BAE Adds F-15, F/A-18 to Fighter Upgrade Push

BAE Adds F-15, F/A-18 to Fighter Upgrade Push

After landing contracts to upgrade F-16 fighter jets overseas, BAE Systems Plc is now looking to do the same with F-15 and F/A-18 aircraft, according to a news report.

The London-based defense contractor returned to the Singapore air show this week after a several-year absence in part to encourage the government there to hold a competition to upgrade its fleet of F-16s made by Lockheed Martin Corp., according to an article by Andrew Chuter of Defense News.

John Bean, vice president of global fighter programs at BAE’s U.S. subsidiary, also said the company is seeking international opportunities to upgrade Boeing Co.-made fleets of F-15s, possibly in Singapore and Japan, and F/A-18s, according to the report. The firm has already upgraded 50 of Turkey’s F-16s and has begun work on a deal to refurbish about 130 of South Korea’s jets.

“It’s easy to take what we are doing because the F-16 is the smallest of the aircraft, so once we have a packaging that works for the Lockheed Martin aircraft, it’s pretty straightforward to make it work for the F-15 and F/A-18,” he told the publication, referring to common radar and targeting pods the company has installed.

Besides the U.S., the governments of Israel, Japan, South Korea, Saudi Arabia and Singapore fly versions of the F-15 Eagle, and those of Australia, Canada, Finland, Kuwait, Malaysia, Spain and Switzerland operate variants of the F/A-18 Hornet.

The international market for upgrading the twin-engine jets won’t be as large as that of the single-engine F-16 Fighting Falcon, which Bean estimated at about $6 billion and 850 aircraft, according to the article.

Upgrading fourth-generation fighters is cheaper than buying new fifth-generation aircraft such as F-22 Raptors and F-35 Lightning IIs, and thus may be more attractive to cash-strapped governments during an era of tightening defense budgets. This was the argument Bean made at last year’s Paris air show. “Defense budgets around the world are shrinking,” he said at the time. “Many customers are looking for an affordable alternative.”

Yet evolving security threats may prove more convincing to certain governments than fiscal challenges.

South Korea last year scrapped plans to buy Boeing’s newly upgraded F-15SE in a potential $7.7 billion, 60-aircraft deal. While the firm’s offer was cheaper than competing bids from Airbus SAS for the Eurofighter Typhoon and from Lockheed for the F-35, the government decided it wanted a stealthier aircraft amid provocations by North Korea.

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If we had any brains we would dump Lockheed junk plane, upgrade our existing fleet, and look for a better, more AFFORDABLE, successor to out fourth generation aircraft.

Hell, why stop there? I’ll bet there are some WW2 airplanes in the desert somewhere that could be refurbished and flown again. With the right avionics, those bad boys would be good to go.

Shoot , Lets go even further and ask our enemy they cannot spent any money on fifth generation fighters cause their country cant afford it and it will tip balance in their favor. and also because they have so many cheap fighters available that can be modify to beat the USA.

Stop. You’re making too much sense.

How long do you think that would that take? How are you going to get Congress to fund two fighter programs? Do you think Russia and China aren’t going to continue their aircraft programs while we re-develop a 5th generation fighter? And despite all of the work already done you’re going to throw our only chance at a successor to the Harrier? Congress isn’t going to fund a separate STOVL fighter.

Use the same approach that their using to build the new bomber. Don’t try to build the ultimate airplane, that’s a testbed for a smorgasbord of untested technology. The Chinese and Russians are building aircraft that don’t push the limits so far that it breaks the bank. When the Chinese get their industrial capacity going God help us, because our paltry force of super jets is going to get smoked by the pure numbers of their good enough aircraft.

And you think it’s better to go f-35 all along just because you need a replacement for the Harrier? This is madness. Or better still, because allied have invested billions in this program? As true as these statement are, both act as a smokescreen for a fundamentally flawed program.

Why is that program can’t handle a major restructuring to the point where everything around has to be destroyed to save it? This *is* a fundamental problem.

There is a preview of a cbs video due for Sunday. As much as I respect Bogdan, this “we are not gonna pay for it” is a quite flagrant PR campaign that mix perfectly with Hostage “I will fight to death to protect the f-35″. At least they have an honest position.

Oh and I forget, did the Harrier had 280 volts wire side to side with 27 volts wires, on the same harness? You can add that one to the list of the great technological improvement, unmatched by the competition.

The Marines bought a whole bunch of harriers from the British. The parts will tide them over for a while.

That doesn’t make them any younger. They bought spare parts maybe?

Upgrade legacy fleet. Cancel F-35 and begin separate fighter replacement programs for USAF, USN and USMC, harvesting lessons learned from development of F-22, F-35 and what we’ve learned about what the Russians and Chinese are doing. F-35B is a joke and F-35C is unwanted. Canceling F-35 would show some real testicular fortitude at the WH.

They’re unlikely to take on the United States anytime soon, so they don’t see the need to pick up –35’s. Wisely, they will wait for us to bring the cost down before jumping in. And if we fail to bring the cost down, then the export market soldiers on a little longer.

Cant believe we have to upgrade our new jets all the time.Letsa get on the ball and put in more squadrens of.…. we need to stay on top gear,not selor hire..

Forget BAE and F-16’s, I want to hear what EuroJet can do to re-engine the F-35! LOL!
Seriously, it would seem like an increase in thrust for the F-135 would help the F-35 regain a good bit of ground that it has lost in the past 5 years from the projected performance parameters. Maybe having EuroJet submitting a proposal would light a fire somewhere…

The f135 appear to have more than enough thrust, during testing it produced over 50,000 lbf of thrust. Even the latest DOTE report showed no major problem.

Its problem is that it’s way to expensive, and it’s something that competition can address. AFAIK it still over 2 times more expensive than supposed.

And quite frankly for now the f-35 got all the problem on earth but few are related to the engine; a different engine won’t change much, except for saving a few millions. That won’t stop the coating from peeling off, that won’t solve the jitter, that won’t solve its inability to know where it is without the gps nor where the exact coordinate of the enemy because something somewhere (in the software?) in the radar system does not work as expected.

My bad, I was originally about to talk about those submarines that Canada bought from the brits but after reading the report on the incident (one of those sub had to be towed from England to Canada) the brits had made an honest sale.

Seriously, while the harrier has a charm of its own it’s really getting old. You can get all the spare parts you want but at the end of the day it will require a lot of long, extensive and expensive maintenance. I am everything except a fan of the f-35, I would love to see alternate programs to grow on its hash but I am realistic; it’s really too late to burn everything. IMNSHO the most logical step to do right now is to find a way to significantly scale it down but the pentagon does not seem to agree with me on this.

Worth mentioning that for addressing a growing problem in the 70s of software growing in complexity (there were hundreds of programming language used) and with concern that only the manufacturer could ever perform subsequent upgrades, which would put benefits of competition in jeopardy.

Since no programming languages were really suited for the task, they invented Ada. And then came the Ada law, although there have been lots of exception. Unfortunately for everyone, the AJPO called it a victory in 1998 and closed the doors. I don’t know which programming language they used for the f-15, f-16 and f/a-18 but their concern have paid off. BAE, a company from UK is able to offer upgrades for the f-16 for significantly less than the manufacturer. Beautiful.

And now there is the f-35 that apparently re-use the ada code from the f-22 and added some C++ code on top of it (Ada got predefined interface to work with different programming language). The whole process have been done so carelessly that the pentagon had to hire a team of lawyer to work out the legal status of its software. And I wonder why it may not work so well for future platform.

William used to work for Lockheed believe him when he says there is no alternative to failure — at least if you involve Lockheed.

would still perform better than F-35s with 15 minutes between major system failures.

Upgraded fourth generation aircraft will clearly outperform Lockheed fifth generation rubbish. Then the trick is to avoid any fight involving 5th generation Chinese and Russian aircraft.

Michael, I was joking around but an increase in thrust would allow the F-35 to meet the old acceleration standard that was thrown out when they realized it simply wasn’t going to be able to accelerate as fast as they had claimed it would.
And whether it is the helmet, the coating or the tail hook, I think most of the issues will be solved within a year or two, but the F-35 will still be a bit slow wrt to accelerate, and though its cost will come down a good bit when the production rate goes up, I agree, it will still be more expensive than it should be.

On second thought, I would add, it really goes to show just how porky the F-35 is, given the F-135 is currently producing 43,000 lbf of thrust and it didn’t meet the acceleration criteria while the F-16’s F-100 and F-110 produce less than 30,000 lbf of thrust and have no problem meeting them. Apples to oranges, or perhaps, oranges to grapefruit would be a more appropriate comparison, with regards to size at least.

As the Marine Corps Times put it:
_ The F-35 Lightning II’s transonic acceleration may not meet the requirements originally set forth for the program, a top Lockheed Martin official said.

“Based on the original spec, all three of the airplanes are challenged by that spec,” said Tom Burbage, Lockheed’s program manager for the F-35. “The cross-sectional area of the airplane with the internal weapons bays is quite a bit bigger than the airplanes we’re replacing.”

The sharp rise in wave drag at speeds between Mach 0.8 and Mach 1.2 is one of the most challenging areas for engineers to conquer. _

One point, though, is that the F-16 did its accel test clean, no weapons. The F-35 would be able to carry weapons internally with much less of an impact on the accel numbers.

Sure, because the next program is always better than the last program, right?

Could it be any worse? Development cost doubled, production costs have doubled if not more, sustainment costs have doubled, and this was supposed to be the affordable fighter. These dramatic costs increases will result in major reductions in numbers assuming the program keeps plodding along. Nobody wants to say this because then the costs will look even worse than they already do.

Anyway, the Air Force NEEDS to start and F-22 replacement. The sooner F-35 development ends the sooner F-22 replacement can begin.

You just nailed it While the USAF is supposed to be upgrading the F-15C with new Helmet targeting system. The Brass keep wasting BILLIONS on the failing JSF we need to upgrade keep the current fleet unlike the JSF this fleet works and is still better than any enemy fleet in the world.

The author mentioned the F-22 sorry to say they cant do much with it production is halted years ago and since I think its now dead the brass want the inferior JSF instead due to Obama’s push to kill the Bush eras Air Superiority Fighter. I think we need to scrap the JSF upgrade the F-15Cs and now maybe upgrade the existing F-22s. I think a two heavy fighter combo works and can keep us safe for over the next ten years. F-15C is still undefeated in combat by any Chinese or Russian design. This approach worked for England hence I say Hurricane and Spitfire anyone.

And how far along is this new bomber? Being something of a black project we don’t really know, which makes it really hard to compare the two programs.

Also many of those “off-the-shelf” technologies planned to be leveraged for the new bomber were developed as part of the JSF program.

Did I used to work for Lockheed? Amazing how you know all of these facts about my career history that I didn’t even know! How much was I making there? Did I party with lobbyists and CEOs in Washington?

Development costs have greatly increased due to a lot of problems that have had to be corrected in the course of designing the aircraft, but production costs are a matter no two accountants can seem to agree on. It will never match the ancient 1995 estimates (a Block 60 F-16 costs more than that) but this has been known for a very long time. Sustainment costs are another factor nobody can agree on at the moment, although it is a historical fact that larger aircraft typically costs more to maintain and operate than smaller ones, so beating the F-16 was always quite the challenge. Also the F-35 is carrying internal sensors and ECM equipment that the F-16 would only be able to carry on a pod. Those have costs too but typically aren’t included as part of the aircraft lugging them around.

“Could it be any worse?” What rock have you been living under? Name one recent program IN PRODUCTION that was better than the program it replaced.

Not so much as upgrade every F-15C in USAF inventory, but start retiring the oldest and/or most stressed airframes first and replace them with new-build aircraft.
The capabilities of the newest South Korean, Singapore, and Saudi Eagles surpasses the current crop of F-15Cs and most of the USAF’s E-model Eagles (when were the last new-build –C and –E model Eagles delivered to the USAF?).
Same can be said for foreign customers’ Block 60+ F-16s compared to the USAF’s current crop.
The foreign customer base has kept new-production F-15s and F-16s at a favorable cost.
In the F-15’s case, Boeing may be more preferably pushing the F/A-18, which has little place in the USAF (cost of integrating new logistic footprint is prohibitive, and carrier gear isn’t needed).
As for the F-16, I seriously suspect that, to recompense from F-35 money lost, LM would disgustingly inflate the cost of new-build F-16s for a USAF buy.

Do you really want to hurt Lockheed? Cancel the F-35 and let the US Air Force design and develop the F-23. They can contract out building the airplane to any company that’s interested in actually producing aircraft.

What’s wrong with the good old p 38’s?

TRUE! The F-35 would have been good approximately 10 –20 yrs ago, but I don’t think it can hang against Mig 29s in a dogfight, and the potential of encountering Su 27s! Upgrade the F-15s to fighter bombers, concentrate on building F-22s for front line air dominance, and keep upgraded F/A –18s and F-16s for second line work.

“Obama?” Obama?” is that the end all be all to everything wrong with our nation? Right now we don’t face a legit threat, so building more expensive fighters when we have PLENTY of F-15s/F-16s/F/A-18s that can handle pretty much everything in the air is a WASTE. If the Obama admin. continued to spend on F-22s, the right would sit around and claim he was WRONG for wasting the money. when he halts an expensive system, he’s still wrong…Bizarro world, plane and simple…

The F-23 is the plane which should have replaced the F-15!

Nothing wrong with P-38s( except we aren’t facing zeros, me 262s, and FW 190s anymore.…) Thne again, the Taliban doesn’t have even a usable me 109, so I guess flying a WW2 era platform would still give us the advantage…

I believe there’s some confusion in this discussion. Don’t we really have two types of combat aircraft?

The front line fighters, like the F-22 and F part of the F/A-18 go one-on-one with their foreign counterparts in the first wave (sweep the skies) role. While the attack aircraft, like the F-35 do the ground attack secondary mission (but with the full ability to defend themselves in an air-to-air situation). So many comparisons of their combat fighter versus an F-35 attack aircraft is not an apples-to-apples comparison?

I doubt that we’ll need to worry about all these issues much longer. The Iranians are the ones we should really be worried about. They’re very close to being able to destroy our internal electrical grid.

How will they do this? By combining an EMP attack with 5th column assaults on our power generation systems. They are very close to having the ability to do this. They’re already in possession of a launch module that can be placed within a container on any vessel or railroad car. The North Koreans are helping them develop an ICBM.


Either the picture doesn’t match the article, or BAE has no idea what stealth is. The viper has an orange tail!

But the F35 is not touted by the maker or the lobbyists as an Attack aircraft, in which it is too vulnerable to hits anyway, it is touted as a “Multirole” fighter. One Size Fits None by any other name is still One Size Fits None.

scrap the F-35 the technology is already stolen by the Chinese the Lockheed trolls don’t
need to go back to WWII aircraft they can ask the Chinese to send us some J-20’s.
We have not learned from WWII have we the Luftwaffe may have had the –262
and –163 but swarms of Mustangs and Spitfires took care of them. Overeliance on
high tech is our downfall. The F-15s as somebody said need a upgrade badly
and F-18s for the USN and new tech jamming and laser tech to take care of
S-300, S-400. Stealth tech is not new just as the ‘Horten Brothers’. Somebody
said bring the F-23 and upgrade it– great idea as well. About time somebody
asked Bodgan where all the money has gone and Lockheed to be put into

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