed him he wondered why we werent put off that he was indian and his wife was german. We didnt care he was one of use now. And that is in the supposed hot bed of racism the south.
    Oh and as for the evil american empire.
    Rome was a evil empire to its enemies. When it fell it drug all of europe and most of the know world with it for almost 800 yrs. Heck we still havent figured out some of th things they knew.
    Buy some F15SE for support of the raptor, and more aircombat training what good is a weapon you cant use when needed.

  • WJS

    Valcan with the three! What he said.

  • Aaron McN

    I think the fighters are a fantastic filler. Good job I say!

  • DominionofOne

    Let me be clear. The best ALL AROUND plane in the world is: F-15K, which only South Korea has. Even better than our crap. I advocate the USAF keep buying these. Here is a direct quote from Wikipedia:
    “The F-15K Slam Eagle (Korean: F-15K ????) is an advanced derivative of the F-15E, ordered and being delivered to Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF).
    In 2002, ROKAF selected the F-15K for its F-X fighter program after the fierce competition of four fighters: the F-15K from Boeing, the Rafale from Dassault-Breguet, the Eurofighter Typhoon, and Su-35 from Sukhoi. A total 40 aircraft were ordered with deliveries beginning in 2005.[40]
    The F-15K variant has many advanced features not found on F-15E, such as an AAS-42 IRST (Infrared Search and Track), JHMCS (Joint Helmet-Mounted Cueing System), and advanced AN/APG-63(V)1 MSA radar. AESA Radar (Active Electronically Scanned Array) is also available as an option. In addition, the F-15K can launch many advanced weapons such as AGM-84K SLAM-ER ATA and AGM-84H Harpoon. Two General Electric F110-GE-129 29,400 lbf (131 kN) thrust engines power the F-15K, representing an increase from that of the baseline F-15E.”

  • drago

    A Royal Air Force Typhoon shot down a pair F-15Es in a mock dogfight. In fact, when the RoKAF evaluated the F-15, Typhoon and Rafale, the Rafale was the airplane that won the combat eval. When the Singaporean Air Force evaluated the same three airplanes, the Typhoon came out the winner. The only reason the F-15 was selected (after some arm-twisting by the US govt) was “inter-operability” issues. The frogs complained very loudly indeed.

  • Byron Skinner

    Good Evening Folks,
    To Project Thor, if you were a SF soldier you would have the balls to use you own name in posting. Until you start you are just another bull sh** at the end of the bar who is a** blowing.
    Use your name and tell us all your unit and dates of service, I’ve yet to meet a SF guy who is not proud of his Group, Battalion and Team and a SF guy certainly would hid his name.
    Byron Skinner

  • ewok40k

    Against 12 or so Su-30s Russians manufactured? Or those that WON’T be manufactured due to oil prices crash?
    Still I doubt at this price its worth. 100 F-22s would own 200 F-15XYZ.
    We need a 50kk $ a piece fighter to have enough of them! If US industry cant design those buy Sukhois!

  • DominionofOne

    TO Drago the smart ass. Missed the point.
    What part of ‘ALL AROUND’ did you not understand? F22 or those Eurotrash planes have no ground attack of any consequence, which is kind of in demand, unlike air to air which only exists in the minds of people who push the 300 plane fantasy of the F22. Not saying we don’t need the F22 air show/hanger queens, just 187 is good enough, not 250 or more. Anyway, in theory, in the more likely VR only dog fights, a JHMCS with off bore sight missiles even the playing field, something F15k’s have, and F22 does not have, yet—because it wasn’t thought to be needed, at the time.
    F-15E and much improved F15K are not primary fighters, but more useful. I don’t care about mock air to air against allies, or war game simulations against Russia or China. The US is always being shot down in simulations, against allies, and so called foes. Even the F22 was shot down by a F16 with JHMCS in 2007. So how much stock do you put in simulations?

  • drago

    DominionofOne AKA armchair fighter pilot,
    Take your assertions to ROKAF and the RSAF. They will tell you which fighter they really wanted.
    P.S. Kill that spammer

  • drago

    “The F-15 was chosen over the Typhoon, Dassault Rafale and Sukhoi Su-35, although the Rafale came out on top in the evaluation. ” DATE : 20/03/07
    SOURCE : Flight International
    “The French-built fighter Rafale reportedly beat the F-15K by a narrow margin in the technical phase of evaluation. Two other fighters, the Russian Sukhoi Su-35 and the Typhoon from European consortium Eurofighter, also joined in the competition.” (Source: Korea Overseas Information Service; dated Jan. 18, web-posted Jan. 17, 2007)
    “A surprising and important detail had been made public: the technological and operational evaluation by the RNAF of the three candidates. According to the RNAF criteria, the JSF had been graded 6.97; the Rafale, 6.95; and the Eurofighter Typhoon, 5.85. ” source:
    “Rafale, the French fighter, scrambles for export orders
    By Christina Mackenzie
    International Herald Tribune
    Published: July 16, 2006 Paris
    Riddle: Which combat aircraft outperforms its competitors in dogfights, is frequently classed first on technical merit in international tenders, is capable of covering a broad spectrum of air missions and is competitively priced, but has yet to win a single export order from a foreign air force? Answer: the Rafale, the French fighter developed and manufactured by Dassault Aviation.
    Colonel Fran

  • Ryan

    Calling Obama graceless is just damn dishonest. I always hated Bush, but at least I could admit that he had charisma, and that I’d rather have a beer with him than the other guy.
    And let me get this straight. I should hate people because they make money. Why don’t you go back to Russia with that kind of talk, you frickin’ commie?
    P.S. Taking cheap shots at gay people is a great way to improve your credibility.

  • JEFF


  • Stormhawk

    Well, if you want a cheaper aircraft, you could always bring back and update the Tigershark (how’s that for a blast from the past?). Yes, the F22 can do some pretty amazing stuff, but is it mission applicable? Do we have need of those pretty amazing things that it can do, often enough, to make it fiscally responsible to invest in large numbers of them? Or should we rather procure a smaller force of them and put the money not spent to more aircraft that are cheaper, that we use more of their capabilites more often, and/or additional air time and training to crews and pilots?

  • DeepThroat

    @Jeffrey : “I still believe the F22 is better and the way to go, but if its doomed this is at least an alternative.”
    Don’t worry, the F-22 was just a show pony. The really good stuff is still black and makes the F-22 look like a Cessna.

  • pedestrian

    I’ll give this a good nickname: Eagle on steroids
    S of the SE stands for steroid :-D

  • pedestrian

    >I’m just asking you to admit that he’s popular around the world.
    It just smells like fascism for being too popular. When you slam the anti-Obama minority, it only smells like fascism. I hope this populism and the red scare against the anti-Obama minorities would come to an end.

  • Anthony

    Funny time to see this. While this page loaded, 4 F-15’s flew overhead . I live near Barnes and Westover air base in mass. And i can say 1 thing
    Waking up to that reminds me…. no matter what anyone says, America kicks Serious ass.
    And any obama haters. Listen and think about this id like some opinion. Ok his policies are good bad awful amazing whatever.
    Dont forget this though, he is gearing us toward RnD
    His budget includes increases in funds for DARPA and MIT research labs.
    So if we have 200 f22’s or 2000 (id love to own one)
    . WERE 20 years beyond what the public Even knows about.
    Eurofighters or russian and china –
    itll be sad when that 500 kilowatt laser on the horizon puts a hole in a pilots helmet
    ever think thats why we only need 200 f22’s

  • ProjectThor

    @ Skinner,
    Since you’ve decided to be a prick… 1/5, 86-92. Brz Star, LoM… that should narrow it down for you, considering that there were only 6-8 of us that were awarded the above. If you are the know-it-all that you act like you are… you should be able to figure it out. I used to respect what you had to say but you’ve taken a nasty turn, recently, Skinner. Stay to the subject… and that was the F-15SE as a stop gap until the F-35 becomes operational AND abundant because, right now, i would still call it a proto type.
    Also, any opinion on a replacement for the A-10?
    i never said i liked G.W. and i like Obama even less BUT the have my respect as to being Commander in Chief. Obama has already proven himself crass… more than once but so did Uncle Willie. As for insulting people with alternative lifestyles… it was a SAYING, you ignorant twit. don’t get out much, huh?

  • Jes

    The F22 cancellation means nothing – it’s a prototype to the F35, and at exactly the same time they announce a gigantic order for F35s. Ergo: saying F22 is “something” is propagating a great big Red Herring.
    The F15SE is an excellent fallback if economic conditions require that even the F35 is budget-wise or technically unviable.

  • Drake1

    Looks like Russia’s 5th gen aircraft may not make it out the gate.
    “Market Trends Running Contrary to Russian Position in 5th Gen Fighter”

  • falcon

    It’s strange, I’m pretty sure this was a defense blog, not a political blog. Who cares what any of you think about Obama, GWB, etc. Here’s an article about a plane that could match most of what’s out there right now and all I’m seeing is bickering over politics. I come to this site to read the opinions of people who know more about defense tech then me, not watch a bunch of grown adults act like kindergartners. So can someone please give me some more opinions about this plane?

  • Byron Skinner

    Good Morning Project Thor,
    Still no name, all shane, no balls, I’m sure that there are guys who served with the 5th. Group around here who would enjoy getting together with you. But no name, your just Bull Sh**er. And I tend to get more then a little agitated with X Box Veterans.
    Byron Skinner

  • Steve Entling

    They should surely keep the F35, I can remember when no one wanted the F15 and look at what she’s done. The F22 is just a prototype of the F35 anyway, so that’s ok.
    Gays should not be in the military, but if so have a target put on their back so we can get some target practice.
    CW3 Entling, AVN, Ret

  • Valcan

    Anyone know the range with and without internal weapons
    Btw if it cant why dont they make pylons or whatever on the f35 that can carry external fuel tanks and then when it nears the combat zone it can drop the tanks fold up the pylons and be stealthy again?
    A-10 replacment…..what replacment the Warthog doesnt need a replacment.

  • pfcem

    Good god people. The F-22 is not ‘just a prototype for the F-35’. It is the replacement for the F-15 and the F-35 is the replacement for the F-16 (as well as many other aircraft around the western world).
    The F-15SE is great for any who can not have the F-22 or F-35 (or need something before thay can have the F-35). But the USAF getting F-15SEs instead of F-22s is a VERY BAD idea.

  • CCT-man

    Honestly, I dont give at fat rats ass what we sell to other countries as far as out-dated weaponry that we have surpassed by 30+ years. With the F-22, F-117 and B-2 all I care about is the close air support for our troops and accuracy for target aquisition.

  • pleuris

    All what I can say is: This F-15SE is not a generation 5.5 aircraft. just a gap closer between the F-22 and the legacy F-15/E/S/I/K. Wich makes sence because the cannot be exported.
    Don’t shoot me for if but the best this aircraft is: is a 4.0 generation aircraft. Why? First it’s an updated airframe with stealthy espacts, but no greater agility, or IR stealthiness. Second: The F-22 is a true domination fighter wih some fighterbomber capabilty. As I see this the F15SE is a truely fighterbomber with air to air capabilty. And this is really a difference

  • MS3

    This airplane is hardly “cheap” at $100 million a piece.

  • Greg

    Isn’t that a typo, calling the F-15SE a “5.5 Generation” aircraft. I thought that the F-15s were 4th generation and F-22/F-35 was 5th generation, so if anything F-15SE would be a 4.5 generation aircraft.

  • figdaddy

    Never sell any aircraft to ANY ONE that is equal to the one the U.S. uses to defend this country.And never stop developing new and better aircraft for the defense of this country.

  • Quartzeye

    The cancellation of the F-22 is poetic justice since the YF-23 was clearly superior to the YF-22 in the fly-off prior to it’s selection. The only reason the YF-22 was selected was do to the pending litigation of McDonnell Douglas over the cancellation of the A-12 and Northrup over the overcharging and substitution of foreign chips in the B-2. As a matter of fact 4 of the 5 generals in the selection process choose the YF-23 and at the announcement ceremony for the Lockheed, no mention of performance superiority was given. The quote, I believe, was “Lockheed was better equipped to manage a program of this scope”. Tell a fighter jockey that the plane he is in is the best managed choice instead of the best performing plane.

  • Valcan

    Could Mcdonald douglas try to upgrade the YF23 and maybe try a start up programe again?
    Iwas very little when the program was canceled so i haz no clue.
    Compromise isnt always good.

  • Charles

    The current airframes might not be airworthy…you’d have to inspect/refurbish etc. If Northrup doesn’t have the tooling and parts anymore then those have to be designed and built. If the parts are unique and the assembly lines for them are gone, you need to find the original subcontractors or find new subcontractors and vet the parts. Depending on conditions it could either be expensive or very expensive.

  • Bacopa

    Are the best fighters what we need right now? And what about the lessions of Red Flag and Top Gun? France may sell its most badass plane to other countries, but without proper training and infrastructure the Raphale will be easily shot down by ageing F-16’s with good central command.
    Large numbers of durable planes with good pilots and good command infrastructure always win.
    And money, productivity and, innovation win in the long run. We need to pay what it takes to get out of this mess. Start paying our bills again, reign in exploitative lending, and begin to export capital as a developed nation should do. Money is the best weapon of all.

  • Byron Skinner

    Good Evening Folks,
    A Game Changer
    Tomorrow in the Aviation press General Atomic will announce the Predator C “Avenger”. If the F-22 is a Generation 5 aircraft, then the Avenger is surly the first of Generation 6.
    A general description, visually it will look like most Predators, the only noticeable difference that most people will pick up on is that the propeller is missing, thats because It’s a jet power aircraft.
    The released specs. will say that the Avenger on internal fuel can stay up for 20 hours, with a speed of 400 Knots and an operational ceiling of 60K ft. Although not specified the Avenger will be able to be weaponized.
    The big thing though is that the Avenger will be able to fly off and be recovered by CV’s. It will have a tail hook and folding wings. But better then that with an inexpensive modification the Avenger will be able to operate off LHD’s and similar ships.
    Unlike weapon systems from Lockheed, Boeing and the like, the Avenger will be quickly tested and be put into production. The airframe has manny common parts with previous Predators and the engine and avionics are off the shelf.
    The Avenger could be operational and in the air by this Summer. The Maritime variant, with the tail hook and folding wings can be in the fleet by this Fall. The Predator C Avenger like the rest of the Predator line has been internally funded by GA.
    GA tends to like with the rest of the predator line keep the cost down so that several airframes can be bought. Needless to say the Avenger will be a huge asset to Army and Marine Battalion commander and up who will be able to monitor the margins of the battle zone and take action all in real time.
    Byron Skinner

  • Sven Ortmann

    “What part of ‘ALL AROUND’ did you not understand? F22 or those Eurotrash planes have no ground attack of any consequence…”
    Rafale: Designed as multi-role combat aircraft from the beginning
    Typhoon: Designed as fighter and turned into a multi-role combat aircraft in the meantime (just like F-15 and F-16 were pure fighters early on).
    The F-22 and F-15SE are the ones with minimal ground attack payload and the F-35 isn’t even close to the ground attack payload of a Rafale, Typhoon or late F-15.
    Ground attack payload requirements aren’t large when the major difficulty is to find targets (as in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo), but it’s very important in target-rich and less restricted conventional warfare.

  • Rhyno327

    There is no replacement for the A-10. The best thing the AF can do is maintain wat they have, coz there is no better CAS aircraft. Unless its an unmanned drone with a significant payload. I still think the F-15SE is a good move. Money is tight these days, we must choose wisely.

  • Valcan

    Just accept it we arent buying the rafale.
    There is no need to replace the A-10 right now or in the foreseable future. Its the greatest ground attack platform ever devised.
    You will give linky or i will kill you!!!
    So why cant we convert a few cheap freighters for drone ops park em near pirate zones?

  • byron Skinner

    Good Morning to you Vulcan,
    As usual you are a few bricks short of a load. What I’m talking about is a quantum leap in technology here, not trying to extend the life of legacy airframes.
    Two things about you short sighted ideas, one the Air Force is being kicked out of the ground attack loop, with your claim to be a SF guy I would think you would welcoming leaving the Air Force types who had the only comm. to call in the big hurt at the PX and do it with your own resources. You sure don’t sound like SF to me.
    Second. I left out part of the story regarding the Predator C Avenger, to give Christian a chance to catch up, and that is what’s happening over at China Lake and a developing weapon system call “Spike”.
    When it is a fully matured system, and that could very well be in this calender year, Spike will give the UAV’s a lethal (Predator, X-45 and X-47, so far) capacity for the ground attack mission on the battle field that the A-10 and other manned systems, that have to find a gas station every couple of hours, then could haven’t even have dreamed of just a couple of years ago, and at radically reduced costs.
    Translated Vulcan, that means far greater fire power on call for the guys on the ground, at less cost, with more TOT and under direct control of the on site ground commander. And as an extra special bonus the ground commander will have direct streaming live video of his battle space and real time reconnaissance that is not filtered through an AF bladder.
    Like the manned AFV’s that Sec. Gates killed off last week when he asked for a universal controller, at this time it’s a software project, the hardware mostly already exists and all that is needed is miniaturization and battle hardening, for all Army UV’s Space, Air, Ground or on the waters and that the FCS platforms will be unmanned.
    Byron Skinner

  • Valcan

    Um what? whos Vulcan…and i never claimed to be SF?…
    /head explodes for the confusion
    Now im not saying we dont need unmanned vehicles far from it i think we need them bad from the predator to the Mule. Unmanned systems could reinforce and back up manned troops on the ground at sea and in the air at many many task.
    What I worry about most in reguards to these systems isnt there effectivness or there trust worthiness but there vulnerability to hackers.

  • Valcan

    And ive always figured the best ppl for ground attack where like the marines in the navy, Other ground forces. Control and operation of the A-10 and other ground attack assets are best controled there. Let the Airforce control air superiority and heavy bombers and such.

  • Drake1

    ProjectThor was the self professed ex SF soldier(if there is such a thing).
    It’s scary how fast UASs are taking over the close air support role. Fix the bandwidth and situation awareness issues, and they may just start taking over the air superiority role.

  • Valcan

    You better accept reality and what others wrote in reality. I didn’t write about buying Rafales or phasing out A-10’s, so it’s entirely laughable to imply it (like you did).
    You overestimate your mental powers if you think that you can read others’ minds.
    Posted by: Sven Ortmann at April 20, 2009 02:12 PM
    Ok i thought you were saying we needed to replace our A-10’s with rafale for ground attack…ok so nm. But seriously what is the main force drawing fighter construction up so high? Is it the multi tasking? Stealth? or a combination of many, many, factors.
    Im not saying the Rafale isnt a good aircratf im just saying it isnt something i nessesarily believe we need atm especialy at 160mil a pop. F35 can take care of that with a few modifications it could be even better but we all know it will continue to evolve like all aircraft, weapons systems.
    “You better accept reality and what others wrote in reality.”
    Now seriously………WTF are you ppl talking about?!?!?!
    When have i ever claimed to be a SF guy? Are you guys on crack?
    I think that pretty soon most ground attack roles will be filled by drones and such with pilots doing most of the air to air training.
    With reguards to my comments on the A-10. I wasnt saying the A-10 should never be replaced just that there is no manned attack platform to beat it. If were going to replace the A-10 and im not saying we should at all. That we should focus on a more robust and powerful drone platform.
    Now if any of yall can seriously tell me what about that makes no sence? Iseriously might hug you.

  • Valcan

    ProjectThor was the self professed ex SF soldier(if there is such a thing).
    Someone remembers me!
    /Looks offended
    You make a great point Drake its hard to even remember what drone tech was like in 2001 immagine it in another 10 yrs. O.o

  • I_think_I_Know_Something

    We should not be sacrificing our ability to achieve air DOMINANCE! We either have dominance or we don’t. We can’t sorta, kinda have air dominance. If the F-15SE is not the best fighter in the world then we shouldn’t be using it for our air dominance role. If we can’t afford all the AF wants we should be sacrificing capability elsewhere. Air dominance is the most important role and hardest to achieve mission for our air force.
    Do we really need an all stealth AF? If our future conflicts are going to be like Iraq or Afganistan, do we really need stealth fighters to do CAS and tactical bombing when we have air DOMINANCE? Does this Hi-Lo mix strategy make sense today? It seems like it should be a mix of 3 different types of roles. One for complete air dominance, one for 1st day of war multirole and air defense suppression stealth fighter, and one cheaper multirole fighter for everything else.
    With enough of the right aircraft to achieve and maintain air DOMINANCE almost any legacy/4th gen aircraft can fill the CAS and tactical bombing roles.

  • Matt

    when you think about it all this aguing of fighters forgets the biggest fact; stealth. with current sams and air to air missles a plane like the rafale, su30, or f15k wouldnt last a second. it doesnt really matter how agile a plane is if it doesnt have stealth. the f15se is a great choice for people like isreal, sk, etc because they would fighet defensive wars against less advanced nations (iran, nk, etc) BUT the usa needs a stealther plane to offensively project its power into china/russia/etc. also remeber every penny put into this under obamas budget cut happy gates is less for the more capable F35… patience and you get thousands of very good planes or rush and get a higher number of decent planes (which cant avoid serious sams). GREAT export fighter but not so great for a rich nation like america (with 40+% of the world defence spending; more than russia,china, and eu combined)…

  • We need to remember that China is not standing still on advanced aircraft procurement. The US needs to make we have enough advanced aircraft to deal with a China, or even Russian scenario.
    I’m not sure patch jobs like this, should account for a significant number of your force structure. The F-15 was however always counted on to work with the raptor to kill targets.

  • rwh88

    You guys all sound realy dumb right now. How many of you have first hand experience with what you are talking about? Reading here say off the internet doesn’t count.