More F-35s Or New, Old F-15s?

A conceptual rendering from Boeing of the F-15 C2040. Boeing

Breaking Defense: Mitchell Weighs In: More F-35s or New, Old F-15s?

Fifth gen or fourth gen? F-35A or F-15X. Stealth, sensors and fusion or lots of missiles? Lockheed or Boeing? See what the Mitchell Institute says.

The Air Force needs to buy more new fighter planes. The constricted size and increasing age of the Air Force’s fighter inventory is the product of long-standing deferred investment; the 2009 decision to prematurely curtail the F-22 buy at less than half its required inventory; failure to boost F-35 production to originally planned rates; and the fact that 234 of 1970’s era F-15Cs will be hitting the end of their service lives in the next decade. Maintaining the current fighter inventory size demands that the Air Force buy at least 72 fighters per year into the 2020s. Failure to meet this requirement is not an option given the burgeoning global threat environment. With the fiscal year 2020 defense budget set for release next month, Congress will prove critical in charting a prudent path forward.

On one side of the debate, the Air Force could boost the production rate of its newest fifth-generation F-35 fighter—an aircraft imbued with stealth and information gathering, processing, and sharing capabilities that allow it to effectively execute its missions in modern threat environments and return home safely.

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WNU Editor: F-35 supporters are not happy that Boeing's F-15X may purchased in significant numbers .... Buying new F-15X fighters for the US Air Force is unsolicited and unwise (Gen. John Michael Loh (ret.)).

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