US Air Force’s F-15 fighter aircraft fleet will get a $12 billion makeover, which will include modification to carry 16 missiles, rather than the standard eight.
According to CNN, the Air Force initially planned to replace the entire F-15 fleet with the fifth-generation F-22 Raptor, but production of the stealthy aircraft was halted in 2009 and only 188 of the 749 F-22s purchased by the Pentagon were ever produced.
With rival nations like China and Russia quickly closing the technology gap that has allowed the US to rule the skies for decades and fewer F-22s than expected at its disposal, the Air Force has decided to invest in a major facelift for the battle-tested F-15 to help fill the void by extending its lifespan through 2040.
The upgrade will cover 435 F-15s, boosting them with new radar technology, updated mission computer systems, modern communication tools, advanced infrared search and track capabilities and electronic warfare defenses so the F-15s can work in concert with more advanced aircraft, the Air Force told CNN.
Many of the upgraded F-15's will also be modified to carry 16 missiles, rather than the standard eight, giving those aircraft greater lethality, said Boeing spokesman Randy Jackson.