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09:47 AM, December 31, 2018
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F-15 fighter (image:Boeing)

The United States (US) Department of Defense (DoD) has announced plans to purchase 12 upgraded Boeing F-15X fighter aircraft worth 1.2 billion as a part of modernisation program of US Air Force's (USAF) legacy fighter fleet and to supplement growing fleet of fifth-generation fighter aircraft.

It will be the first F-15 purchase by the USAF if approved by US DoD and USAF since 2001 when it had procured the F-15E Strike Eagle aircraft, Defence Connect reported Monday.

The F-15X provides a number of key capability and technology improvements over the legacy, fourth-generation F-15 platform. It has a flat-panel glass cockpits supporting fly-by-wire controls; digital Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System II helmet mounted display (HMD); revised internal wing structure; upgraded APG-82 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar systems; low-profile head-up display systems; upgraded radio and satellite communications; the Eagle Passive Active Warning Survivability System (EPAWSS) electronic warfare and electronic surveillance suite; and Legion pod-mounted infrared search and track (ISRT) system.

The upgrade involves integration of Boeing's new AMBER missile carrying racks, enabling the F-15X to carry 22 air-to-air missiles during a single sortie. Alternatively, the AMBER racks would enable the F-15X to carry eight air-to-air missiles and 28 Small Diameter Bombs (SDBs), or up to seven 2,000-pound bombs and eight air-to-air missiles.

In contrast, the legacy F-15C/D platform can carry eight air-to-air missiles currently, while the specialised F-15SA manufactured for Saudi Arabia is capable of carrying a dozen such missiles.

Larger air-to-air weapons payload of the F-15X can support F-22 and F-35 platforms operating in stealth configuration, thus limiting their payloads by serving as a long-range, stand-off 'shooting solution' for battlefield commanders, leveraging the key capabilities of both platforms operating in an enhanced, yet traditional 'high-low' capability mix, the report added further.

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