A Modest Proposal For The “New Versions” Of The Venerable F-15

So the Air Force seems to have resigned themselves to not re-opening the F-22 line any time soon, and for a slow (both for budget and transition reasons) build up of the F-35 fleet, which will leave them short of fighters and attack aircraft in the mid-term as the F-16 and F-15 fleets age out.

The F-15 is still in production for export which gives rise to the F-15X and the F-15EX, project intended to supplement the F-15C/D (F-15X) and F-15E (F-15EX) fleets, with new airframes boasting new avionics (all glass cockpits) and radars.  Given the outstanding combat and maintenance records of the F-15 series of aircraft, and the existing investment in maintenance crews and spare parts, this makes sense.  It also gives the junior service an opportunity to redress a pair of mission areas which they have effectively surrendered: Escort Jamming and SEAD (Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses).

This new version of the F-15 needs a third variant, that the wag in me would call the F-15FX (as in Special Effects, known as FX in the movie industry) but which current defense naming would probably designate the F-15G or F-15GX (after the Navy’s F/A-18G “Growler”) which is the only tactical jammer in current service.  The Weapons Systems and Jammers of the Growler would also be an excellent starting point for the dedicated EW version of the F-15EX.

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