The US Air Force Choose the F-15EX Eagle to mount hypersonic missiles instead of the expensive F-35 or F-22. Veteran designs like the Eagle can carry more weapons working with other fighters in tandem.
US Air Force Chooses F-15EX Eagle to Mount Hypersonic Missiles
Carrying a super-fast missile in the underside of a plane is a big thing. How much the plane will cost to operate is another important factor.
On March 10, the US Air Force got their first EX Eagle to carry and fire a super-fast missile. It was bought by the USAF to replace its aging F-15s, reported Eurasian Times. USAF officials accepted the first new airframe EX Eagle at Boeing's St. Louis production facility in Missouri.
Stealth fighters are important for today's militaries, so a 4th-generation fighter plane peaking at 40 years old and still unbeaten in air-to-air combat with 104 kills is a good thing. Compared to Stealth F-35 Lighting IIs, it should have been the choice. However, Air Force planners realize not all combats will need a near radar invisible jet.
One more issue with the F-35 is the cost to fly it for relatively few stealth fighters which will cost more to keep in the air. The EX-Eagle is cheaper and with fewer operation costs to keep them flying. In the end, war is about economics, and the more upgraded and advanced F-15s are far better than fewer stealth jets.
On top of that, the change to the EX-Eagle is cheaper and faster for units with the F-15C/D variant. It would take longer and more expensive to shift to the F-35. Still a superior fighter, the F-15 holds the edge in a heated dogfight that an F-35 carrying hypersonic missiles.
Spotted flying the EX-Eagle has the serial number 20-001 with the Air Force paint scheme, with tail marking identified with the Florida-based Eglin Air Force Base. Besides the first one, the USAF will get 144 of them to replace the older F-15C/D variants. Another plan is to buy them to replace its older E-variants of the Eagles.
According to Colonel Sean Dorey, the F-15 EX Program Manager is tasked with keeping the USAF planes up to date. This is why getting the new Eagle airframes is important to replace those with the danger of getting fatigued by long service.
Still, a good fighter in all-weather roles, the twin engines of the advanced F-15 are no accident. Two engines instead of one is an advantage for flying in any weather. A big and burly plane that has the Su-30 MKI with the same features.
Missions an advanced F-15 can do are to operate in homeland and airbase defense, combat air patrols (CAP), and firing a variety of missiles and bombs. It is used to shoot down enemy planes in air superiority and intercept attackers, bombing, and other missions. It can carry the most weapons in the US arsenal.
Made to carry super-fast missiles
Missiles that travel faster than Mach 5 are the next arms race, giving less time to react and shoot it down. Even how they approach their targets is tricky for defenders and attackers. It is a combo ballistic missile and cruise missile or double trouble. Defense against them is one problematic concern.
One solution is to add hypersonic missiles to F-15 EX-Eagles to its payload as a cost-effective launch platform. The missile will be loaded on its centerline pylon, with a range of 1,100 miles is hard to pass up.