F15C Golden Eagle Question

Military aircraft - Post cold war aircraft, including for example B-2, Gripen, F-18E/F Super Hornet, Rafale, and Typhoon.
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mustang65

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Unread post13 Apr 2012, 01:54

Are the new Golden Eagles getting a glass cockpit or are the staying with the steam gages? I also read that the USAF cancelled the replacement for the amraam what will replace the amraam now?
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wrightwing

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Unread post13 Apr 2012, 15:08

mustang65 wrote:Are the new Golden Eagles getting a glass cockpit or are the staying with the steam gages? I also read that the USAF cancelled the replacement for the amraam what will replace the amraam now?


I'm not sure if they'll get a full glass cockpit, but would suspect that there'll be additional displays added. As for the AMRAAM, I suspect we'll continue to see new variants arrive until an eventual replacement is decided upon. The next iterations are the D/D+. I suspect we'll see an AIM-120E/F/G, if a new missile doesn't come out.
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haavarla

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Unread post13 Apr 2012, 18:36

Where did the AIM-120D go then??
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SpudmanWP

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Unread post13 Apr 2012, 18:45

nowhere, the D is here today. They were talking about NGM (formally JDRADM) being delayed/canceled.
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navy_airframer

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Unread post13 Apr 2012, 21:36

We fly with 120Ds now, albiet to test them.
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SpudmanWP

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Unread post13 Apr 2012, 21:52

Correct, the D is due to go IOC for the F15 in FY2014.

This exemplifies the usefulness of UAI. When UAI is complete and installed fleet-wide, new weapons can be used within months of their completion (even before) instead of waiting years to build & test the new Blk package after the weapon is done.
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haavarla

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Unread post14 Apr 2012, 08:08

Whats taking them so long? i read about the AIM-120D for eons now..
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sprstdlyscottsmn

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Unread post14 Apr 2012, 14:27

What I want to know is if the Golden Eagle will ever get -229 class engines or if they are going to stick with -220s forever.
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SpudmanWP

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Unread post14 Apr 2012, 15:33

haavarla wrote:Whats taking them so long? i read about the AIM-120D for eons now..


Two things; Need and block cycles.

Need: There was not a great need for the D so not a lot of money and time was dedicated to it's development.

Block Cycles: Once the development of the weapon is complete, integration onto fighters can commence. This alone can take 3-5 years. A new software package has to be agreed upon, developed, tested, and deployed before IOC can be declared.

--UAI, the Game Changer--

UAI (Universal Armament Interface) will (and has) significantly reduce the 2nd half of that equation by removing the need to do a Block upgrade in order for a fighter to use a weapon. While you would still need to do separation trials with the weapon for each fighter (or bomber, UAV, helo, etc), no software changes are needed.

This can take a 3-5 year cycle and turn it into a 2-3 month deployment cycle.
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haavarla

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Unread post14 Apr 2012, 16:31

What I want to know is if the Golden Eagle will ever get -229 class engines or if they are going to stick with -220s forever.


No sir. The F-15C does not need any more thrust. It will be costly and the fuel consumption will rise.. So 220 it is.
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geogen

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Unread post15 Apr 2012, 11:12

I'm not quite sure how much, if at all, the originally conceived term 'Golden Eagle' still applies.

Spud may have more info on this as I honestly haven't researched it lately, but I personally don't recall hearing much if anything lately in official USAF briefings on recapitalization, SLEP plans and potential legacy upgrade plans with respect to the F-15. We hear USAF's details recently with regard to the old legacy F-16 fleet and it's future as a mainstay of USAF's Tacair well into the 2020s, but has there been any recent briefing about F-15C SLEP and upgrades?

Originally the talk was to incorporate a large aperture IRST and even Jammer of unknown type on the Eagle, along with new radar of course, for the purpose of supporting the F-22 well into the future given the F-22's premature line shut down. But who knows what the thinking is today (and tomorrow), given the new austere budget environment federal budgets are entering into and the much more expensive than originally expected F-35A unit costs which have apparently and unexpectedly caught policymakers off guard?

One legit question could end up being; in order to maximize some semblance of an F-35A acquisition over this decade, would USAF ultimately have to make substantial additional cuts to force structure including the F-15C/D fleet in order to pay for it?

If anything, it would look as if some F-15C will at least receive the AESA radar... so perhaps not a 'Golden Eagle' per se, just a standard upgraded Eagle.

And haavarla might be correct in his conjecture above, but I'd be interested if in fact brand new 229 engines would be cheaper to maintain than old F-15C/D 220s and if new 229 class engine would have any additional operational characteristics which would allow them to be comparable in fuel efficiency compared to old 220s? eg, a lower MIL power setting to achieve cruise speed than would be required otherwise w/ 220?

Regardless, even if 2x 229 engines would cost about the same as a single F135 engine today to procure, maybe a little more, one could realistically expect marginal tactical upgrade budgets to be allocated going forward as long as F-35's FRP (whether or not subject to major revision) remains the Plan A. Performance wise however, such a power upgrade would likely offer significant improvement in flight envelopes when under sustained ACM, especially at higher altitudes - arguably relevant to next-gen competitiveness?

One can only presume the same debate and debacle will arise again re how to afford Block IV retrofit upgrades of block III F-35, while simultaneously trying to maximize new build F-35A acquisition at higher than expected costs, and under austere environments..
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madrat

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Unread post15 Apr 2012, 18:10

Just because more thrust is available it doesn't meanyou have to burn more fuel off. But if you're in combat you may want that extra thrust.

Its not all about thrust for every mission. This is why I figure that future F-15E development purchases should look into replacing the twin engines for a single F135. Drive down operating costs.
Last edited by madrat on 15 Apr 2012, 20:21, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread post15 Apr 2012, 19:51

The USAF has not given up on the F-15C/D.

According to the latest budget, current programs include:
-- AESA upgrades have already begun in mass (60 delivered with 153 total)
-- IRST will arrive in 2016 (100 total planned)
-- Upgraded BLOS (Beyond Line Of Sight) comms
-- Passive Attack Sensor System (think Sniper XR)
-- Common mission computer with the F-15E
-- New digital cockpit displays
-- EPAWSS is the replacement for TEWS, the F-15's ESM.

Here are a couple of screenshots from 2009 that puts it in perspective.

Image

Image
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geogen

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Unread post16 Apr 2012, 07:43

Thanks for reply Spud...

I guess what I was asking though, is that while I understand that previous USAF plans for the F-15C/D (such as the 2009 plan indicated above) represented what USAF planners had originally envisioned and desired for the F-15... I'm curious if anything has been verified in recent interviews as holding to that original goal?

And for example, looking at USAF's latest FY13 budget docs, the F-15C/D upgrade budget actually drops off a cliff compared to FY11 and FY12 budgets. AESA funding in particular for FY13 drops off a literal cliff. All F-15C/D upgrade expectations are currently now 'estimated' to start in FY14 assuming all forward looking Procurement budgets hold and continue into FY16. And 'IRST' funding is apparently not even included in annual estimates through FY17. USAF does quote 100 IRST units as an ultimate procurement figure still, but does not actually commit to the funding at least through FY17.

The point of the conjecture and question then would be; is there credible optimism for expecting forward looking USAF procurement budgets to include substantial increases in F-15 upgrade investments given uncertain budget environments and liabilities... and has there been any recent official commitment to the latest FY14, FY15 and FY16 plan (and later IRST integration plan?)

I'd be in the camp desiring this optimism as I personally feel the upgraded C/D platform is critical, but I'm just looking for confirmation.
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