Not content to watch a grizzled old warrior die on the vine, Boeing has put together a slick new video showcasing what they call the Advanced F-15 2040C Stealth Fighter. Based upon a standard F-15 Eagle airframe, “the F-15 2040C series of upgrades would extend the life of the fourth-generation F-15C air superiority fighter to complement the fifth-generation F-22 Raptor. The 2040 version would double to 16 the number of air-to-air missiles the fighter carries, extend its range and improve its lethality and survivability with upgraded electronics,” according to AIN Online.
“An F-15 2040C would also extend the fighter’s production line in St. Louis, which with 84 F-15SAs destined for Saudi Arabia has firm orders through 2019. Boeing previously offered a stealthy “Silent Eagle” version for South Korea’s F-X III fighter competition, but that country last year settled on the Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II for the requirement.
The package would incorporate the programmed radar upgrade of F-15C/Ds with the Raytheon APG-63(v)3 active electronically scanned radar and a new electronic warfare suite called EPAWSS, for the Eagle Passive/Active Warning and Survivability System. A proposed long-range infrared search and track sensor pod would complement the AESA radar. Boeing supplies conformal fuel tanks on the multi-role F-15E Strike Eagle; the 2040C upgrade would add them on the F-15C. The proposed weapons load increase would be accomplished by adding a Boeing-developed “quad pack” carriage system on two weapons stations. A communications and networking pod with advanced datalinks, now being demonstrated under the Air Force’s Talon HATE program, would enable the older F-15 to interact with the Raptor and other platforms.”
With other planes in the US military’s arsenal already being re-purposed to extend their life at a fraction of the cost of obtaining newer aircraft, there’s a good chance the F-15 2040C will survive any proposed budget cuts and remain a staple of the USAF well into the 21st century. Interestingly, Boeing is billing the F-15 2040C as a stealth fighter, so it will be curious to see how they plan to achieve this lofty aim considering all of the plane’s ordnance are slung externally thereby increasing the aircraft’s radar return signature.