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Author Topic: USAF plans F-15 modernization  (Read 73616 times)

Offline Triton

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USAF plans F-15 modernization
« on: August 20, 2012, 10:07:07 am »
USAF plans F-15 modernization, but pilots want better displays

By:   Dave Majumdar Washington DC
08:58 17 Aug 2012
Source:
http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/usaf-plans-f-15-modernization-but-pilots-want-better-displays-375612/
 

The US Air Force is planning a host of upgrades for its fleet of Boeing F-15Cs and F-15Es, but pilots say that without upgraded displays, they will not be able to take full advantage of those enhanced systems.

On the two-seat multirole F-15E Strike Eagle, the air force is planning to add the new Raytheon APG-82(V)1 active electronically-scanned array (AESA) radar, a new advanced display core processor II (ADCP II) mission computer, a new electronic warfare system dubbed the Eagle passive/active warning and survivability system (EPAWSS), a digital video recorder, Mode 5 identification friend or foe (IFF), and a joint helmet mounted cueing system (JHMCS) for the front seat, says a senior air force official at the F-15 system program office (SPO) at Robins AFB, Georgia. The aircraft will also receive a series of software block updates.

The air force plans to furnish the single-seat F-15C air superiority fighter fleet with a similar upgrade. The F-15C is already receiving the Raytheon APG-63(V) 3 AESA, but it will also receive the ADCP II, EPAWSS, Mode 5 IFF, a new flight data recorder, a satellite communications (SATCOM) radio, and a new digital video recorder, the F-15 SPO official says. The F-15 will also receive a series of software block updates.

Pilots applaud the improved sensors, but point out that without a major overhaul to the aircraft's displays, they will not be able to take full advantage of those new systems. "Those look like great upgrades. The part I see that is lacking is in the displays," says one highly experienced former F-15 pilot. "You have these phenomenal subsystems, but if you can't provide [sensor data] in a meaningful way to the operator, it doesn't matter."

The radar display on the F-15C is particularly problematic. "The F-15C has a phenomenal radar, but the info is displayed on a tiny four by four [inch] scope," the pilot says. Even the F-15E, which has a much more modern glass cockpit, will not be able to fully utilize the information generated by the new sensors without further modernization.

The USAF is not currently considering adding, for example, the large area display or decoupled cockpits that Boeing is offering to international F-15E customers. "However, we continue to look for opportunities to leverage to meet the warfighter's needs," the F-15 SPO official says.

The APG-82 development effort for the F-15E is continuing, the F-15 SPO official says. The new radar marries the AESA antenna from the APG-63(V) 3 with the backend electronics from the Boeing F/A-18E/F's Raytheon APG-79 AESA radar-currently in service with the US Navy. "Operational testing will start in March 2013," the official says. "The first production installation is scheduled for early fiscal year 2014."

Meanwhile, the air force has started planning for the development and integration of the EPAWSS. The service hopes to award an engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) contract in the second quarter of fiscal year 2015, the official says.

To take better advantage of the new radar and electronic warfare systems, and also to enable further upgrades, the F-15 must integrate the ADCP II computer. The air force hopes to start development of the ADCP II with a "Milestone B" decision in November 2012, the F-15 SPO official says. The first F-15E installation is planned for the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2016 while the F-15C will receive the new computer in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2017.

The USAF also hopes to add an infrared search and track (IRST) capability to the F-15C, which could significantly boost the air-to-air capability of the venerable air superiority fighter. "The IRST program will restart in fiscal year 2015," the official says. But "the F-15E will not receive the IRST" because it is not primarily tasked with air-to-air missions.

Further modernization is a foregone conclusion as both versions of the F-15 are expected to remain in USAF service into the 2030s. Fortunately for the air force, the F-15 airframe is robust and should be able serve well into the future, the F-15 SPO official says.

"There is currently no projected requirement for a major structural mod program. Numerous structural improvements have been incorporated throughout the life of both F-15C and E models," he says. "Many parts have been redesigned to eliminate structural issues identified during service."

One of the unique features of the F 15 is that "it has very robust programmed depot maintenance (PDM) which includes a complete wing overhaul." The aircraft's structure will continue to be sustained through this PDM process, the F-15 SPO official says.

But the USAF is also working to increase the F-15's service life though structural testing.

"Previous F-15E full scale testing successfully demonstrated 16,000 flight hours of operational usage with no catastrophic failures or evidence of life limiting fatigue issues. The current fleet average is approximately 9,000 hours," the official says. "A contract for additional testing was awarded in [fiscal year 2010] to recertify the F-15E structure for service to 2035 based on current/projected flying hours and usage severity." Testing in the Strike Eagle should be completed by September 2015.

F-15C full scale testing has already demonstrated 18,000 flight hours of operational usage "with no catastrophic failures or evidence of life limiting fatigue issues. The current fleet average is approximately 8,600 hours," the F-15 SPO official says. The air force awarded a contract for additional testing on the jet in fiscal year 2009 to recertify the F-15C's structure to push its service life out to 2030. That is "based on current/projected flying hours and usage severity," the official says.

Testing on the F-15C should be complete by September 2014.

Offline sferrin

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Re: USAF plans F-15 modernization
« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2012, 10:48:42 am »
F-15C full scale testing has already demonstrated 18,000 flight hours of operational usage "with no catastrophic failures or evidence of life limiting fatigue issues.

Which begs the question how many hours did the F-15 lost to a failed longeron have?
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Offline Michel Van

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Re: USAF plans F-15 modernization
« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2012, 12:10:40 pm »
oh dear, after F-22 program stop
will the F-15 become the fighter counterpart of B-52 ?
still in service in 2040...
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Offline Triton

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Re: USAF plans F-15 modernization
« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2012, 12:39:24 pm »
In February, it was announced that the US Air Force planned on modernizing 350 F-16 fighter aircraft.

Source:
http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/03/us-exclusive-usa-fighters-lockheedmartin-idUSTRE81200H20120203

Offline Triton

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Re: USAF plans F-15 modernization
« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2012, 12:50:31 pm »
oh dear, after F-22 program stop
will the F-15 become the fighter counterpart of B-52 ?
still in service in 2040...

Does the Air National Guard and the United States Air Force really require that its enter fleet of fighters and strike fighters have low observable (stealth) technology? Is it really an "old" airplane if it has undergone a service life extension and upgrade radars and other systems.

Offline Antonio

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Re: USAF plans F-15 modernization
« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2012, 02:00:11 pm »
why not?,
the F-15 is still a useful aircraft and it can fill the gap untill the arrival of UCAV

Offline Sea Skimmer

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Re: USAF plans F-15 modernization
« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2012, 09:22:48 pm »
Which begs the question how many hours did the F-15 lost to a failed longeron have?


5,700, but the piece failed because it wasn't built right in the first place. That is something full scale testing of a single air frame can't save you from, but it also means repairing it wasn't that hard.

Offline Trident

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Re: USAF plans F-15 modernization
« Reply #7 on: August 22, 2012, 08:47:41 am »
What Sea Skimmer said - the problem with the longeron failure was not some kind of previously unknown fatigue issue with the structure as designed/tested, it was caused by a part not having been manufactured to the correct specification.

Offline John21

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Re: USAF plans F-15 modernization
« Reply #8 on: August 24, 2012, 12:26:18 am »
Quote
The USAF is not currently considering adding, for example, the large area display or decoupled cockpits that Boeing is offering to international F-15E customers. "However, we continue to look for opportunities to leverage to meet the warfighter's needs," the F-15 SPO official says.

For the price of a couple of F-35s they could replace all the older CRT and LCD displays in our F-15s and F-16s, but noooooo...

I'm glad they're improving our older aircraft but it seems compared to new built F-15s for South Korea and Singapore & Saudi Arabia along with all those block 60+ F-16s being manufactured it is kind of lacking. Sure we have our 195 F-22s and F-35s but other countries will be buying and upgrading those F-35s while other countries develop and sell their own 4++ and 5th generation fighters.

Quote
The USAF also hopes to add an infrared search and track (IRST) capability to the F-15C, which could significantly boost the air-to-air capability of the venerable air superiority fighter. "The IRST program will restart in fiscal year 2015," the official says. But "the F-15E will not receive the IRST" because it is not primarily tasked with air-to-air missions.

We had IRST since the 1950s and had it on our F-14s, what the heck is taking so long for something many other countries develop, buy and use? Never should have gotten rid of our F-14s, we could have at least used its IRST or a design based off of it for improvements to our aircraft.

« Last Edit: August 24, 2012, 12:31:49 am by John21 »

Offline fightingirish

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Re: USAF plans F-15 modernization
« Reply #9 on: September 18, 2014, 03:48:15 am »

Boeing is building four pods to be mounted on the USAF F-15 Eagle's under the Talon Hate program.
These pods will contain an infrared search and track sensor (IRST) and data-links systems like the Multifunctional Information Distribution System-JTRS (or MIDS-J) terminal, that will allow the F-22 to share its information with USAF legacy fighters.
Quote
Boeing has completed the final design review for a U.S. Air Force system, called Talon HATE, to improve communication and information sharing among various platforms. Talon HATE combines information from fighter networks, national sources and joint command and control assets. Transmitting over data-links, the information can then be used by joint aircraft, ships and ground stations, improving communication and information sharing across the battlespace.
The Talon HATE system is designed to initially be carried in a pod attached to Boeing’s F-15C fighter aircraft as shown in this artist’s concept. It combines information from fighter networks, national sources and joint command and control assets. Boeing is on schedule to deliver several Talon HATE systems to operational squadrons in 2015.


Source: Boeing Completes Design Review for U.S. Air Force’s Talon HATE Program
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Offline sferrin

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Re: USAF plans F-15 modernization
« Reply #10 on: September 18, 2014, 05:06:26 am »
I hope that "pod" has 500 gallons of fuel as well else it should be the size of a Sniper pod. 
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Offline TomS

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Re: USAF plans F-15 modernization
« Reply #11 on: September 18, 2014, 05:37:49 am »
It looks like the IRST is pretty big -- not a boresight sensor but something with quite a wide field of view.  I suspect it's meant to cue other aircraft across a pretty broad area, not just the carrier.  Throw in SATCOM, a couple of different datalinks, and a MIDS modem (in a quick and dirty non-optimized design) and it's not surprising that it's pretty large.
 
I get the impression that the idea for this pod is to use the equipped aircraft as coordinators to direct large operations like offensive counter-air sweeps with a mix of F-15s and F-22s.

Offline F-14D

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Re: USAF plans F-15 modernization
« Reply #12 on: September 18, 2014, 07:10:21 pm »
It looks like the IRST is pretty big -- not a boresight sensor but something with quite a wide field of view.  I suspect it's meant to cue other aircraft across a pretty broad area, not just the carrier.  Throw in SATCOM, a couple of different datalinks, and a MIDS modem (in a quick and dirty non-optimized design) and it's not surprising that it's pretty large.
 
I get the impression that the idea for this pod is to use the equipped aircraft as coordinators to direct large operations like offensive counter-air sweeps with a mix of F-15s and F-22s.

The IRST itself is not that big, I'm pretty sure it's a later version of the IRST the F-14D carried internally.  About 9" diameter and a bit over 3 ' long.  Field of view is +/- 70 ° in azimuth and elevation.  It's already on the F-15SGs and later Ks and may show up on other export Eagles.   As you can see it is compact enough that you can even hang another sensor/designator pod underneath it. 

Like you said, the use of the big tank is so that they can throw a lot of other stuff onto th eEagle for which it doesn't have the internal volume.  There's another perspective on it here:
http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/f-18-super-hornets-to-get-irst-03429/  under the heading,
IRST Future: A SpectIR for all Teens?
« Last Edit: September 18, 2014, 07:14:25 pm by F-14D »

Offline sferrin

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Re: USAF plans F-15 modernization
« Reply #13 on: September 18, 2014, 07:15:26 pm »
I guess I just don't understand why, if Japan can do it right, why can't we?

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Offline Grey Havoc

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Re: USAF plans F-15 modernization
« Reply #14 on: September 19, 2014, 03:00:25 am »
I guess I just don't understand why, if Japan can do it right, why can't we?

It's not all roses for Japan in that area. Look at the ongoing (AFAIK) RF-15 [not to be confused with SNEAK PEAK] dispute. Long story short, a previous government cancelled a contract with Toshiba to convert 8 MSIP F-15DJs to RF-15 standard with podded SAR, along with optical and infrared capability. (The Government at the time had social programs to pay for after all.) Unfortunately for them, they used the old saw of unilaterally changing the contract specs, and then while the contractor was trying to meet the changed specs, declared default & Cancelled for Cause, with a ¥1.2 billion yen damages claim on the side. I say unfortunately, because Toshiba refused to play along and sued for ¥9.3 billion in damages. Tricks that work in Western style contract law tend not work so well in Japanese style contract law (which is probably why there have been recent attempts by 'reformers' to supplant the latter with the former in Japanese contracts).
« Last Edit: September 19, 2014, 03:32:22 am by Grey Havoc »
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