The United States Air Force maintains the largest and most technologically advanced air force in the world. Attaining and maintaining air superiority has been a top priority of U.S. military leadership since World War II. This has resulted in a never-ending pursuit of advanced technology to deal with the current and projected enemy threat.
Recently, the USAF has put forth a proposal to produce a variant of the F-15 dubbed F-15EX to add to the United States Air Force’s current fighter inventory.
The F-15EX is the most technologically advanced, survivable fighter that delivers the maximum performance within budget allocations, and more importantly, that can continue to be modernized with leading-edge technology.
Chinese and Russian Surface-to-Air and Air-to-Air threats are proliferating in quantity, advancing in some capability and being exported to Southeast Asia.
To survive in the modern battlespace, a fighter must have advanced 360-degree sensor capability, advanced electronic warfare, and the ability to connect to sea, air, and space assets. The F-15EX does all of these things with fifth generation technologies embedded into F-15EX.
For those in favor of bolstering cost-effective 4.5 generation aircraft for Homeland Defense, they need to keep in mind that in the worst case scenario of an F-15EX supported by AEW&C can defeat modern surface-to-air missile and destroy enemies vital infrastructure. The F-15EX can carry two 5000lbs bunker busters, 12 cluster munitions, precision guided bombs, long range stand-off weapons and eight AIM-120 AMRAAM.
The F-15EX can carry more payloads than any other fighter jets produced in the East or in the West.
F-15EX advocates have stated that the aircraft will cut operations and sustainment costs in half compared to the F-35.
According to reporting, a new F-15EX will cost nearly $100 million to acquire in the 2020 budget. In 2020, the F-35A is estimated to cost $80 million. As Bloomberg recently reported the initial cost for 8 F-15X aircraft would be $1.2 billion. For that same price, the Air Force could acquire 15 of the significantly more capable F-35As.
If India procure the F-15EX, the F-15EX will deliver surviability and deliver lethality in any future conflict with Pakistan and China.
Today’s battlespace is a complicated multi-domain fight with space, air, ground and cyber assets. Only the F-35 can lead this modern battlespace in capabilities and modernization, and remain within budget allocations.
If India wants to get their hands on stealth technology, advanced electronic warfare and modern information-age F-35, India has to abandon Russian S-400 and stop tailgating Soviet-era weaponry.
Meanwhile, in Southeast Asia, F-15EX will prove overwhelmingly superior where adversary cannot bring stealth fighter jets nor can they can bring network-centric advanced missile defense systems.
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