Boeing F-15EX/QA and related variants

Josh_TN

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One more thing to add on this - at one point a retired USAF official was quoted as saying there may have to two different versions of NGAD, a European theater variant and a longer ranged Pacific variant. I think we can say with confidence that any consideration of producing a Euro centric version of the airframe have been dropped at this point.

Found the relevant quote:

"Retired Gen. James M. Holmes, former of Air Combat Command, has said there may be two variants of NGAD: one with long range and payload for the Indo-Pacific and one more oriented to the relatively short ranges between possible battle areas in Europe."

 

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My personal guess is that USAF is now exclusively focusing on countering China in the medium term at the expense of being able to counter Russia in the near term, because the latter is now a reduced threat for several reasons. Its air force isn't performing as well as expected and it is suffering small but hard to replace material losses. Also at the strategic level it seems very likely that Europe increases its defense budgets, NATO gains at least one new member (who already has a substantial F-35 contract), and Russia likely needs years to rebuild its conventional capability on the ground. Even before the war, Norway, Finland, and Poland were going to buy a combined ~150 F-35s which would have outnumbered Russia's existing Su-57 contract(s) 2 : 1 (~75 airframes to be completed by 2027-28). NATO air dominance in any future European war seems pretty solid in that context.

Taken all together, the USAF probably feels it doesn't need the kind of resources for Europe it thought it did back in February. Hence dropping E-3s, F-15s, and even Block 20 F-22s. The drop in F-35s seems to be in anticipation of getting Blk4s fresh off the production line and refocusing money on F-15s in the short term since it is a mature design. The total number of F-15EX dropped but the number to be purchased in the short term I think actually increased.

There also might be some kind of NGAD activity affecting this as well but the timing makes me think the decisions are being driven more by current events.
It's being driven by the ideology of who pulling Biden's strings in the White House. You will be lucky to even get 1:1 replacement of NGAD for the F-22. They've already basically cancelled the EX, cut the 35, and are divesting 1400 aircraft and the B-21 will produced at a whopping 5 aircraft a year. The Air Force is basically about to become the Chair Force. This is like watching Charlie Brown keep falling for the football trick with every new weapons system developed and cut over the last 30 years.
 

Josh_TN

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My understanding is that these proposals come from the Air Force, not the White House. If they want more money, then it is the legislative branch that controls the purse, not the executive. So I think your post comes with some...strings attached...
 

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My understanding is that these proposals come from the Air Force, not the White House. If they want more money, then it is the legislative branch that controls the purse, not the executive. So I think your post comes with some...strings attached...
Agreed - don't get worked up over USAF (and other service) budget posturing.
 

Archibald

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It's being driven by the ideology of who pulling Biden's strings in the White House.

What bullshit. As if precious Republicans had done any better than Democrats on military grounds - over the last 30 years.
 

bring_it_on

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My understanding is that these proposals come from the Air Force, not the White House. If they want more money, then it is the legislative branch that controls the purse, not the executive. So I think your post comes with some...strings attached...

I am hearing the exact opposite and have had private conversations with a couple of reporters also chasing this angle and they seem to be in sync with the decision being driven by FYDP and beyond spending and the current SecAF wanting to prioritize F-35A over F-15EX. It has already been reported that Kendall wanted to outright cancel the EX and this was brought up during a 4/27 HASC hearing as well. The AF in its FYDP ramps up F-35A annual procurement as soon as it stops buying F-15EX's and that is also in sync with when the bulk of the Increment 2 F-35 Block IV hardware changes (EW apertures etc) are expected to be cut in and begin testing. So this is very much an admin driven decision..and we should expect the services UPL next year to pehaps even reflect additional long lead funding for FY25 and beyond EX's.

They've already basically cancelled the EX

They haven't "cancelled" the EX in any shape or form. It's still a close to $10 Billion program for ANG fleet modernization. With annual orders being 24 for FY-23, and 24, it gives the Air Force (through UPL) or Congress a good middle ground to get a couple of years of additional procurement funded in FY-25 and 26 which basically gets them very close to the original desired quantity to recap the F-15C fleet.

Unless NGAD is already in EMD and expected to be in LRIP around 2026-2027, I seriously doubt Congress will honor the administrations request to stop buying the F-15EX after FY24. Another 20-40 EX's are probably on the cards beyond the 80 the admin currently wants to have.
 
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Josh_TN

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The EX apparently is going to be the opening platform for HACM (or else the Echos?). I suspect while the total buy seems lowered now that long term it gets picked up more. I think long run it’s the F-16 that truly gets murdered, and, we’re Congress to stop protecting it, the A-10.

Also I think the A-10 should be retired, now that the sandbox wars are over, but I just don’t feel like being yelled at anymore to defend that position.
 

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My understanding is that these proposals come from the Air Force, not the White House. If they want more money, then it is the legislative branch that controls the purse, not the executive. So I think your post comes with some...strings attached...

I am hearing the exact opposite and have had private conversations with a couple of reporters also chasing this angle and they seem to be in sync with the decision being driven by FYDP and beyond spending and the current SecAF wanting to prioritize F-35A over F-15EX. It has already been reported that Kendall wanted to outright cancel the EX and this was brought up during a 4/27 HASC hearing as well. The AF in its FYDP ramps up F-35A annual procurement as soon as it stops buying F-15EX's and that is also in sync with when the bulk of the Increment 2 F-35 Block IV hardware changes (EW apertures etc) are expected to be cut in and begin testing. So this is very much an admin driven decision..and we should expect the services UPL next year to pehaps even reflect additional long lead funding for FY25 and beyond EX's.

They've already basically cancelled the EX

They haven't "cancelled" the EX in any shape or form. It's still a close to $10 Billion program for ANG fleet modernization. With annual orders being 24 for FY-23, and 24, it gives the Air Force (through UPL) or Congress a good middle ground to get a couple of years of additional procurement funded in FY-25 and 26 which basically gets them very close to the original desired quantity to recap the F-15C fleet.

Unless NGAD is already in EMD and expected to be in LRIP around 2026-2027, I seriously doubt Congress will honor the administrations request to stop buying the F-15EX after FY24. Another 20-40 EX's are probably on the cards beyond the 80 the admin currently wants to have.
So they buy 80 and that leaves how many available? Basically a useless quantity, but Boeing makes a few billion along the way.
 

sferrin

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My understanding is that these proposals come from the Air Force, not the White House. If they want more money, then it is the legislative branch that controls the purse, not the executive. So I think your post comes with some...strings attached...

I am hearing the exact opposite and have had private conversations with a couple of reporters also chasing this angle and they seem to be in sync with the decision being driven by FYDP and beyond spending and the current SecAF wanting to prioritize F-35A over F-15EX. It has already been reported that Kendall wanted to outright cancel the EX and this was brought up during a 4/27 HASC hearing as well. The AF in its FYDP ramps up F-35A annual procurement as soon as it stops buying F-15EX's and that is also in sync with when the bulk of the Increment 2 F-35 Block IV hardware changes (EW apertures etc) are expected to be cut in and begin testing. So this is very much an admin driven decision..and we should expect the services UPL next year to pehaps even reflect additional long lead funding for FY25 and beyond EX's.

They've already basically cancelled the EX

They haven't "cancelled" the EX in any shape or form. It's still a close to $10 Billion program for ANG fleet modernization. With annual orders being 24 for FY-23, and 24, it gives the Air Force (through UPL) or Congress a good middle ground to get a couple of years of additional procurement funded in FY-25 and 26 which basically gets them very close to the original desired quantity to recap the F-15C fleet.

Unless NGAD is already in EMD and expected to be in LRIP around 2026-2027, I seriously doubt Congress will honor the administrations request to stop buying the F-15EX after FY24. Another 20-40 EX's are probably on the cards beyond the 80 the admin currently wants to have.
So they buy 80 and that leaves how many available? Basically a useless quantity, but Boeing makes a few billion along the way.
"Useless"? More the most other F-15 customers.
 

bring_it_on

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They haven't basically cancelled the F-15EX, and 80 isn't a useless quantity (not that its set in stone).
 

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