US Air Force will receive new F-15E aircraft

US Air Force will receive new F-15E aircraft

According to Defense News, the US Air Force announced on April 15, 2024, that it will receive this summer its first F-15E Strike Eagles equipped with an advanced electronic warfare system, the Eagle Passive Active Warning Survivability System (EPAWSS). Developed by BAE Systems, this advanced electronic warfare technology will enhance eight F-15Es currently being upgraded at Boeing’s facility in San Antonio, Texas. Furthermore, EPAWSS will be a standard feature on the new F-15EX Eagle II fighters.

BAE Systems’ Eagle Passive Active Warning and Survivability System (EPAWSS) provides F-15 aircraft with integral solutions for radar warning, geolocation, situational awareness, and self-protection. These solutions enable the detection and neutralization of air and ground threats in dense and highly contested signal environments. Equipped with advanced radio-frequency electronic countermeasures, EPAWSS enables increased penetration against modern integrated air defense systems, while offering rapid response capabilities and total crew protection. This upgrade marks an important step in the Air Force’s effort to modernize its fleet of fourth-generation aircraft and prepare them for potential conflict against advanced adversaries such as China.

This all-digital system is more compact and lighter than previous electronic warfare systems used on the F-15. It is designed to be flexible, with provisions for the addition of new capabilities and future scalability, while reducing life-cycle costs through improved reliability, maintainability, and extended service life. The EPAWSS offers a 360-degree view of the battlefield and enhances situational awareness with its advanced radar detection and geolocation capabilities, ensuring mission success even in signal-saturated environments. It is also interoperable with active electronically scanned radars and integrates an AN/ALE-47 countermeasure distribution system.

Work on installing the EPAWSS began in July 2022, and BAE was also awarded a contract in September 2022 to produce a second batch of these systems for the new F-15EXs and up to 43 F-15Es already in service. BAE recently announced that the EPAWSS has completed its initial phase of operational testing and evaluation.

Final reports from this test phase, produced by the Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center and the Pentagon’s Office of the Director, Operational Test and Evaluation, are due by the end of June. The technical development and production phase of EPAWSS is nearing completion, and the Air Force expects delivery of the final hardware modules by the end of the current fiscal year.

The F-15 Eagle, originally designed by McDonnell Douglas and now manufactured by Boeing, is widely recognized as a significant aircraft in the realm of air superiority fighters. With its twin-engine configuration, advanced avionics, and notable maneuverability, it has established a solid reputation in aerial combat. Since its introduction in the early 1970s, the F-15 has maintained a notable presence in the skies, achieving a noteworthy record of over 100 victories without any recorded losses in air-to-air combat.

This aircraft is acknowledged for its notable speed, capable of reaching Mach 2.5 at high altitudes, and its impressive range, allowing it to travel over 3,000 miles without the need for refueling. Equipped with a diverse arsenal including air-to-air missiles, air-to-ground munitions, and a 20mm cannon, the F-15 offers versatility to fulfill a range of mission objectives.

The United States Air Force has employed the F-15 since 1976, deploying various versions tailored to distinct roles such as air superiority, reconnaissance, and strike missions. The USAF has an approximate number of 218 F-15E aircraft in active service, with more than 100 on order.

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