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USAF Buying the F15EX

SeaKingTacco

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More likely Boeing read the RFP and sniffed the political winds and decided it was not worth the effort to get involved with our effed up process with little likelihood of success. The Gulf States have money and simpler process.
Except that Boeing is in the competition. They decided to bid the Super Hornet, instead of the Eagle, for whatever corporate reasons that they had.
 

Colin Parkinson

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Sorry, your correct, I should say that the SH is likely closer to the RFP and less likely to be labelled the "Cadillac version" and easier to make the SH look like logical replacement for the CF-18
 

MilEME09

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Except that Boeing is in the competition. They decided to bid the Super Hornet, instead of the Eagle, for whatever corporate reasons that they had.
At this point, in theory could we ask for a comparison from Boeing of the 18E/F vs 15X? I mean we are the buyer, we could ask for a different option. Doubt it though
 

tomahawk6

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The F15X isnt a stealth aircraft - not with bombs and missiles attached to the aircraft. The F15 has a different mission to that of the F35. 35 door kicker - and then the non stealth aircraft hit their targets. It seems that the USAF have bought into hypersonic tech which may be useful in striking enemy targets- think chinese islands in the south china sea or carriers.
 

MilEME09

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The F15X isnt a stealth aircraft - not with bombs and missiles attached to the aircraft. The F15 has a different mission to that of the F35. 35 door kicker - and then the non stealth aircraft hit their targets. It seems that the USAF have bought into hypersonic tech which may be useful in striking enemy targets- think chinese islands in the south china sea or carriers.
As we have discussed before, the 35 is great in the day 0, first strike, SEAD roll, where something like the 15X would be a great day 1 bomb/missile truck. Two vastly different lines of thinking but it all depends what the RCAFs strategic vision is for the next generation fighter.
 

SupersonicMax

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The F-35 is a great aircraft, no doubt about it. I have seen some of its capabilities first hand and it is beyond what a 4th Gen fighter pilot could even imagine. Having said this, given the expanse of the country and the broad roles we are given (NORAD and expeditionary ops, which has historically been mostly air-to-ground for the Hornet), something that has legs and something than can carry lots of weapons is what, I think, we need. None of the contenders offer that on the scale of the F-15X. A good USAF test pilot friend of mine participated in the F-35 and F-15SA/QA/X developmental test programs (and also F-16C/D, F-18A/B, F-15E, F-15C/D and many weapons test programs) agrees the F-15X would be ideal for Canada.

Having said all this, I believe the government wants an update of the capability, not an upgrade. The F-15X would definitely be an upgrade.
 

MilEME09

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The F-35 is a great aircraft, no doubt about it. I have seen some of its capabilities first hand and it is beyond what a 4th Gen fighter pilot could even imagine. Having said this, given the expanse of the country and the broad roles we are given (NORAD and expeditionary ops, which has historically been mostly air-to-ground for the Hornet), something that has legs and something than can carry lots of weapons is what, I think, we need. None of the contenders offer that on the scale of the F-15X. A good USAF test pilot friend of mine participated in the F-35 and F-15SA/QA/X developmental test programs (and also F-16C/D, F-18A/B, F-15E, F-15C/D and many weapons test programs) agrees the F-15X would be ideal for Canada.

Having said all this, I believe the government wants an update of the capability, not an upgrade. The F-15X would definitely be an upgrade.
In your opinion, and experience how many airframes/squadrons should we have for our next fighter? We keep going less is more each generation for everything but at what point are we spread too thin?
 

SupersonicMax

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In your opinion, and experience how many airframes/squadrons should we have for our next fighter? We keep going less is more each generation for everything but at what point are we spread too thin?
I think 15 aircraft is a good number (more for the OTU. They need to generate more lines per year). It allows aircraft to undergo phase maintenance (ie: long) and have a couple of broken aircraft on a day-to-day basis and still generate 6-10 aircraft per day, allowing for NORAD and limited force generation or a full complement of force generation. We could have more however we run into Squadron lines of tasking issues (1xHigh Readiness/deployed, 1xForce Generating, 2xDom Ops). At 15 jets per Squadron, that’s 60 jets for the front line units and 20 for the OTU.
 

Cdn Blackshirt

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I apologize that this is more focused on the F-35 but it feels like the core of this thread has moved to a comparison of the attributes of both fighters.

"Lord Dannatt said the Ministry of Defence is being bankrupted by the RAF’s F-35B stealth fighters – £80million each and costing up to £90,000 an hour to run.

The costs are now so high that even the US air force is beginning to look for a cheaper combat jet."

Link: https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-ne...ssians-23710412.amp?__twitter_impression=true
 

tomahawk6

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Cost is what limited buys of the Raptor to around 188 aircraft which the USAF would love to have more of.
 

MarkOttawa

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I apologize that this is more focused on the F-35 but it feels like the core of this thread has moved to a comparison of the attributes of both fighters.

"Lord Dannatt said the Ministry of Defence is being bankrupted by the RAF’s F-35B stealth fighters – £80million each and costing up to £90,000 an hour to run.

The costs are now so high that even the US air force is beginning to look for a cheaper combat jet."

Link: https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-ne...ssians-23710412.amp?__twitter_impression=true
Too high operating cost for USAF too:

F-35A Caught In Acquisition Dogfight Within U.S. Air Force

The Lockheed Martin F-35A is in trouble again. The U.S. Air Force is openly considering more affordable alternatives, including a clean-sheet design for a new fourth-generation fighter. A repair bottleneck, meanwhile, is choking the supply of engines, which threatens the operational fleet with groundings and restricted operations. And promised cost savings could still fall short of an ambitious target.

Hundreds of orders by the Air Force for F-35As far into the future could be at risk, starting with the size of the President Joe Biden’s first budget request to Congress for fiscal 2022.

The F-35A is one of three aircraft programs singled out for special review by new Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks ahead of the fiscal 2022 budget submission this spring. For three consecutive years, the Air Force has sent annual requests for 48 F-35As to Congress along with an “unfunded priority” for 8-14 more, which lawmakers have approved (see table). The Hicks-directed review now casts the size of the baseline request into question, as well as any Defense Department tacit support for supplementary orders chipped in by lawmakers.

But the last-minute budget drill for fiscal 2022 is only a warm-up. Two separate studies are underway to reset the composition of the Defense Department’s tactical aircraft fleet plan for the first time in over a decade. The Pentagon’s Cost Analysis and Program Evaluation office will lead one study, and the Joint Staff another. Both studies will inform decisions for the fiscal 2023 budget request but could profoundly reshape U.S. tactical air procurement for several years to come.

“Development of an updated schedule that addresses all the previous causes of schedule overruns has got to be informed by a detailed understanding of the path ahead and associated timelines,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told reporters on March 9.

“We are continuing an analysis here, and we’ll deliver the proposed acquisition production baseline revision when it’s complete,” he said.

The uncertainty at home comes at a critical time for the F-35A abroad. With a limited pool of customers trusted and well-funded enough to acquire the U.S. defense industry’s premier export product, the F-35A now must overcome the atmosphere created by a rising chorus of domestic criticism to win competitive contracts for about 200 aircraft orders this year by Canada, Finland and Switzerland combined. The UK, meanwhile, is poised to reveal the results of the delayed Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy, with the F-35B program vulnerable to deep cuts [emphasis added].

As foreign governments decide how much to invest in F-35s, they are hearing a clamor of confused messages about the aircraft’s value from U.S. Air Force leadership. With Congress’ approval, the Pentagon’s request in 2019 to buy the first eight of 144 Boeing F-15EXs broke the F-35A’s decade-long monopoly on the Air Force’s fighter procurement. But U.S. defense officials were careful to frame that decision as a one-off, expedient solution to an airframe longevity crisis that had erupted within the Boeing F-15C/D fleet.

The ongoing fleet reviews offer no such cover. Within the next few years, the Air Force plans to start replacing a fleet of so-called “pre-block” Lockheed F-16s, which includes 211 Block 30s, 37 Block 32s and 20 Block 25s, according to Aviation Week’s Military Fleet Discovery Database. Since 2001, the F-35A has stood officially as the service’s only replacement option for the pre-block F-16 fleet, but that is no longer the case [emphasis added].

As the internal Pentagon reviews progress, a wide range of alternatives to the F-35A are in consideration for replacing pre-block F-16s, including unmanned aircraft systems to perform a subset of the adversary air mission, new-build F-16s and a clean-sheet fighter that U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown, Jr., has described loosely as either a “fourth-generation-plus” or “fifth-generation-minus platform [emphasis added].”

As the Air Force considers options, a major driver is a single metric: operating cost. In 2018, then-Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein warned that the F-35A’s operating costs made the service’s plans to ramp up production impossible. Lockheed and the Joint Program Office responded by committing to lowering the F-35A’s cost per flight hour to $25,000 by 2025, a significant reduction from about $35,000 last year [emphasis added].

The program office has reported further progress, including signing annual sustainment contracts in fiscal 2020, which lowered the cost per flight hour by $2,000. Another initiative is replacing the much-criticized Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS) with the Operational Data Integrated Network (ODIN). Moving the administration of maintenance tasks to a cloud-based network can, in theory, help the Air Force save significantly on personnel costs. An army of administrators distributed to each unit could be consolidated at ODIN support hubs, but only if Air Force leaders accept such streamlined organizational changes.

Some service officials remain skeptical that the operating costs of the F-35A will become competitive with the F-16 within four years.

“In terms of [my] confidence level of getting to $25,000 [cost per flight hour] by 2025, I’m not brimming with confidence,” Air Combat Command Chief Gen. Mark Kelly said at the Air Warfare Symposium in late February, adding: “I haven’t lost confidence.”

The F-35A’s operating cost problem is now impossible to ignore. With the first 12 lots of low-rate initial production delivered, the F-35A now counts as the second-most numerous fighter fleet in the Air Force inventory behind only the F-16C/D, with an hourly operating cost more than 50% higher.

The service faces another problem with the availability of the F-35A. Deployments to the Middle East resulted in heavy usage in the region’s sand-flecked atmosphere, exposing a durability problem with the original coating applied to the high-pressure turbine blades inside the Pratt & Whitney F55 engine.

“They’ve been deployed to different locations, and that extra time on the engines is causing them to fail a bit sooner,” Brown told journalists on Feb. 17.

Pratt & Whitney, however, says the overall number of unscheduled engine removals is still below the manufacturer’s expectations. A new coating for the turbine blades also is being developed to fix the durability problem, says Matthew Bromberg, president of Pratt & Whitney Military Engines.

The fleet availability problem is caused by a bottleneck at the F135 repair depot, Bromberg says. The depot has been overwhelmed by a surge of workload. Scheduled engine removals started on F135 engines for the first time this year. Unscheduled engine removals, including because of the coating problem, also are flowing into the depot. Routine, fleet-wide configuration updates have to be processed through the depot as well. The F135 employs a two-level maintenance concept, meaning interior repairs to the power modules must be handled by the depot rather than at the operational unit. Two-level maintenance is supposed to be more efficient, but only if the depot is ready to handle the workload...

Mark
Ottawa
 

Cdn Blackshirt

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Well if both the USAF and RAF are identifying that the "per hour flight costs" are outside any semblance of budgetary responsibility for the F-35, I hope the people making our decisions are paying attention.

Does anyone know if there is any mechanism by which we could invite Boeing to submit the F-15EX?
 

GR66

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Well if both the USAF and RAF are identifying that the "per hour flight costs" are outside any semblance of budgetary responsibility for the F-35, I hope the people making our decisions are paying attention.

Does anyone know if there is any mechanism by which we could invite Boeing to submit the F-15EX?
I'm guessing that opening up the competition to another aircraft this late in the process would open the government up to lawsuits from the other bidders. Shame, because personally I think that in many ways the F-15EX checks a lot of boxes for Canada if we were to go for something other than the F-35, but I can't see any change at this point.
 

MilEME09

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I'm guessing that opening up the competition to another aircraft this late in the process would open the government up to lawsuits from the other bidders. Shame, because personally I think that in many ways the F-15EX checks a lot of boxes for Canada if we were to go for something other than the F-35, but I can't see any change at this point.
Well it is also is the governments right to reject all buds and then go to Boeing and say we want 88 F15Xs. I doubt that would happen though.
 

YZT580

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After the fracas with Boeing over the now A220 that would be too much of an about-face. Come to think of it the only party that Trudeau hasn't had a run in with are the Swedes. Not to mention the stink the libs raised when Harper tried a sole source contract for the F35.
 

Cdn Blackshirt

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It depends....if you approach Boeing to get an economic package that Trudeau could "sell" going into an election, I think it could be a major win-win for everyone. You just need someome to step up and raise the issue. If it adds votes, especially in Quebec or Ontario, JT may jump on board.
 

Quirky

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Well if both the USAF and RAF are identifying that the "per hour flight costs" are outside any semblance of budgetary responsibility for the F-35, I hope the people making our decisions are paying attention.

Does anyone know if there is any mechanism by which we could invite Boeing to submit the F-15EX?

We should go for the F-15EX, which costs more to acquire, costs more operate, yet somehow cheaper and more affordable? What a crazy time to be alive. Don't forget the F-15EX will take much longer to procure and we will need to create a new trade, all for what, because it's somehow the right choice for Canada? Please. There is nothing but doom and gloom on the F-35 because media only makes money with some sensational headlines. Any F-35 cut to numbers is nothing more than politics.
 
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