24 August 2013

Burying the Lede

In an article on Korean fighter purchase plans, there is a lot of discussion about their next fighter purchase:
Boeing's F-15SE Silent Eagle has been selected as the only qualified bidder in South Korea's F-X Phase 3 competition for 60 fighters—but the country's air force is lobbying to overturn the decision in favor of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

A win in South Korea would extend the F-15 production line into the next decade and launch an improved version that could compete for future fighter requirements in the 2020s. That outcome seems likely following the decision of the South Korean purchasing authority, the Defense Acquisition Program Agency (DAPA), to eliminate first the F-35 as too costly and then the Eurofighter Typhoon for a bidding irregularity—although EADS, representing the consortium in the South Korean deal, disputes DAPA's decision.
(emphasis mine)

OK, let's look at this.

The F-15SE has:
  • A larger weapons load.
  • Greater range.
  • Higher speed.
  • a 2nd crew member giving greater flexibility in deploying weapons.
  • A 2nd engine.
  • The ability to develop weapons and systems for the platform in Korea.
  • The ability to perform depot level maintenance in country.
The F-35 has:
  • Some degree of all aspect stealth.
And for giving up all of that, you have to pay more, a lot more for the F-35.

The F-35 simply costs too much.


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