Indonesia Indonesian Air Force, Tentara Nasional Indonesia-Angkatan Udara (TNI-AU)

Umigami

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anybody want to nazhar for E7 Wedgetail with Boeing 737 MAX platform??
Mado? Umi? Lord?
#WetDreamModeOn
If we could get it, I hope it's electronically as capable as the other customer countries.
 

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PT Len will develop a multimission ground segment system to provide control, maintenance, data processing, and analytic functions for the Defense Satellite System. Additionally, PT Len will grant the MoD access to the existing high revisit Earth observation satellite constellation through a partnership with BlackSky. This service will provide early ISR satellite capability for the MoD and Indonesian National Armed Forces prior to the Defense Satellite System operation.

The Indonesian Earth Observation constellation will be built on Thales Alenia Space's all-in-one radar and optical offer leveraging its strong expertise in delivering complex end-to-end systems that also embrace Telespazio key building blocks for ground segment. The Indonesian Earth Observation constellation builds on the long standing optical sensors capabilities of Thales Alenia Space in France and on the SAR satellites expertise of Thales Alenia Space in Italy.

-

BlackSky is a space-based intelligence company that delivers real-time imagery with global rapid revisit, analytics, and high-frequency monitoring of the most critical and strategic locations, economic assets, and events.

-

so, there are two main points mentioned. besides getting new earth observation optical and radar satellites, PT LEN also estabilished cooperation with BlackSky to provide real time earth imagery.


I thought the earth observation satellites would be optical only, like Pléiades Satellites, but also radar (Synthetic Aperture Radar), this combination might be like Italian IRIDE satellite

"More in detail, the IRIDE project includes the development and launch (and the supply of related services) of satellites with different imaging technologies, such as Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) sensors, optical sensors with high and medium resolution or sensors with various frequency ranges, from panchromatic, multispectral, hyperspectral to infrared bands.

In addition to providing services to the Italian Public Administration, the aim of IRIDE is also to support the Civil Protection and other administrations in fighting hydrogeological instability and fires, protecting coastlines and monitoring critical infrastructures, air quality and weather conditions."

Im guessing that is what MoD wanted to get. if true, then what we will get is not single satellites. But a combination of both optical and radar
eo_constellation_indonesia_1500.jpg

pict credit : Thales Alenia Space.


The Italian choses the combination of 6 SAR satellites and 1 Optical

" Thales Alenia Space has won a contract to build six satellites for the Italian Earth observation (EO) constellation IRIDE. The contract, awarded by the European Space Agency (ESA), is for a batch of six small satellites with synthetic aperture radars (SAR) and one satellite based on optical technology. Thales announced the deal on Monday.

The contract for the six SAR satellites is worth 112 million euros and includes an option on a second group of four satellites, worth 75 million euros. The optical satellite contract is worth 30 million euros, and includes an option on an additional satellite for 19 million euros. Both the radar and optical satellites are built on Thales’s Nimbus, or New Italian Micro Bus platform, weighing about 170 kilograms. Italian companies Media Lario and TDS are developing the optical payload."
 

Umigami

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PT Len will develop a multimission ground segment system to provide control, maintenance, data processing, and analytic functions for the Defense Satellite System. Additionally, PT Len will grant the MoD access to the existing high revisit Earth observation satellite constellation through a partnership with BlackSky. This service will provide early ISR satellite capability for the MoD and Indonesian National Armed Forces prior to the Defense Satellite System operation.

The Indonesian Earth Observation constellation will be built on Thales Alenia Space's all-in-one radar and optical offer leveraging its strong expertise in delivering complex end-to-end systems that also embrace Telespazio key building blocks for ground segment. The Indonesian Earth Observation constellation builds on the long standing optical sensors capabilities of Thales Alenia Space in France and on the SAR satellites expertise of Thales Alenia Space in Italy.

-

BlackSky is a space-based intelligence company that delivers real-time imagery with global rapid revisit, analytics, and high-frequency monitoring of the most critical and strategic locations, economic assets, and events.

-

so, there are two main points mentioned. besides getting new earth observation optical and radar satellites, PT LEN also estabilished cooperation with BlackSky to provide real time earth imagery.


I thought the earth observation satellites would be optical only, like Pléiades Satellites, but also radar (Synthetic Aperture Radar), this combination might be like Italian IRIDE satellite

"More in detail, the IRIDE project includes the development and launch (and the supply of related services) of satellites with different imaging technologies, such as Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) sensors, optical sensors with high and medium resolution or sensors with various frequency ranges, from panchromatic, multispectral, hyperspectral to infrared bands.

In addition to providing services to the Italian Public Administration, the aim of IRIDE is also to support the Civil Protection and other administrations in fighting hydrogeological instability and fires, protecting coastlines and monitoring critical infrastructures, air quality and weather conditions."

Im guessing that is what MoD wanted to get. if true, then what we will get is not single satellites. But a combination of both optical and radar
View attachment 63665
pict credit : Thales Alenia Space.


The Italian choses the combination of 6 SAR satellites and 1 Optical

" Thales Alenia Space has won a contract to build six satellites for the Italian Earth observation (EO) constellation IRIDE. The contract, awarded by the European Space Agency (ESA), is for a batch of six small satellites with synthetic aperture radars (SAR) and one satellite based on optical technology. Thales announced the deal on Monday.

The contract for the six SAR satellites is worth 112 million euros and includes an option on a second group of four satellites, worth 75 million euros. The optical satellite contract is worth 30 million euros, and includes an option on an additional satellite for 19 million euros. Both the radar and optical satellites are built on Thales’s Nimbus, or New Italian Micro Bus platform, weighing about 170 kilograms. Italian companies Media Lario and TDS are developing the optical payload."
Are mainland and Australia included in observation area?
 

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Are mainland and Australia included in observation area?
Earth Observation (EO) satellite usually placed in low earth orbit, due to their limitation to create sharp optical images,
so they are in contant movement circling the earth anytime, not fixed in certain spot so that makes it geosynchronous.

While Geosynchronous satellite usually placed on high earth orbit, fixed on certain spot on the space above some areas, following earth orbit rotational movement, hence the name geo-synchronous. Usually this type of satellite is used for comm and relay, like the recent SATRIA, Telkom 1 2 3, and Palapa series.

This video below gives good example of EO satellites
 

Umigami

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Earth Observation (EO) satellite usually placed in low earth orbit, due to their limitation to create sharp optical images,
so they are in contant movement circling the earth anytime, not fixed in certain spot so that makes it geosynchronous.

While Geosynchronous satellite usually placed on high earth orbit, fixed on certain spot on the space above some areas, following earth orbit rotational movement, hence the name geo-synchronous. Usually this type of satellite is used for comm and relay, like the recent SATRIA, Telkom 1 2 3, and Palapa series.

This video below gives good example of EO satellites
then If they pass China, the could take some data then, it's just not every day.
 

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then If they pass China, the could take some data then, it's just not every day.
Yes, Due to its characteristic, EO satellites moves in angle of 180 degree direction (north to south earth), usually, it takes up to 26 days to complete repeat cycle, for example from indonesia, then circling the earth then came back to indonesia, so for the best to intel gathering, it is better to have more than one EO satellite to monitor the same object / place / area over the period of time.

If we could have 2 EO satellite, then the time interval between each passing could be cut in half, so update in every 13 days.

That is why Italian IRIDE project takes up to 6 SAR and 1 Optical Imagery. In theory, they could have update over monitoring certain area in every 4 day or less. Moreover, SAR satellites has greater ability to collect intel, due to the Radar Imagery could penetrate clouds, regardless of day or night, and thus having greater resolution over detailed object.

SmartSelect_20231208-124844_Chrome.jpg

as you see from optical imagery above, the NK submarine is hidden underneath the awning/canopy

SmartSelect_20231208-125206_Chrome.jpg

but this SAR Imagery gave another result. there is submarine over there, can't see it yet?

SmartSelect_20231208-125206_Chrome.jpg

see it upclose, even tho it's blurred and not as clear as optical, but surely this SAR Imagery method gave the user very great intel.
 

Gary

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There's one way to increase update rate, by simply buying more satellite LOL

I'm not kidding, some SAR satellite now are "affordable" enough to be purchased via crowdfunding. Ukraine crowdfund the purcase of ICEYE SAR satellite from Finland to enhance their ISR in 2022

Satlantis-ICEYE_3.jpg


1 meter resolution SAR which is decent I guess ?

ICEYE-featured-image-under-1-meter-resolution-spotlight-1-port-container-yard-near-port-harcourt-nigeria.jpg



$17M a piece
 

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Why the F-15EX Is Such a Badass Plane​

The Eagle II boasts capabilities that even fifth-generation fighters don’t have—all in a fourth-gen disguise.

Boeing’s vastly experienced F-15 chief pilot says he never went faster than Mach 2 while flying the F-22 Raptor in the Air Force. But when he took the Boeing F-15EX Eagle II on its maiden flight in 2021, he sure did.

“It was a clean airplane right off the production line in green primer [paint],” Matthew “Phat” Giese tells Popular Mechanics. “I did a maximum-afterburner takeoff, pointing the jet straight up, and wound up at 40,000 feet going Mach 2.5 [1,650 miles per hour]. That’s a hell of a first flight.”

Giese’s experience illustrates what any pilot who has flown Eagles from the 1970s up through today will tell you: no other Western fighter has the high-altitude smash of an F-15 Eagle. It’s a performance benchmark that the new twin-engine, two-place F-15EX enhances with thrust plus electrical and computing power to best its predecessor.

“The things that the F-15 has always done well—go high, go fast, stay airborne for a really long time with a huge payload [30,000 pounds of ordnance], and see further than any other fighter—are there today in the EX,” Giese says.

f15ex overview

The F-15EX, the Air Force’s newest fighter aircraft, arrives to Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, March 11, 2021.
(U.S. Air Force photo/1st Lt. Karissa Rodriguez)

These attributes, including payload, are not hallmarks of America’s fifth-generation fighters. The F-35, for example, can only carry 5,700 pounds of air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons at shorter range and slower speeds than the F-15EX.

“Frankly, [F-15EX] can almost fill in where you might not have as many bombers as you’d like to have. … This thing can carry so much ordnance ... much like you would with a bomber. So that’s going to be quite effective,” Gen. Kenneth Wilsbach, head of U.S. Pacific Air Forces, said during the Air Force’s annual convention in fall 2023.

The Air Force is beginning to recognize how valuable the Eagle II could be. However, it only currently plans to buy 104 F-15EXs in total, down from an originally planned minimum fleet size of at least 144. And yet, the state of global affairs today is arguably as grave as when the F-15 first flew in 1972.

Then, as now, the U.S. needed Eagles.

Built Right the First Time

Former Eagle driver and current Boeing F-15 business development director, Robert “Blend’r” Novotny says he’s heard the F-15EX casually characterized as a 50-year old airframe. “I agree,” he tells Popular Mechanics. “Sometimes you get lucky and you build an exceptional airplane right the first time.”

The F-15 was conceived for the Air Force’s F-X fighter requirement in 1968. Informed by America’s Vietnam experience and the revelation of the USSR’s Mach 2.8-capable MiG-25 Foxbat interceptor the year before, designers from McDonnell-Douglas penned a twin-tailed, twin-engine Mach 2.5-capable air superiority fighter intended to out-rival anything in the air, including the Foxbat.

Selected in late 1969, the first Eagle delivered to the service was a two-seat F-15B trainer, handed over in November 1974. It’s an interesting historical footnote given that the F-15EX is a two-seat airplane. Getting two-seaters in 1974 allowed pilots transitioning from the F-4 Phantom and other fighters/trainers to go aloft for the first time with an instructor. As the Eagle evolved, the back seat became the focus of added capability.

The first single-seat F-15A destined for a combat squadron was delivered in January 1976. Longer-ranged F-15C and D models (with greater internal fuel capacity) came along in 1979. The Eagle spent the next three decades as the U.S. Air Force’s primary air superiority fighter, officially amassing a combat record of 104 kills and zero losses. (However, the Iraqi Air Force MiG-25s claimed to have shot one down in 1991.)

Pause Icon

Image no longer available
An Air Refueling Squadron from Travis Air Force Base use a KC-10 Extender to refuel U.S. Air Force F-15 Eagles above Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, during Exercise Northern Edge 19, May 14, 2019. (Footage by U.S. Department of Defense/Milmotion via Getty Images)



So sturdy was its design, so powerful its engines (two Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-220s with a maximum 23,450 pounds-thrust each), so long-ranged its endurance (1,061 nautical miles), that in 1979, McDonnell-Douglas and radar manufacturer Hughes privately teamed up to develop a two-seat fighter-bomber version of the airplane that became the F-15E Strike Eagle.

Put simply: a line from the F-15A through E can be drawn to the F-15EX, but it’s not a straight line.

21st-Century Guts

f15ex in flight

An F-15EX from the 53d Wing takes off from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in support of Northern Edge 2021. NE21 is one in a series of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command exercises designed to sharpen the joint forces’ skills; to practice tactics, techniques, and procedures; to improve command, control and communication relationships; and to develop cooperative plans and programs.
(U.S. Air Force photo by 1st Lt Savanah Bray)

Boeing’s Novotny says it’s difficult to “strip away whether the F-15EX is a pivot off the A, C, or E models. The reality is they share so much original DNA.” The EX also evolved from other, newer F-15s like the F-15QA developed for the Qatar Emiri Air Force and the F-15SA built for Saudi Arabia.

The mix of ingredients that make up the F-15EX really goes back to 2013 when Boeing “completely gutted the airplane from the inside out,” Giese explains. Minor structural changes were made to accommodate more powerful General Electric F110-GE-129 engines with a maximum 29,500 pounds of thrust. A Full-Size Determinant Assembly production technique (which reduces build time by moving drilling to the component fabrication process) is used for the wings and the nose barrel.

A new digital backbone was designed for the F-15EX, including a fly-by-wire flight control system (FCS), a far more powerful Advanced Display Core Processor II mission computer, and more powerful electrical system. Nearly all of the F-15C/Ds avionics were updated in a fully digital all-glass cockpit, which includes a 10 x 19-inch large-area touch display (LAD) that’s fitted in both cockpits.

The large-area touch display can be custom configured by either the pilot or weapons officer to present an array of information, including inputs from the F-15EX’s AN/APG-82 active electronically-scanned array (AESA) radar and its Eagle Passive/Active Warning Survivability System (EPAWSS) electronic warfare suite.

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The former allows the F-15EX to “see further than any other fighter,” Giese says, while the latter can do “unique digital things that are creative, and produce effects the likes of which we’ve never seen before.”

While Boeing is tight-lipped about EPAWSS’ specific capabilities, it has been described as enabling “cognitive electronic warfare,” a kind of real-time identification of adversary waveforms, adapting and modifying them to use against the enemy. The Air Force’s Angry Kitten pod pioneered such capability. With EPAWSS, the F-15EX turns the fifth-gen fighter low observability equation on its head, Giese explains.

“Instead of being stealthy and managing a certain profile into a target area, we use badass power with the APG-82 and EPAWSS. In my opinion, that produces a battlespace effect that is greater for the rest of the airplanes [in a strike package] than one [stealth] asset,” he says.

Boeing’s Novotny agrees. “The EX has a fourth-generation outer mold line, but fifth- and sixth-generation sensors.”

Badass Power​

Power pervades every aspect of the Eagle II—sensor power, ordnance power, and the power of range. You just can’t overlook its engines, however. We asked Giese, Boeing’s chief F-15 pilot, how flying the F-15EX compared with flying the Raptors, F-16s, and other Eagles he’s flown, plus how it flies in formation with other fighters it has seen during evaluation at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida.

The jet flies much like a legacy F-15 but better, he says. Its digital flight control system was designed to make transitioning from an F-15C or Strike Eagle easy.

“Where the EX differentiates itself is the acceleration and power of the GE-129s. An informal drag race of an EX vs an E model at Eglin resulted in an easy win for the EX. When it comes to climb/turn performance, the powerful GE-129s again out-perform legacy engines. Also, addition of the g limiter and roll limiter make the jet extremely predictable, and protects the pilot and airframe.”

f15ex front view

The F-15EX, the Air Force’s newest fighter aircraft, arrives to Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, March 11, 2021.
(U.S. Air Force photo/Samuel King Jr.)

Single-engine fighters like the F-16 and F-35 can’t match the F-15EX’s power, Giese says. “I have flown countless formation flights with F-16 chase aircraft during development and other mission system flight tests. My chase F-16 ended up in a 20NM trail when I flew a high-speed Mach-2.3 flutter test point. We started out in close visual formation. I would expect similar results with an F-35.”

With a reported combat radius of 1,100 miles (the maximum distance a combat-loaded fighter can fly to and from a target without refueling), the F-15EX can go further than any other U.S. fighter—including the F-35 (670 miles). That’s a huge advantage in the Pacific, where the Air Force could face off against China over vast distances with limited aerial refueling availability.

Novotny recalls his longest mission in a legacy Eagle was a 13-hour dusk-to-lunchtime combat sortie on night one of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The F-15EX will surely be called upon similarly.

When that happens, it can carry virtually any aerial weapon in the U.S. arsenal on its nine wing pylons, from up to 14 AIM-120 AMRAAM and AIM-9X Sidewinder air-to-air missiles to a mix of small-diameter bombs, GBU-54 smart bombs, AGM-158 standoff cruise missiles, and Harpoon anti-ship missiles.

Pacific Air Forces commander, Gen. Wilsbach, told the media: “Some of the weapons that you can’t carry internally [on] a fifth-generation aircraft, you can put on the F-15EX.” Among those would be hypersonic missiles now in development, which the Eagle II can carry on its centerline pylon.

The two-seat EX logically lends itself well to Air Force “Battle Captain” concepts, wherein the crew works with the Collaborative Combat Aircraft (CCAs, loyal wingman drones) the service is eager to develop.

f15ex pilot

Maj. Kevin Hand, F-15EX operational and experimental test pilot with the Air National Guard-Air Force Reserve Test Center, prepares to taxi out for a mission from Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, October 20, 2021.
(U.S. Air Force photo by William R. Lewis)
An Eagle II with a pilot flying into advanced tactical scenarios and a backseater who can operate offboard drones or weapons could make early semi-autonomous CCAs practical, while still holding a digital leash to such unmanned teaming systems.

So versatile is the F-15EX that buying it in small numbers and largely confining it to a homeland defense mission (as the Air Force says it intends) makes no sense. It’s a natural deterrent against China, a new badass to compliment current fifth- and forthcoming sixth-generation fighters—all while upholding the Eagle tradition.

“The Eagle has remained that dominant over half a century,” Giese says. “Can you imagine a professional sports team with a record of 104 wins, zero losses?”

 

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Why the F-15EX Is Such a Badass Plane​

The Eagle II boasts capabilities that even fifth-generation fighters don’t have—all in a fourth-gen disguise.

Boeing’s vastly experienced F-15 chief pilot says he never went faster than Mach 2 while flying the F-22 Raptor in the Air Force. But when he took the Boeing F-15EX Eagle II on its maiden flight in 2021, he sure did.

“It was a clean airplane right off the production line in green primer [paint],” Matthew “Phat” Giese tells Popular Mechanics. “I did a maximum-afterburner takeoff, pointing the jet straight up, and wound up at 40,000 feet going Mach 2.5 [1,650 miles per hour]. That’s a hell of a first flight.”

Giese’s experience illustrates what any pilot who has flown Eagles from the 1970s up through today will tell you: no other Western fighter has the high-altitude smash of an F-15 Eagle. It’s a performance benchmark that the new twin-engine, two-place F-15EX enhances with thrust plus electrical and computing power to best its predecessor.

“The things that the F-15 has always done well—go high, go fast, stay airborne for a really long time with a huge payload [30,000 pounds of ordnance], and see further than any other fighter—are there today in the EX,” Giese says.

f15ex overview

The F-15EX, the Air Force’s newest fighter aircraft, arrives to Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, March 11, 2021.
(U.S. Air Force photo/1st Lt. Karissa Rodriguez)

These attributes, including payload, are not hallmarks of America’s fifth-generation fighters. The F-35, for example, can only carry 5,700 pounds of air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons at shorter range and slower speeds than the F-15EX.

“Frankly, [F-15EX] can almost fill in where you might not have as many bombers as you’d like to have. … This thing can carry so much ordnance ... much like you would with a bomber. So that’s going to be quite effective,” Gen. Kenneth Wilsbach, head of U.S. Pacific Air Forces, said during the Air Force’s annual convention in fall 2023.

The Air Force is beginning to recognize how valuable the Eagle II could be. However, it only currently plans to buy 104 F-15EXs in total, down from an originally planned minimum fleet size of at least 144. And yet, the state of global affairs today is arguably as grave as when the F-15 first flew in 1972.

Then, as now, the U.S. needed Eagles.

Built Right the First Time

Former Eagle driver and current Boeing F-15 business development director, Robert “Blend’r” Novotny says he’s heard the F-15EX casually characterized as a 50-year old airframe. “I agree,” he tells Popular Mechanics. “Sometimes you get lucky and you build an exceptional airplane right the first time.”

The F-15 was conceived for the Air Force’s F-X fighter requirement in 1968. Informed by America’s Vietnam experience and the revelation of the USSR’s Mach 2.8-capable MiG-25 Foxbat interceptor the year before, designers from McDonnell-Douglas penned a twin-tailed, twin-engine Mach 2.5-capable air superiority fighter intended to out-rival anything in the air, including the Foxbat.

Selected in late 1969, the first Eagle delivered to the service was a two-seat F-15B trainer, handed over in November 1974. It’s an interesting historical footnote given that the F-15EX is a two-seat airplane. Getting two-seaters in 1974 allowed pilots transitioning from the F-4 Phantom and other fighters/trainers to go aloft for the first time with an instructor. As the Eagle evolved, the back seat became the focus of added capability.

The first single-seat F-15A destined for a combat squadron was delivered in January 1976. Longer-ranged F-15C and D models (with greater internal fuel capacity) came along in 1979. The Eagle spent the next three decades as the U.S. Air Force’s primary air superiority fighter, officially amassing a combat record of 104 kills and zero losses. (However, the Iraqi Air Force MiG-25s claimed to have shot one down in 1991.)

Pause Icon

Image no longer available
An Air Refueling Squadron from Travis Air Force Base use a KC-10 Extender to refuel U.S. Air Force F-15 Eagles above Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, during Exercise Northern Edge 19, May 14, 2019. (Footage by U.S. Department of Defense/Milmotion via Getty Images)



So sturdy was its design, so powerful its engines (two Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-220s with a maximum 23,450 pounds-thrust each), so long-ranged its endurance (1,061 nautical miles), that in 1979, McDonnell-Douglas and radar manufacturer Hughes privately teamed up to develop a two-seat fighter-bomber version of the airplane that became the F-15E Strike Eagle.

Put simply: a line from the F-15A through E can be drawn to the F-15EX, but it’s not a straight line.

21st-Century Guts

f15ex in flight

An F-15EX from the 53d Wing takes off from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in support of Northern Edge 2021. NE21 is one in a series of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command exercises designed to sharpen the joint forces’ skills; to practice tactics, techniques, and procedures; to improve command, control and communication relationships; and to develop cooperative plans and programs.
(U.S. Air Force photo by 1st Lt Savanah Bray)

Boeing’s Novotny says it’s difficult to “strip away whether the F-15EX is a pivot off the A, C, or E models. The reality is they share so much original DNA.” The EX also evolved from other, newer F-15s like the F-15QA developed for the Qatar Emiri Air Force and the F-15SA built for Saudi Arabia.

The mix of ingredients that make up the F-15EX really goes back to 2013 when Boeing “completely gutted the airplane from the inside out,” Giese explains. Minor structural changes were made to accommodate more powerful General Electric F110-GE-129 engines with a maximum 29,500 pounds of thrust. A Full-Size Determinant Assembly production technique (which reduces build time by moving drilling to the component fabrication process) is used for the wings and the nose barrel.

A new digital backbone was designed for the F-15EX, including a fly-by-wire flight control system (FCS), a far more powerful Advanced Display Core Processor II mission computer, and more powerful electrical system. Nearly all of the F-15C/Ds avionics were updated in a fully digital all-glass cockpit, which includes a 10 x 19-inch large-area touch display (LAD) that’s fitted in both cockpits.

The large-area touch display can be custom configured by either the pilot or weapons officer to present an array of information, including inputs from the F-15EX’s AN/APG-82 active electronically-scanned array (AESA) radar and its Eagle Passive/Active Warning Survivability System (EPAWSS) electronic warfare suite.

This content is imported from Third party. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.

The former allows the F-15EX to “see further than any other fighter,” Giese says, while the latter can do “unique digital things that are creative, and produce effects the likes of which we’ve never seen before.”

While Boeing is tight-lipped about EPAWSS’ specific capabilities, it has been described as enabling “cognitive electronic warfare,” a kind of real-time identification of adversary waveforms, adapting and modifying them to use against the enemy. The Air Force’s Angry Kitten pod pioneered such capability. With EPAWSS, the F-15EX turns the fifth-gen fighter low observability equation on its head, Giese explains.

“Instead of being stealthy and managing a certain profile into a target area, we use badass power with the APG-82 and EPAWSS. In my opinion, that produces a battlespace effect that is greater for the rest of the airplanes [in a strike package] than one [stealth] asset,” he says.

Boeing’s Novotny agrees. “The EX has a fourth-generation outer mold line, but fifth- and sixth-generation sensors.”

Badass Power​

Power pervades every aspect of the Eagle II—sensor power, ordnance power, and the power of range. You just can’t overlook its engines, however. We asked Giese, Boeing’s chief F-15 pilot, how flying the F-15EX compared with flying the Raptors, F-16s, and other Eagles he’s flown, plus how it flies in formation with other fighters it has seen during evaluation at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida.

The jet flies much like a legacy F-15 but better, he says. Its digital flight control system was designed to make transitioning from an F-15C or Strike Eagle easy.

“Where the EX differentiates itself is the acceleration and power of the GE-129s. An informal drag race of an EX vs an E model at Eglin resulted in an easy win for the EX. When it comes to climb/turn performance, the powerful GE-129s again out-perform legacy engines. Also, addition of the g limiter and roll limiter make the jet extremely predictable, and protects the pilot and airframe.”

f15ex front view

The F-15EX, the Air Force’s newest fighter aircraft, arrives to Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, March 11, 2021.
(U.S. Air Force photo/Samuel King Jr.)

Single-engine fighters like the F-16 and F-35 can’t match the F-15EX’s power, Giese says. “I have flown countless formation flights with F-16 chase aircraft during development and other mission system flight tests. My chase F-16 ended up in a 20NM trail when I flew a high-speed Mach-2.3 flutter test point. We started out in close visual formation. I would expect similar results with an F-35.”

With a reported combat radius of 1,100 miles (the maximum distance a combat-loaded fighter can fly to and from a target without refueling), the F-15EX can go further than any other U.S. fighter—including the F-35 (670 miles). That’s a huge advantage in the Pacific, where the Air Force could face off against China over vast distances with limited aerial refueling availability.

Novotny recalls his longest mission in a legacy Eagle was a 13-hour dusk-to-lunchtime combat sortie on night one of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The F-15EX will surely be called upon similarly.

When that happens, it can carry virtually any aerial weapon in the U.S. arsenal on its nine wing pylons, from up to 14 AIM-120 AMRAAM and AIM-9X Sidewinder air-to-air missiles to a mix of small-diameter bombs, GBU-54 smart bombs, AGM-158 standoff cruise missiles, and Harpoon anti-ship missiles.

Pacific Air Forces commander, Gen. Wilsbach, told the media: “Some of the weapons that you can’t carry internally [on] a fifth-generation aircraft, you can put on the F-15EX.” Among those would be hypersonic missiles now in development, which the Eagle II can carry on its centerline pylon.

The two-seat EX logically lends itself well to Air Force “Battle Captain” concepts, wherein the crew works with the Collaborative Combat Aircraft (CCAs, loyal wingman drones) the service is eager to develop.

f15ex pilot

Maj. Kevin Hand, F-15EX operational and experimental test pilot with the Air National Guard-Air Force Reserve Test Center, prepares to taxi out for a mission from Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, October 20, 2021.
(U.S. Air Force photo by William R. Lewis)
An Eagle II with a pilot flying into advanced tactical scenarios and a backseater who can operate offboard drones or weapons could make early semi-autonomous CCAs practical, while still holding a digital leash to such unmanned teaming systems.

So versatile is the F-15EX that buying it in small numbers and largely confining it to a homeland defense mission (as the Air Force says it intends) makes no sense. It’s a natural deterrent against China, a new badass to compliment current fifth- and forthcoming sixth-generation fighters—all while upholding the Eagle tradition.

“The Eagle has remained that dominant over half a century,” Giese says. “Can you imagine a professional sports team with a record of 104 wins, zero losses?”

Damn, reading something like this just makes me wanting it more and more.
Even though hopping to much is a big mistake for Indonesian military enthusiasts. 🥲
 

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