Boeing has proposed a series if upgrades to the F-15C to supplement the small numbers of F-22’s and extend the production line once their order for Saudi Arabia is completed by the end of 2019.
Apart from all the systems improvements what is striking is the new pylons that allow it to carry 16 missiles.
In April this year Dr John Stillion from the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments published a widely read report called Trends in Air Combat – Implications for Future Air Superiority
In this study, Dr. John Stillion conducts a historical analysis of air-to-air combat, drawing on a database of over 1,450 air-to-air victories from multiple conflicts from 1965 to the present. Using this data, Stillion assesses how advances in sensor, weapons, and communication technologies have changed air combat and the implications of these trends for future combat aircraft designs and operational concepts. Stillion concludes that these advances may have fundamentally transformed the nature of air combat. This transformation may be steadily reducing the utility of some attributes traditionally associated with fighter aircraft (e.g., extreme speed and maneuverability) while increasing the value of attributes not usually associated with fighter aircraft (e.g., sensor and weapon payload as well as range). As a result, an effective sixth-generation “fighter” may look similar to a future “bomber” and may even be a modified version of a bomber airframe or the same aircraft with its payload optimized for the air-to-air mission, Stillion argues. If this is correct, then the United States may be in a position to save tens of billions of dollars in nonrecurring development costs by combining Air Force and Navy future fighter development programs with each service’s long range ISR/strike programs.
Click here to read the report in full.
Whilst not the long range fighter-bomber he proposes, the increase in missile payload seems like at least a nod to the conclusions of the report, the need for a larger number of missiles than currently carried in order to combat increasingly advanced and likely numerically superior enemies.
Which brings me to this story from May, the Typhoon Common Weapons Launcher.
Although it seems to be mainly for ground-to-air weapons like Paveway IV and Brimstone 2, wonder if it could be used for carrying the extremely potent and long ranged Meteor?
With three on each pylon and four in the normal fuselage positions, a Typhoon could carry 22 missiles.
Do we have that many!