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Was the F-15 the best choice for Japan?

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    Was the F-15 the best choice for Japan?

    it seems the Tornado, F-14 and F-18 competed for it in the 80s. In retrospect was the F-15 the best choice among these 4?



    #2
    Yes. All those other airplanes have either been retired or in the process of being replaced. the F-15 will soldier on for some time.

    Granted, I don't think their F-15s is as well suited for maritime strike as some of the other choices, but I believe Japan already had dedicated maritime strikers.
    F-14 and the Tornado probably would have been more expensive to operate

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      #3
      I would say, "yes". They have no carrier, so the other two seem pointless. Very interested in this F-22/35 hybrid they've been offered though.
      Last edited by St. John; 21st April 2018, 10:56.

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        #4
        Totally. The JASDF became the largest operator of the type outside of the U.S. MHI manufactured over 150 examples. F-4/F-1 took the ground attack role that the F-15 could not fulfill. Maybe cost was the reason they chose to pursue the development of the F-2 over the idea of acquiring an "F-15EJ" derivative. From what I read, the F-2's cost went way over planned figures. The USSR was basing MiG-25s right next door at the time. When the decision to buy the F-15 was made, Lt. Belenko had yet to make his famous flight.

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          #5
          The Japanese were wise to go F-15J followed by additional development. I wouldn't doubt that their stealth is a development of F-15 going on the basic layout of their demonstrator.
          Go Huskers!

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            #6


            Last edited by MadRat; 21st April 2018, 18:30.
            Go Huskers!

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              #7
              The Japanese 5 gen tech demonstrator is so bland and boring to look at. It has shades of the Boeing X-35. It is not sleek.

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                #8
                Yes. Absolutely.

                The Japanese needed an Air Superiority Fighter.

                In the UK Range and altitude were primary and a lack of dogfighting ability (or de-prioritisation at the very least) was excusable*
                Likewise USN needed Range and altitude (and the ability to land on a carrier) so the F14's flaws and costs were bearable.
                For their (USN) lo end Range and AAM load out likewise excusable (they had the F14 to do that)
                Continental Europe dogfighting and the ability to do strike and short range air-to-air trumped range, single-engine and AAM load out so since F16 was cheaper than F15 that made sense
                The Canadians and Aussies needed much shorter field performance so a carrier-based design had attractions for them which pragmatically made F18 a better choice

                But the Japanese needed Range, AAM capacity, Two engines and dogfighting all in one airframe and they had no need for short-field performance. Nothing else Western came close to the mighty Eagle on those terms.

                * I imagine I'm typical of most kids growing up in the UK during the Cold War in wishing that the RAF had F15s instead of Tornado F3s, but with a bit of distance and reflection it wasn't a terrible decision.

                PS: I'm hoping that the Japanese Technology Demonstrator is a scaled demonstrator; if that this is stretched by another 10% it could suddenly look a lot more elegant.
                Rule zero: don't be on fire

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                  #9
                  Maybe the F-14 would have been a better choice *if* the Japanese were willing to pay for better engines than the TF30s. But chances are that would have made it significantly more expensive than the F-15 they did buy.

                  Tornado would have been okay but it would still suffer from mediocre performance at high altitudes. Not ideal if they ever had to try to intercept MiG-25s.

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                    #10
                    I imagine I'm typical of most kids growing up in the UK during the Cold War in wishing that the RAF had F15s instead of Tornado F3s, but with a bit of distance and reflection it wasn't a terrible decision.
                    Well the main reason for selecting the ADV was cost; to keep the per-unit Tornado costs in line the UK had to meet its original target of 385 airframes. As early as 1976 the ADV was being described as 'satisfactory' for the role envisaged which was faint praise. An F-15B with UK radar and systems would probably have been better in every way except cost.

                    Also around the same time AST.403 requirement emerged for a tactical high-agility successor to Jaguar and Harrier, for which the F-16 was pencilled-in. So the lack of dogfighting capability in the ADV wasn't seen as critical as it wouldn't be mixing with MiGs.

                    Fomr the Flight archive, 1976 airframe prices listed by the UK MoD in response to Parliament queries: F-14 10 million, F-15 7 million, ADV 6.5 million projected. Plus additional costs for the US options in fitting UK equipment and increase in unit costs for the 220 IDS on order.
                    Last edited by Cherry Ripe; 23rd April 2018, 10:46.

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                      #11
                      The range issue alone made the F-15 the best choice.
                      Plus it's large enough to have significant growth potential in avionics and weapons fit.

                      As far as the Tornado ADV...just ask yourself why aren't they still in use?
                      Not a bad aircraft, just not as capable as the Eagle (but quite a bit noisier if my experience with other Tornadoes is accurate).
                      There are two sides to every story. The truth is usually somewhere between the two.

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                        #12
                        Was the F-15 the best choice for Japan?

                        Short answer - no.
                        When you're out of Tomcats, you're out of fighters!

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                          #13
                          Japan had another look at the F-15 in the mid-1980s as a basis for FS-X but went with the F-16 purely on cost grounds. Other than price the only practical downside they identified for the F-15 was its lack of stealth potential ( yes they used that term even in 1985 ) and since the F-16 met the requirements and was also non-stealthy they went with the smaller airframe.

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                            #14
                            Meh.. Japan should just bite the bullet and order up a F-15SE 2.0 version.
                            There is no need to suck their treasures dry with a new insanly costly fighter program.

                            Atleast new F-15's could happen quickly enough.
                            Thanks

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                              #15
                              Stealth technology was basically revealed in 1984-ish when the F-20A program caused troubles flying in civilian airspace without the transponder on. Northrop advertised it as an asset.
                              Go Huskers!

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                                #16
                                What "Stealth technology" did the F-20A have?
                                "The early bird gets the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese."

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                                  #17
                                  What "Stealth technology" did the F-20A have?
                                  Almost certainly none
                                  sigpic

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                                    #18
                                    Almost certainly none
                                    Sales?
                                    "The early bird gets the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese."

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                                      #19
                                      Something smells about this F-22/F-35 hybrid idea. It is hard to believe that the USG would ok the sale of an a/c that has technology based on the F-22 that was never cleared for FMS. Not to mention the cost of said aircraft would be dramatically greater than just re-opening the F-22 line, and we have all heard repeatedly that this is too expensive. Which begs the question, if a FMS based on F-22 tech is now ok, why not just have Japan help fund the cost of reopening the F-22 line and hardware updates, and drive the per airframe cost down by doing a joint US & Japan buy? Seems like a win-win that way.

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                                        #20
                                        In the early 1980s I had a long briefing on the F-20 on behalf of a client. The aircraft had no RCS-reduction features.
                                        Mercurius Cantabrigiensis

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