The F-15EX Eagle II is now competing with the French Dassault Rafale to become the new air superiority aircraft of the Indonesian Air Force.
A Fierce Competition
The Indonesian military is looking for a new heavy or medium fighter jet. In addition to the F-15EX and Dassault Rafale, the Indonesians were considering the Russian Sukhoi Su-35, and even as far as to declare official interest in the Russian fighter jet. In the end, however, the Russian aircraft was removed from the competition, leaving the American and French fighter jets to fly it off.
Southeast Asian country is looking for two to three squadrons of aircraft, which would translate into between 48 to 72 aircraft.
As an improved and updated version of the arguably best air superiority fighter jets of its era, the F-15EX enters the market with great promise and self-assurance.
As of today, the different variants of the F-15 have scored 104 air-to-air kills without losing even one aircraft to an opponent. Although the Israeli Air Force is responsible for most of these kills, other air forces have used the aircraft in air-to-air combat with success too.
Should Indonesia pick the F-15EX Eagle II, it will be choosing a fighter jet that is based on the U.S. Air Force’s backbone aircraft. Since 1974, the U.S military has been flying the many different variants of the F-15; currently, the Air Force can field approximately 450 F-15s of all variants.
In addition to the U.S. and Israeli, Saudi Arabia, Japan and Qatar operate the F-15.
The F-15EX: A Bridge Between Two Worlds
The F-15EX is intended to bridge the 4th and 5th generation fight jet worlds.
The aircraft comes with an improved cockpit, electronic warfare sensors, and data fusion capabilities. These updates mean that the 4,5 generation aircraft can operate effectively and survive in a 5th generation battlespace.
Further, with a top speed of 2.5 Mach, the F-15EX will be the fastest jet in the U.S. Air Force fleet. The F-15EX has an operating ceiling of 70,000 feet and an effective range of about 1,300 miles.
Although Boeing hasn’t disclosed the exact payload capacity (should be around 30,000lbs or the number of hard points and internal weapon bays of the F-15EX, the previous latest version of the aircraft, the F-15 Advanced Eagle, can pack quite a punch.
In an escort modification, the aircraft can carry an impressive 16 AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAMs), four AIM-9X Sidewinder heat-seeking short-range air-to-air missiles; and two AGM-88 air-to-surface High-Speed Anti-Radiation Missiles (HARMs) in 11 hard points under the wings.
In a precision strike package, the aircraft can carry 16 Small-Diameter Bombs (SDBs), four AIM-120 AMRAAMs, two AGM-88 HARMs, one 2,000lbs Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM, and two fuel drop tanks.
Now 1945s National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a defense journalist and military expert specializing in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate.