30 January 2018

Longer Range, More Payload, Superior Performance, Lower Cost, What's Not to Love?

The Israeli Air Force is inclined to order an advanced variant of the F-15 instead more F-35s.

Even if there are things that the F-35 can do that the F-15 can't, you want to minimize spending on silver bullets:
The Israel Air Force is to decide in a few months between purchasing a third squadron of F-35 fighter jets or the F-15I, which, while less advanced, has other advantages.

The acquisition requires the approval of the General Staff and a ministerial committee, but the recommendation of the air force generally carries the day.

IAF Commander Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin, who reportedly is leaning toward the F-15, is to submit a recommendation in May.

Israel and the United States agreed last year on the purchase of 50 F-35 fighters, two squadrons, from Lockheed Martin, with delivery completed by 2024.


Senior IAF officers, including the force’s previous commander, Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel, have lavished praise on its capabilities. One of its most important operational capabilities is stealth, the ability to not show up on enemy radar.

But in order employ its stealth capabilities, the F-35 must fly with its bombs inside the plane’s belly, which limits its carrying capacity. If the bombs are carried on the outside of the plane, its stealth capabilities are impaired.

The F-15, though older, has two advantages over the F-35: a longer flight range and the ability to carry larger bombs. Another factor in its favor is that it’s built on a different platform, which means the air force would have a mix of planes rather than relying on a single model.

The F-15I is also cheaper to operate than the F-35. But the plane is currently being upgraded by the manufacturer, Boeing, and its purchase price is expected to rise in any future deal. Thus it could end up costing the same as the F-35 does next time around.
I gotta figure that there are elements in the IAF who are seriously worried that some crucial features of the F-35 will go completely titsup when the sh%$ hits the fan.

My money would among the items worrying IAF planners is its the JSF's ill-starred Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS).


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