Danger Room: Old School Jet Retooled to Slay Stealth Fighters

14.01.11

Categorie: Air, China, David Axe, Wired |
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F-22 with an F-15

F-22 with an F-15. Air Force photo.

by DAVID AXE

It’s been just three weeks since China unveiled its new J-20 stealth fighter, and already the U.S. Air Force has plans well underway to defeat the mysterious plane from Chengdu.

No, the Pentagon won’t be buying more F-22 Raptors from Lockheed Martin. Instead, the U.S. military’s main flying branch has turned to an older jet that, with upgrades, could prove to be an even better J-20-killer than the newer, more expensive F-22. That’s right: the Boeing F-15  Eagle, one of the stars of the 1991 Gulf War, is quickly shaping up as America’s main countermeasure to China’s new fighter for the next 20 years.

To be fair, the F-15 and F-22 (and, later, the F-35) will probably usually work in teams. But the F-15, with its better sensors, could prove to be the backbone for U.S. and allied forces in any Pacific dogfight.

The magic is all in the Eagle’s nose. Compared to the angular, stealthy F-22, the totally non-stealth F-15 has a more capacious nosecone that can carry a larger radar. The larger the radar, the more likely it is to detect the J-20, despite that plane’s potentially very small frontal radar cross-section. The F-15 also routinely carries more fuel and missiles than the F-22.

Read the rest at Danger Room.

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2 Responses to “Danger Room: Old School Jet Retooled to Slay Stealth Fighters”

  1. ELP says:

    When you get some time, you need to visit the depot maintenance effort at Robins AFB, to get a better idea on F-15 sustainment issues. The test squadron can most likely also set you up with a ride in an F-15.

    Newer RuTech-China red force prototypes, don’t have to be all that stealthy. They only have to be stealthy enough to lower the PK of the AMRAAM down to that of a Vietnam era sparrow. That means HOBs Dogfight missiles in WVR will result in parity or worse results. We learned this with F-15s at Cope India. Here at least the F-22 has significant performance. It also has growth room in the nose for its original design. There is space in the left and right cheek of the F-22 for side looking AESA. There is also the option of an IRST (like the cheek AESA, part of the original F-22 design) These were not delivered to keep cost down. The better option is to continue on with a B and C model F-22.

    The F-35 will be outclassed in this kind of environment even if it makes it past development woes.

    From the AV Week Article.

    “Gates still believes the U.S. will retain a preponderance of stealth fighters through 2025.”

    Faith-based statements like that are more of the problem not the solution.

    F-22s could start retiring in the 2020′s. By the middle or end of the 2020s the few “golden eagle” F-15s will also be retired. The F-35 is not an air domination aircraft even if it makes it through the development woes. That–along with an obsolete-to-the-threat carrier air wing, and huge funding woes,means that our ability to influence military events in the Pacific Rim is at significant risk. Then again, Gates was warned about risk when he signed on to stop F-22 production wasn’t he?

  2. David Axe says:

    I’ve got a phoner with them next week.

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