F-15EX Eagle II: The Fighter that Redefines Stealth
F-15EX Eagle II: The Fighter that Redefines Stealth” delves into the revolutionary capabilities of this aircraft, challenging conventional stealth principles.

The F-15EX is the third version of the fighter to transfer control of the aircraft to a computer, following in the footsteps of Saudi Arabia’s F-15QA and F-15SA.

The F-15EX Eagle II is an aircraft that stands out among other 21st-century sky warriors, even in an era where stealth fighters dominate. It has advanced avionics and the fastest mission computer available in a fighter. The F-15EX dominates the aerial battlefield and doesn’t try to blend in. Its size and visibility are part of its dominance strategy.

Air Strategy: The Importance of the F-15EX in National Defense

F-15EX Eagle II: The Fighter that Redefines Stealth
F-15EX Eagle II: The Fighter that Redefines Stealth

Stealth is an important strategy in aerial combat, but it’s not always required. Due to the high operating cost of stealth fighters, 4th generation aircraft like the F-15EX are being brought back into use for missions such as national defense, where stealth is not crucial. The US Air Force has plans to add more than 100 of these aircraft to its arsenal.

A recent video from Boeing displays the aerobatic prowess of the F-15QA, an Eagle variant designed for Qatar. The  F-15EX is the third version of the fighter to transfer control of the aircraft to a computer, following in the footsteps of  Saudi Arabia’s F-15QA and F-15SA.

The Legacy of the F-15: From the Cold War to the Modern Era

The F-15 was developed in 1976 in response to the Soviet Union’s MiG-25, which was considered a Mach 3 super fighter and a potential threat to US air superiority. The F-15EX was an upgraded version of this fighter jet, designed to provide a strong counter to the powerful MiG-25. Western reports on the MiG-25 suggested that it posed an unprecedented challenge to US air power, which intensified the development of the F-15 design.

F-15EX Eagle II: The Fighter that Redefines Stealth
F-15

After Soviet pilot Victor Belenko defected, the US learned about the truth of the MiG-25. By that time, the F-15 Eagle had already been in flight for nine months and had proven to be a formidable aerial opponent. As time went on, the F-15 became the most dominant fighter of the 20th century, achieving an impressive record of 104 victories without any losses.

Advances and Renewals: The Evolution of the F-15

Over time, new weapons and more powerful systems were added to the F-15, such as the AIM-120 AMRAAM missile and the APG-63(V)3 radar. However, despite these improvements, foreign F-15s surpassed their American counterparts in capabilities, thanks to continued investment in their development. The F-15EX thus benefits from a $5 billion investment by Qatar and Saudi Arabia in their Eagle programs.

The F-15EX and F-15QA fighter jets are capable of incredible maneuvers due to their advanced fly-by-wire controls, which are superior to the old hydromechanical system. With these controls, a computer is able to direct the aircraft, enabling it to reach performance limits that would be impossible for a human pilot to achieve.

F-15EX and F-15QA: Air Supremacy in the New Era

F-15EX Eagle II: The Fighter that Redefines Stealth
F-15EX Eagle II: The Fighter that Redefines Stealth

The F-15EX and F-15QA fighter jets are equipped with flight control systems that can exceed the 9G limit, allowing them to reach up to 12G in critical situations. These fighters are powered by General Electric 129 afterburning turbofan engines, making them a formidable force in the air.

Boeing test pilot Jason “Mongoose” Dotter has stated that the new controls enable the aircraft to perform stunts that were previously only possible with fighters like the F-22 or Su-57.

Although the F-15EX lacks thrust vectoring control, its powerful onboard computers allow it to perform maneuvers that rival those of fighters that do have this technology. As Dotter highlighted, the F-15EX can replicate the maneuvers of the F-22 Raptor, demonstrating its versatility and power in aerial combat.

Challenges in F-15EX Production

Despite the F-15EX’s impressive performance, its production is currently facing delays. The assembly of the front fuselages has caused complications, and as a result, the third production fighter has been delayed by two years. The US Air Force has plans to acquire 104 units of the F-15EX, which would strengthen its arsenal in the Air National Guard.

FAQs

What are the key features of the F-15EX Eagle II?

The F-15EX Eagle II is distinguished by its advanced avionics and the fastest mission computer in a fighter. Although it does not emphasize stealth, it excels in national defense and air operations where stealth is not paramount. Its lineage dates back to the original F-15, designed as a response to the Soviet MiG-25.

What advantages does the F-15EX offer over stealth fighters?

The F-15EX offers a lower operating cost compared to stealth fighters, making it ideal for missions where stealth is not essential. Its focus on national defense and capacity for diverse air operations makes it a valuable and economical option.

How do Qatar and Saudi Arabia influence the development of the F-15EX?

Qatar and Saudi Arabia have invested some $5 billion in their Eagle programs, directly benefiting the development of the F-15EX. These investments have allowed significant improvements to the platform, keeping it competitive and advanced.

What technological improvements stand out in the F-15EX?

The F-15EX is notable for its advanced fly-by-wire controls, replacing previous hydromechanical systems. This allows for more effective control and precise maneuvering, pushing the aircraft to limits that would not be safe on traditionally controlled platforms.

How does the F-15EX’s aerobatic performance compare to other fighters?

Despite not having thrust vector control, the F-15EX, thanks to its powerful onboard computers, can perform aerobatic maneuvers comparable to those of supermaneuverable fighters such as the F-22 or Su-35. This is evidenced by its ability to replicate specific maneuvers of these advanced fighters.