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Author Topic: USAF plans F-15 modernization  (Read 71894 times)

Offline marauder2048

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Re: USAF plans F-15 modernization
« Reply #315 on: December 29, 2018, 02:31:08 pm »
Then you will lose capability in the same way the US Navy lost long-range strike aircraft when the A-6 was retired.

A US exit from the INF Treaty greatly reduces the need for standoff from fast jets.

Offline bring_it_on

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Re: USAF plans F-15 modernization
« Reply #316 on: December 29, 2018, 02:42:41 pm »
Lots to unpack here but the argument seems to have drifted away from you suggesting that the DOD possibly wants to do this to fend off a Chinese competition for exports. That's a good thing because that was quite absurd.

New F-15 costs more than $100,000,000.00

The OSD should not steer priorities when the services have priorities based on analytical processes vs a top down directive.

I never said that. If you read what I wrote again, you would realize that I referred to the $100 Million cost in terms of export i.e. anyone looking to buy the F-15E (SA/X/QA/SG etc etc) is going to be looking at a unit cost well in excess of $100 Million. That is just a fact based on export prices paid by the last 3-4 customers. This was in direct rebuttal to the argument that somehow the Chinese, who so far have exported the JF-17 will sweep in and start competing at the very top end of the 4th and 4.5th generation heavy fighter market when they neither have a comparable product, nor any history of selling in that category.

How much will the DOD pay? It depends upon what they are buying. Can Boeing build and sell an F-15X, a variant that currently does not exist, and an aircraft which is heavier, larger and more capable than the F/A-18E/F for a per unit cost that is comparable if not lower than a Block III Super Hornet? I seriously doubt it. I just do not see how they come at a number that is below $80 Million without resorting to some creative accounting (like selling LRU's  and mission systems separate etc. etc.).

For you, industrial base health is a compelling argument.

Yes it is in light of a recent DOD wide look at industrial base health. If the OSD is going to come in and dictate acquisition decisions outside of the service acquisition process then they should intervene in only very specific circumstances - Industrial base health being one legitimate one imho.

It's reported F-15X will (likely) be ~$65M and fixed cost. On top of that, the development costs have been paid for by FMS.  That significantly reduces the real cost compared to replacing with  an F-35.  (I know that's not your argument but others have made it)


Honestly, I don't buy that Boeing can build an F-15X which is essentially a single seat F-15QA with end items currently in development and/or development testing (EPAWSS and ADCP II) at a low enough cost to sell it to the DOD at a fixed cost of $65 Million with a production run of a dozen or so a year when it is selling the block-III Super Hornet for around $83 Million in FY19.

It's incumbent on the SecDef to steer priorities if the calculus for the analysis has changed while the services are putting together their recommendation.

OK, what has changed in terms of priorities and what about all the other things the AF would like to have at a higher priority than an F-15C recap for the ANG? The AF has submitted an unfunded priorities list virtually every year (during BCA) and I doubt that new build F-15's has ever been on that list EVER. So what exactly has changed in the last couple of months, forcing the OSD to intervene? I can only think of one thing and that is the need to invest in the Industrial base following the base review that has recently concluded.

The F-35 supply chain is ramping to 17 jets per month at full capacity.  Ninety-one were delivered this year and 130 in 2019.  Ramping up production is a major task.  I agree that having additional production capacity is intrinsically good.  I don't see F-35 as replacement for F-15C/D.  That
was to be PCA.

The F-35 production ramp up can handle more F-35As for the USAF. In fact the USAF in its very own SAR has moved 60/year procurement to the right based on other investment priorities and IIRC has totally eliminated 80/year acquisition. A lot of those slots can be purchased if enough money was to be provided. Again, not suggesting that that be done to to replace ANG F-15C's but to speed up the modernization of the active air force and guard units that are destined to transition to the F-35. There is no reason why LM cannot deliver 160-170 aircraft a year starting 2021/22 instead of getting to that number in 2023. See the att. graphic and note peak deliveries with slack both left and right to it. Additionally, production is expected to dip again in the late 2020's/early 2030's giving plenty of room to buy more F-35A Block V's(?) faster in case the PCA effort is facing delays.

I say this to point out that if extra funding is made available the acceptable and best-practice is to go through your unfunded priorities and look to see which deserve additional funds and where you'll get the most impact through infusion of more money. This is usually done at the service acquisition level.

    $30M upgrade is an option.  It entails risk not associated with new aircraft. 

Everything entails risk of one form of the other. There is no risk-free solution here.

Is there depot capacity for a major upgrade?

I believe Boeing's proposal did not involve depot level upgrades but taking those jets to the factory and adding new built components to them.

  How long with this major upgrade take per airframe?  What do my pilots, who are the best partly
               because they fly more, fly while the jets, that are already flown about 1/2 has much as they were
               because of maintenance issues, are in depot getting rebuilt?

Those all are things that you have to develop based on a funding profile. You can buy these as fast or as slow as your budget will allow.

Then you will lose capability in the same way the US Navy lost long-range strike aircraft when the A-6 was retired.

A US exit from the INF Treaty greatly reduces the need for standoff from fast jets.

The cheapest way to buy Stand-Off lethality is for us to take Dr. Mike Griffin up on his word and buy a "few thousand IR Prompt Strike" weapons.   :D

« Last Edit: December 29, 2018, 03:11:58 pm by bring_it_on »
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Offline bring_it_on

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Re: USAF plans F-15 modernization
« Reply #317 on: January 11, 2019, 08:40:40 am »
Another hint form an unnamed "Pentagon official" corroborating  the Bloomberg Gov report on the F-15/OSD decision -

Quote
The Pentagon official also denied reports that Shanahan exercised his authority as then-deputy defense secretary to order the Air Force to spend $1.2 billion to purchase additional Boeing-made F-15 fighters. The decision, which the department has yet to officially confirm, was questioned by some analysts, who interpreted it as a slight against the F-35.

But the official said it was Mattis who signed off on the decision to purchase more F-15s after the Pentagon’s cost assessment and program evaluation shop presented analysis to the Air Force supporting the move.

“Shanahan was recused,” the official said. “Fourth- or fifth-gen fighter mix was a consideration we looked at in the budget, but that consideration was driven by CAPE.”

https://insidedefense.com/daily-news/pentagon-fires-back-allegations-shanahan-favoring-boeing%C2%A0
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Online SpudmanWP

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Re: USAF plans F-15 modernization
« Reply #318 on: January 11, 2019, 09:19:28 am »
Joy, so this is some bean-counter's idea.

This still does not mean that Shanahan did not pressure the bean counters to do it.  SOMEONE high up had to get the ball rolling and that clearly did not come from the USAF.
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Offline bring_it_on

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Re: USAF plans F-15 modernization
« Reply #319 on: January 11, 2019, 09:27:35 am »
Is there any evidence, anywhere that Shanahan was involved in any step of this process? Has any report to that end surfaced? If this move still exists in the PB20 request then I am sure someone will pop the question to him or other high ranking DOD and service officials during the umpteen hearings on the budget that are going to be lined up over the next few months.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2019, 09:30:48 am by bring_it_on »
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Online SpudmanWP

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Re: USAF plans F-15 modernization
« Reply #320 on: January 11, 2019, 09:36:55 am »
The original report that started the story said there was.
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Offline LowObservable

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Re: USAF plans F-15 modernization
« Reply #321 on: January 11, 2019, 03:24:43 pm »
Because if someone writes in ALL CAPS it must be true.

Shanahan's been saying lots of stuff lately, some of which makes I larf...

BTW, getting back to the $65m unit cost that some have been throwing around. It's not actually crazy, although it's optimistic. FY19-20 flyway cost for a Shornet is under $70m (according to USN budget docs).  Surprising as it may seem the OEW of an F-15E is less than that of a Shornet and it's a less complex airframe. The engines and EW system may cost more, but a lot of Shornets are two-seaters.

Offline TomcatViP

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Re: USAF plans F-15 modernization
« Reply #322 on: January 11, 2019, 03:42:12 pm »
They are absolutely not the same generation of airframe. And when assessing the cost of buying a bunch of new built airframe for the ANG, we have to remember that their usage is quite specific (continental  AtA+ deployment) with constrained maintenance ressources. Hence 10 or 12 new built F-15 could potentially do the work done by twice more today (less maintenance hour per flight -> more mission rate / less logistic burdened deployment / more weapon carriage...). If now you start to look at the global picture and on the long term, add the reality of the fact that the Eagle is to be in service for many more years, you might get some cost cutting benefices buying some new airframe to replace a portion of the fleet that won't be phased out anytime soon.

« Last Edit: January 11, 2019, 03:44:29 pm by TomcatViP »

Offline marauder2048

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Re: USAF plans F-15 modernization
« Reply #323 on: January 11, 2019, 04:02:38 pm »

Pentagon’s cost assessment and program evaluation shop presented analysis to the Air Force supporting the move.


Which tells you that it wasn't AF initiated since that analysis would have come from AFCAA. 

The FY19-20 SuperBug flyaway costs have the MYP confound.

Offline LowObservable

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Re: USAF plans F-15 modernization
« Reply #324 on: January 11, 2019, 07:09:35 pm »
The FY19-20 SuperBug flyaway costs have the MYP confound.

Confound? This means what, in English?

Offline marauder2048

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Re: USAF plans F-15 modernization
« Reply #325 on: January 11, 2019, 07:51:19 pm »
The FY19-20 SuperBug flyaway costs have the MYP confound.

Confound? This means what, in English?


That someone who attempted to extrapolate cost based on the OEW of a fighter that's 13%
titanium by structural weight to an aircraft that's over 34% was likely an English major.

Offline LowObservable

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Re: USAF plans F-15 modernization
« Reply #326 on: January 12, 2019, 03:34:36 am »
Thanks.

I hate doing math in public, but I'm sure that the use of a more expensive raw material for ~20% of the structure will totally drive the cost through the roof, even including engines and avionics. Particularly when much of the Ti is SPF/DB, which has the offsetting merit of reducing parts count.

http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.850.3043&rep=rep1&type=pdf

Offline LowObservable

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Re: USAF plans F-15 modernization
« Reply #327 on: January 22, 2019, 04:03:24 am »
Latest news:

http://www.airforcemag.com/Features/Pages/2019/January%202019/Think-of-F-15X-In-Context-Of-Fighter-Recap-Donovan-Says.aspx

Donovan seems to have a fair number of F-15X-related talking points close to hand:  "I can't tell you that we're buying more F-15s, but here's why we are doing it."

Online sferrin

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Re: USAF plans F-15 modernization
« Reply #328 on: January 22, 2019, 05:06:54 am »
Latest news:

http://www.airforcemag.com/Features/Pages/2019/January%202019/Think-of-F-15X-In-Context-Of-Fighter-Recap-Donovan-Says.aspx

Donovan seems to have a fair number of F-15X-related talking points close to hand:  "I can't tell you that we're buying more F-15s, but here's why we are doing it."

After reading the article, I'll bet they wish the F-22 line was still up and running.  I wonder what the incremental cost would be down to by now.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2019, 05:10:52 am by sferrin »
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Offline marauder2048

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Re: USAF plans F-15 modernization
« Reply #329 on: January 22, 2019, 10:37:02 am »
Thanks.

I hate doing math in public, but I'm sure that the use of a more expensive raw material for ~20% of the structure will totally drive the cost through the roof, even including engines and avionics. Particularly when much of the Ti is SPF/DB, which has the offsetting merit of reducing parts count.

http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.850.3043&rep=rep1&type=pdf

It's the material buy weight that matters here: current estimates for the advanced F-15s hover around
~70,000 lbs of titanium; I've seen numbers at low as 14,000 lbs for the Super Bug.