Boeing F-15EX/QA and related variants

What I'm thinking is that the modern battlefield is going to involve a ton of guided weapons crossing through the FEBA into blue force territory, as well as red air attempting to enter the areas you're performing DCA over. My proposal for the modern era is about making your 4th gen air defense aircraft into jamming and EW weapons to aid them as interceptors over your own territory.

While it most definitely still includes classic air defense, it's now heavily also about non-kinetic kills of missiles, drones, precision glide bombs, etc -- hurting their targeting, hacking them, frying their circuits, or interfering with their launch platform's ability to target them in the first place. ("Interception" can be anything that breaks their kill chain, not just kinetic destruction of the object.) My interest in the pods comes from the assumption (could be wrong) that nose cone AESAs are really nice for narrow beam attacks on specific point targets, but not as good as ALQ-99s or NGJs for area coverage. So the main purpose of the pods is breaking the kill chains of enemy missiles and drones over blue force territory, not aircraft vs aircraft, nor aircraft vs IADS. My original post mentioned the F-15G in an 80s context, but SEAD isn't the mission I'm talking about now.

With the Air Force still having lots of Eagles, I feel like there's going to be a lot of cases of F-35s operating over red territory and Eagles and Vipers defending blue force territory, while occasionally launching JASSMs and the like. So while you'd rather just have a force composed entirely of F-35s, you don't, and then the question is, are there affordable ways to leverage what you do have?

And two things we do have are (1) lots of F-15s, and (2) existing, already paid-for investment in pods integrated with Eagle-ish radars.

The 99 mid bands are ancient and ineffective. The NGJ is effective in its frequency range, but what exactly is it going to be jamming? What opponent weapons use frequencies that it would cover? As for opponent fighter radars - just use the F-15s radar instead, same as F-35.

The USN has unique defensive jamming requirements that make NGJ more useful. However even they have noted that the Growler effectively has a combat radius of ~ 300nm due to the drag. So it is hard to support offensively. The MALD-N seems to be the main offensive counter measure. I suspect that a billion no competition contract to Raytheon last year was in fact a multi year buy of several thousand MALD-Ns.
 
The 99 mid bands are ancient and ineffective. The NGJ is effective in its frequency range, but what exactly is it going to be jamming? What opponent weapons use frequencies that it would cover? As for opponent fighter radars - just use the F-15s radar instead, same as F-35.
Everything from 100MHz (VHF) to 18 GHz (Ku).

Within the scope of the NGJ program, the Navy will replace the TJS pods operating in the 509 MHz to 18 GHz waveband, with three different pods, designated NGJ-MB (Mid Band), also known as Capability Block/Increment 1;, NGJ-LB (Low Band), aka Block/Increment 2; and NGJ-HB (High Band), aka Block/Increment 3; and directed specifically against the low- (100 MHz to 2 GHz waveband), mid- (2 GHz to 6 GHz), and high-band (6 GHz to 18 GHz) sections of the overall threat spectrum.
 
The 99 mid bands are ancient and ineffective. The NGJ is effective in its frequency range, but what exactly is it going to be jamming? What opponent weapons use frequencies that it would cover? As for opponent fighter radars - just use the F-15s radar instead, same as F-35.

The USN has unique defensive jamming requirements that make NGJ more useful. However even they have noted that the Growler effectively has a combat radius of ~ 300nm due to the drag. So it is hard to support offensively. The MALD-N seems to be the main offensive counter measure. I suspect that a billion no competition contract to Raytheon last year was in fact a multi year buy of several thousand MALD-Ns.


my "Jam Eagle" notion would mainly try to impede the sensors on things like enemy surface-to-surface missiles, enemy cruise missiles, and enemy anti-surface swarm drones, once they enter friendly airspace.

Obviously, there would be a major effort to prevent that from happening in the first place, but I think it's just a reality that a lot are going to get through. For example, in a Taiwan Straights scenario, there's no earthly way of getting 5th gen fighter coverage over the entire southern and eastern coast of China. A lot of missiles and drones of a wide variety of types are going to come swarming in at your Kadenas, Guams, and so on, and mainly with an eye toward disrupting or denying the use of those airfields.

Therefore, I conclude that there is a big need for airbase defense, and more generally for air defense against missiles and drones of a more quotidian sort than you want to, or can, fire THAAD or Patriots against. A lot like the Navy's fleet air defense needs, and a lot like Ukraine's situation today, these bases, and valuable assets in general, will have some kind of BARCAP coverage flown by fighters, and since the foreseeable future still involves the US having a lot of 4th gens, I think it's worth planning for situations where older designs need to make contributions to high intensity conflicts. Since F-15s (American, Japanese, South Korean, etc) will probably play a big role in air defense in a scenario like this, I'm looking to maximize their chances of defeating not just your classic penetrating enemy fighter-bombers or large cruise missiles, but a much wider range of smaller, cheaper stuff like Ukraine is facing today, or like the swarm attacks of tomorrow.

And my proposal with the Jam Eagle is to do that by trying to create a kind of electronic barrier through EW area effect blanketing, emitting continuously from the same assets you already have flying overhead flying classical air defense coverage. By just pumping out really enormous amounts of power in the spectra and waveform styles used by lower end systems, I'm hoping to break a lot of kill chains early by disruptive jamming, before you even consider engaging specific targets, on the theory that cheap mass attacks will tend to involve cheap, vulnerable sensors. And then of course, afterwards, the Jam Eagle would follow up by using its AESA against whatever missiles it prioritizes afterwards, and then finally use AMRAAMs, Sidewinders, etc against the remainder (among those not being engaged by THAAD, Patriot, NASAMs, etc), all while also conducting classic air defense tasks.

So the hypothesis (and unproven assumption) is that the existing/in development pods may also have utility against those sorts of targets, or be readily modifiable for that.
 
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They really weren't, for one they lacked the spherical detection capability and target fidelity of the F-4G

Their effectiveness and loss rates seemed quite acceptable for the conflicts they were involved in.
 
my "Jam Eagle" notion would mainly try to impede the sensors on things like enemy surface-to-surface missiles, enemy cruise missiles, and enemy anti-surface swarm drones, once they enter friendly airspace.

Ok, let me stop you right there: can you give me an example any PLA anti surface weapons that use radar homing, outside anti shipping weapons?
 
Ok, let me stop you right there: can you give me an example any PLA anti surface weapons that use radar homing, outside anti shipping weapons?
To my surprise, and I'm guessing not yours, a quick skim didn't come up with much of anything.

The YJ-18, using radar in combination with satellite navigation, was the main one I found, as well as the DF-15A and B, also in combination with other modes. In general, it seems like the vast majority of the PLA anti-surface systems either use inertial navigation and TV guidance only, or those plus satellite updates. As a result, it's looking like there wouldn't be much point to my Jam Eagle idea in a China scenario, since there's not much radar guidance to disrupt.
 



And again, what opponent weapons use that bandwidth or even radar at all? Ballistic missiles?
The short answer is pretty much all enemy SAMs use frequencies in that range for detection and targeting, ditto for fighter aircraft (X-Band). Not sure where you're going with this, or why BMs are even part of the conversation.

On drones however, the consensus is 0-6Ghz, or more precisely 900MHz to 5.8GHz:

View: https://www.reddit.com/r/electronics/comments/101qvcf/shahed136_drone_gps_jamming_immunity_and_other/

 
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The short answer is pretty much all enemy SAMs use frequencies in that range for detection and targeting, ditto for fighter aircraft (X-Band). Not sure where you're going with this, or why BMs are even part of the conversation.

On drones however, the consensus is 0-6Ghz, or more precisely 900MHz to 5.8GHz:

View: https://www.reddit.com/r/electronics/comments/101qvcf/shahed136_drone_gps_jamming_immunity_and_other/


I am asking what NGJ could jam that an APG-81/85 could not. What would be the use case for USAF adoption of NGJ?
 
I am asking what NGJ could jam that an APG-81/85 could not. What would be the use case for USAF adoption of NGJ?
Well most, if not all, fighter radars work in the X-Band, so with EW capability they could attack the radars of other fighters and some SAM fire control radars. However VHF-band radars, like the RLM-M, or the L-Band radars, like the RLM-D or VNIIRT Gamma DE of S-400 affiliation are outside that band.

Pantsir-S1 search radars (2RL80/2RL80E) are S-Band, targeting radars are Ku-Band (1RS2/1RS2-E Shlem).

And, as pointed out already most drones are 900Mhz to 5.8GHz. Some military frequencies lie outside this range, like MMW radars (~100GHz) but these are very short range (missile terminal homing systems like Brimstone, or some point defence SAM fire radars). I think Chain Home (WWII) and some current OTH radars are off the lower end of the scale, but they aren't very useful for targeting anything.

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IMOHO, the narrow HUD is an anachronism when low speed to post stall fights are an increased probability in dogfights. A gun reticle that can't find a place in a HUD in high yaw or high G roll or snap maneuver is not just an impediment but a lost opportunity to remain alive and fly home safe.

This trade from heads up awareness to head down Tactical display annoys me.
And don't start me with the loss of backup primary instruments...
 
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digitals.
Digital or analog display, who cares? That is only how the information is conveyed. If a backup analog display uses the same source of data and power as the primary digital, it is just as useless as if either source goes out. A backup digital instruments can be just as independent as analog.
 
Digital´s can have separate power sources and redundant sensor feeds but, scarcely, very scarcely, widely segregated wire routings.
Digital backup are also ultra cluttered displays that makes them harder to read in critical situation and more prone to total damages with a complete loss of info (dials are not). They don´t present much more protection to fire than the main displays .

Guess what happens with battle damages and pilot injuries.
 
Digital´s can have separate power sources and redundant sensor feeds but, scarcely, very scarcely, widely segregated wire routings.
Digital backup are also ultra cluttered displays that makes them harder to read in critical situation and more prone to total damages with a complete loss of info (dials are not). They don´t present much more protection to fire than the main displays .

Guess what happens with battle damages and pilot injuries.

How often does an aircraft survive battle damage?
 
Digital´s can have separate power sources and redundant sensor feeds but, scarcely, very scarcely, widely segregated wire routings.
A digital artificial horizon can be whole independent and isolated including power, its data can be from a miniature INS and GPS receiver.
wiring routing issues apply to steam gauges too.
Digital backup are also ultra cluttered displays that makes them harder to read in critical situation and more prone to total damages with a complete loss of info (dials are not). They don´t present much more protection to fire than the main displays .
Steam gauges are just vulnerable. They require more systems to support them. Artificial horizon requires either a vacuum source or electrical power to spin gyros; or data from the INS. Using electronic data and converting it to mechanical indicators makes no sense,

A small miniature INS and GPS receiver with display can prove more data that the typical number of back up instruments. Other than artificial horizon, how many other backups are there?
 

The Department of Defense May 31 announced it had awarded the four-year contract to the Cincinnati-based engine maker, the world’s largest. GE Aerospace will perform workload augmentation and offload support of F110 turbofan engine modules supplies for the Lockheed Martin F-15EX and the Boeing F-16 Fighting Falcon.
 
Considering that the USAF has no Intermediate Level Engine Shop capability at their F-15 bases for the F110 engine (except for Mt Home because of an FMS customer (Singapore?) on base), this was an expected requirement. Until or if they set up this capability, F110 engines or modules will need to be shipped off base to F-16 / F110 engine shops for inspection and repair, with GE providing the over and above capacity.
 
Here the first photo of a F-15IDN Eagle for the TNI-AU (Indonesian) Air Force, which was rolled out in St. Louis today.
IIRC, Indonesia wants to purchase 24 F-15IDN.
Source (X fka twitter): View: https://x.com/Macaskeel/status/1803370750058873327?t=__6XSSB2EByiyJrsthsbFg&s=19

looks like a photoshop.

2021:

 

The Defense Department said in a statement that 36 F-15EX Eagles will be deployed to the Kadena Air Base in Okinawa Prefecture in southern Japan, replacing 48 F-15C/D Eagles "as part of a planned divestment and modernization."

Forty-eight F-35A Lightning II fifth-generation fighters will also be deployed to the Misawa Air Base in Japan's northeastern prefecture of Aomori. They will be replacing 36 F-16 Fighting Falcons.
 
I suspect the EX thing is simply marketing folk given the right to an opinion, instead of being told what their opinion is going to be, by those who pay.

Extended consideration can only lead to migraine and madness.........
 
Simon Whistler from Megaprojects has put out a video about the F-15EX:


It still irritates me how it's called the F-15EX instead of F-15F.

F-15F was a single seat proposal based on the F-15E. I suppose the letter is therfore used, even as the F was never build.
 
There were meant to be 4 x new Qa coming into Uk this week, as 2 goes to Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) and Farnborough Air Show thereafter and 2 goes onto Qatar. Anyhow 2 only turned up RAF LAkenheath last night as the other 2 turned back over the Atlantic. Anyhow here are my photos at 20:30

F15QA_arrivals_Lakenheath_1.jpg F15QA_arrivals_Lakenheath_2.jpg F15QA_arrivals_Lakenheath_3.jpg F15QA_arrivals_Lakenheath_4.jpg

cheers
 
IMOHO, the narrow HUD is an anachronism when low speed to post stall fights are an increased probability in dogfights. A gun reticle that can't find a place in a HUD in high yaw or high G roll or snap maneuver is not just an impediment but a lost opportunity to remain alive and fly home safe.

This trade from heads up awareness to head down Tactical display annoys me.


Giese: The new Low Profile HUD is very similar to an F-15C HUD. It was necessary to choose a narrower HUD in the advanced cockpit redesign due to incorporating the LAD – due to decreased physical space for the electronics required for the wide field-of-view legacy HUD. F-15C pilots will not see a distinguishable difference in the HUD in the F-15EX except for slightly crisper display symbology.


He unfortunately doesn't go in to the actual Field of View for the three HUDs he's referring to here - F-15C, legacy F-15E and F-15EX Low Profile HUD, so we don't know quite how much they've narrowed it. If they think there isn't enough space for the electronics, they need a different HUD supplier. My involvement with Typhoon HUD development was fairly tangential (did the training, but then switched to FBW before the next development phase started), and 35+ years ago, but (IIRC) we were running the HUD and the HDDs off the same symbol generator way back then, and after that the only things you need are the up-front control panel (HUD control switches), where F-15EX seems to have a particularly large one, and the flat-panel display screen feeding into the combiner, which fits under the combiner and behind the UFCP.

Personally I'd think the optimum solution would be LAD+HMS - as we've seen in recent Typhoon developmental aircraft, with maybe a get-you-home HUD that spends most of it's life folded flat atop the LAD in case of HMS failure. Any HMS has a far wider potential FOV than a HUD, though perhaps a narrower instantaneous FOV.
 
A long plaidoyer with some fairly interesting arguments:


Interestingly, the author seems to suggest there are significant differences b/w what the EX and an EPAWS F-15E can do (even if he never mentions EPAWS but guessing he does know conversion kits are budgeted for all the E fleet that would carry-on in the future).
 

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