The USAF is modernizing its Boeing F-15 fleet–that includes both the C/D air superiority fighters and the multirole F-15E Strike Eagle.
The USAF is adding active electronically scanned array radar, new electronic warfare systems, and adding a new display computer to the jets amongst a host of other upgrades. The modifications are probably the first in a series of upgrades because the venerable fighter is going to be serving into the 2030s. Which is quite impressive considering the first F-15A prototype first flew on 27 July, 1972.
But pilots are saying that while the USAF is improving the F-15′s sensors, it is neglecting the displays that those operators would need to fully exploit the capabilities of the upgraded systems. One suspects that the USAF’s next step will be to add those improved displays.
The US Navy is planning on adding multi-sensor integration capabilities to its Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornets. That could entail adding information systems to the jet that resemble those found on the Lockheed Martin F-22 and F-35. In fact, the USN is looking at both those aircraft for inspiration, but they’re also looking at Boeing’s proposed large area display amongst a host of other options.
Perhaps the USAF will eventually come around and do something similar with their F-15s.
The USAF, in earlier years, had neglected upgrades to the F-15 largely due to their belief that the aircraft would be replaced by the Raptor. But with the Raptor’s production capped at 187, and an operational fleet that numbers only 185 due to attrition, the USAF is now resigned to operating the Eagle into the 2030s. The focus is now on integrating the F-15s with the Raptors to maximize the capabilities of both jets–and by all accounts (from people who actually fly them)–they’re proving to be one hell of a combo.