Posts Tagged ‘boeing f-15’
The United States signed a $29.4 billion deal to provide F-15 fighter jets to Saudi Arabia in a move likely to be seen as part of efforts to counter Iran. The deal will supply 84 new Boeing F-15SA aircraft and modernize 70 existing planes and include munitions, spare parts, training and maintenance contracts, White House deputy spokesman Josh Earnest said.
“This agreement reinforces the strong and enduring relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia, and demonstrates the US commitment to a strong Saudi defence capability as a key component to regional security,” Earnest said. He quoted unidentified experts as saying that the deal would support more than 50,000 American jobs, at a time of high unemployment, and provide $3.5 billion in annual impact to the US economy.
The deal was announced formally as President Barack Obama vacationed in his native state of Hawaii, but had been first unveiled as far back as October 2010 as part of a $60 billion US arms sale to Saudi Arabia. The delivery of the package would unfold over 15 to 20 years and also includes Apache attack helicopters and Black Hawk choppers, defense officials said.
Thursday’s announcement came at a time when tensions between Iran and the United States and its Gulf allies are rising, partly due to Tehran’s nuclear drive. Iran has rejected a warning that the US military would not tolerate an attempt by Tehran to close the strategic Strait of Hormuz to tankers in a move that would threaten deep disruption to global oil supplies.
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The 120th Fighter Wing of the Montana Air National Guard will extend its current air combat alert mission at Joint Base Pearl-Hickam, Hawaii until September 2012.
The extension is a result of a recent decision to leave the F-15 mission at MANG longer than originally anticipated. MANG is performing the 24-hour alert mission in Hawaii while that base converts from the F-15 to the newer, more high-tech F-22 Raptor. Approximately 30 pilots, maintainers and logistics personnel, in addition to six F-15s, from MANG have been deployed to Hawaii since August of last year. They were originally scheduled to return in January 2012.
When the personnel were fist deployed, a MANG spokesman said many of those making the trip had sold their homes or rented them out in anticipation of a long deployment.
An alert-status mission means the F-15s must be ready 24 hours a day, seven days a week to fly at a moment’s notice if an aircraft is in trouble or an unidentified plane enters restricted airspace or acts erratically, according to MANG officials.
An IAF F-15 fighter jet was forced to make an emergency landing on Thursday after one of its engines caught fire during a routine training flight. Initial details suggest the F-15′s engine caught fire due to a bird-strike. The jet landed safely at the Tel Nof Air Base. The pilots were unharmed.
A military source confirmed the incident, adding: “Around 11:20am, an F-15 on a training flight was hit by a bird. The pilot and copilot followed procedure and immediately aborted the flight landing safely.
“The jet is currently undergoing a mechanical and technical inspection to determine whether it sustained any damage.”
Bird strikes, or BASH (Bird Aircraft Strike Hazard) are considered a significant threat to both civilian and military flight safety. In most cases, a bird hits the windscreen or flies into the engines, causing them to fail.
Luckily the majority of BASH incident do not cause human fatalities.
There are rumblings that the Boeing F-15 deal with Saudi Arabia is delayed. There are also speculation the Saudis are upset with President Obama’s support of Arab Spring demonstrations or his opposition to Palestine becoming a state through U.N. approval.
“We hear the same rumblings, but to narrow it down or be able to pinpoint it, we’re up in the air about that right now. We don’t know,” said Aerospace Machinists president Gordon King.
“They are keeping it pretty close chested of what the reasons might be”
King feels the Saudis are still interested with the F-15s, but admits there has been a hold-up in the transfer of money.
Lt. Col. Wes “Pappy” French, a Kingsley Field instructor pilot, passed a significant flying milestone this summer. On June 8, the 45-year-old fighter jet pilot logged his 3,000th hour flying the F-15, becoming the third active Kingsley pilot to reach the mark.
If you do the math, that’s 125 days spent roaming the skies in the tight cockpit of the air-to-air fighter jet.But that doesn’t take into consideration the countless hours French and about 25 other instructor pilots at Kingsley spend preparing to the fly the $30 million machines.
“Every milestone has been a proud moment, but to me the more important part is that every hour I’m up there I’m providing good training for the guys I’m working with,” said French, a member of the Oregon Air National Guard’s 173rd Fighter Wing.
Instructor pilots at Kingsley fly about four days a week, logging five to six hours in the air over that time period. Kingsley trains pilots to fly the F-15 and is the base to train pilots on the F-15C, a single-seat version of the fighter jet.
“We take a guy that is straight out of pilot school and train him for about six months to make the F-15 a fighting machine,” French said. “It’s very tough for them.”
Source: Herald and News
Boeing delivered three F-15K Slam Eagle aircraft to the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) at Daegu Air Base on Aug. 20.
“We are pleased to receive the latest three F-15K Slam Eagles, F-15K 51, 52 and 53, from Boeing,” said Lt. Col. Tae Uk Kim, Commander of the 110th Squadron, 11th Fighter Wing, ROKAF.
The aircraft left the Boeing St. Louis facility on Aug. 16 and made stops in Palmdale, Calif., Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, and Anderson Air Force Base, Guam, before arriving in Korea.
Boeing delivered the first six of 21 F-15Ks it is producing under the Next Fighter II contract in 2010, followed by two in April and two more in May. The remaining eight aircraft will be delivered through April 2012.
“Our long-term cooperative relationship enables Boeing and Korean industry to ensure the ROKAF continues to fly a superior multi-role aircraft in defense of Korea,” said Roger Besancenez, Boeing F-15 Program vice president.
The F-15K is an advanced variant of the combat-proven F-15E. Equipped with the latest technological upgrades, it is extremely capable, survivable and maintainable. The aircraft’s service life is planned through 2040, with technology insertions and upgrades throughout its life cycle.
When Oroville trucker Brian Walker’s was sent him to Virginia a couple of weeks ago to haul back wings of an F-15 fighter jet from Langley Air Force Base in Virginia to Chico.
“He didn’t tell me what kind of wings,” said Walker in an interview Friday in Oroville. “He just told me airplane wings. I had no idea it was an F-15 jet.”
Walker drove one of two farm semis carrying the wings, nose, burn cans and a huge green box filled with parts and panels to put the F-15 back together.
Although they were ready to roll July 22, the group had to wait because they couldn’t travel during the weekend through the Virginia city of Hampton, where Langley’s located. The group finally left around the base around 2 p.m. EDT July 25, but they only traveled about 240 miles the first day, partly due to permits.
The trip became known as the Freedom Eagle project and took five days through eight states. They arrived in Chico July 31.Walker said the best part of the trip was seeing the reactions of people along the way. Some motorists whizzed past and slowed down once they realized what he was hauling, or they would ride up beside Walker’s truck and make gestures or point.
The F-15 aircraft also drew people when the truckers stopped. At times, the convoy was able to stop at empty parking lots, but within minutes, the lots would have 15 or more cars “with people taking pictures, talking to us, and wanting their pictures taken with (the plane).”
“It was an experience I will never forget,” Walker said somberly. “It’s an honor that I got to do it.”
Boeing could continue manufacturing variants of its F-15 Eagle — a fighter first flown in 1972 — all the way until the 2020s, the president of its military aircraft division confirmed Tuesday.
If Boeing can lock in deals with the air forces of Saudi Arabia and South Korea, it could make new investments “for the long term,” Chris Chadwick told reporters, to make its Eagles or Silent Eagles as cheap and easy to produce as they’ve ever been.
At stake are a total of about 144 aircraft — the potential for around 84 for the Saudis and some 60 for the South Koreans — and Chadwick said Boeing is making a pitch very similar to the one it makes for its F/A-18 Super Hornet: The Eagle may not be the newest bird in the sky, but customers can get a familiar fighter for predictable costs, and both the Saudis and the South Koreans will get the convenience of commonality with their existing, older fleets of F-15s.
Boeing is at war with Lockheed over the South Korean fighter deal, but it could have the edge with the Saudis, who are said to like the Silent Eagle. Chadwick said he had no information about that, but he did say the discussions he’s seen between the Saudis and the U.S. government, which would be the go-between on a sale, “have been very positive.”
So does that mean that Boeing could sell Eagles to the U.S. Air Force? If it asked for them, sure, Chadwick said, but he acknowledged the Air Force is locked in to the F-35 and he didn’t expect more American sales of F-15s. However, he said there is the possibility that the Air National Guard may want to replace some of its F-15s, but it hasn’t asked for any new jets yet.
The U.S. Air Force has terminated funding for an infrared search and track (IRST) upgrade for its F-15C/D fleet as part of the service’s push last year to produce savings for the Pentagon’s fiscal 2012 budget.
Air Force officials say that the effort was designed to provide “the only USAF search and targeting capability in the infrared spectrum designed specifically for air-to-air, providing air-to-air attack capability in a radar-denied environment on the F-15C/D.”
The system could be useful for air-to-air fighter engagements as well as cruise missile targeting and ballistic missile early warning. Lockheed Martin provides the sensor for the pod.
However, the service opted to remove research and development funding for the program in fiscal 2012 and beyond, according to Air Force officials. In the budget, they propose pulling $34.9 million in fiscal 2012 and a total of $345 million across the future year defense plan (including 2012).
Boeing, which is the prime contractor for the F-15, says that it continues to work with the Air Force to “explore options” for the program.
Air Force officials cite “technical challenges” with the F-15 version as their rationale.
Navy officials, however, say that the effort is proceeding as planned.
“The Navy’s F/A-18 IRST program is meeting program cost and schedule requirements,” says Marcia Hart-Wise, a spokeswoman for the service’s Super Hornet program.
The Navy version is ahead of that planned for the F-15 in its programmatic schedule.
Because the Navy’s deliveries of F-35s come later than the Air Force’s and because its fleet of Super Hornets must remain operationally relevant longer than some Air Force legacy fighters, the service is spending money on its F/A-18E/Fs to keep them in the fight. One industry official notes that the use of an IRST is required because radars run the risk of being jammed at critical moments. The Navy is still buying Super Hornets and plans to buy an additional 41 aircraft owing to delays in the F-35 schedule.
Next month, the US Air Force is scheduled to validate a strategy that – if funded – could lead to the rapid development and fielding of hundreds of jets, replacing the aging supersonic Northrop T-38C Talon with a new advanced “T-X” trainer optimized to support fifth-generation fighters.
The scheduled meeting of the air force requirements oversight council in March is coincidentally timed near the 50th anniversary of the T-38′s entry into service. The T-38 was introduced at a time when the USAF needed a lead-in trainer to support the third generation of fighter jets – namely, the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II – and remained relevant with the arrival in the 1970s of the Boeing F-15 and Lockheed Martin F-16.
“The T-38 is a classic airplane and its function that it’s performed in air training has been absolutely phenomenal,” says Brig Gen Chris Nowland, director of planes, programmes, requirements and assessments for the Air Education and Training Command (AETC).
“It was designed for 7,000 flight hours. The average in the fleet is 15,000h,” Nowland explains. “When you think about how many landings … Clearly, there are sustainment pressures on keeping the airframe going.”
With the advent of an operational, fifth-generation fighter force in 2005, however, even a modernised T-38C fleet began showing its age. Before climbing into the cockpit of an F-22, USAF pilots must train in the F-16, even after learning basic skills in the T-38C.
Fielding a modern replacement should allow aspiring F-22 (and, soon, F-35) pilots to move directly from the T-X aircraft and simulator into a fifth-generation fighter. But it is not just about the fifth-generation fighters, says Nowland, who started flying F-15Cs in the early 1990s.
“The F-15C has new radars, helmet-mounted sight, AIM-9X and fighter data link,” he says. “That’s a fundamentally different airplane than when I started flying it.”