USAF Planning F-15C Multi-Role Upgrades
Back in January 2006, DID covered Israel’s second upgrade program for its F-15 A-D fleet, aimed at making them more versatile multi-role aircraft. At the time, DID noted that the Israeli efforts were a possible model for similar American efforts, as the USAF tries to keep its fighter fleet at an acceptable strength despite the high procurement costs for its new F-22s and F-35s.
David Axe’s recent F-22 series led me to his April 20, 2006 article which said that such an upgrade program is indeed being prepared. The USAF is readying a modernization roadmap for its single-seat F-15C Eagle air superiority fighters, and conversion to multi-role status is part of that roadmap. Improved radars, like the AESA AN/APG-63v3 could also correct a known air-air weakness, one that’s particularly dangerous against aircraft like Russia’s SU-30 family. Up to 200 F-15Cs may eventually be involved.
UPDATE: See “F-15s Looking for the AESA Edge” for updates related to the addition of multi-role AESA radars. Note that additional enhancements will be required to make the F-15C a truly multi-role aircraft.