Looks like the Air Force has finally decided what to do with the F-35, F-22, and F-15 fleets

Recently the Air Force ran its Red Flag 17-1 exercise and for the first time the F-35 took part.

The F-35B Lightning 11 prepares to vertically land for the first time at sea on the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1). The F-35B is the Marine Corps Joint Strike Force variant, designed for short takeoff and vertical landing on Navy amphibious ships. The purpose of F-35B sea trials on USS Wasp (LHD-1) is to test F-35B systems and ship’s support functions.

The prime articles are The Avionist, and Business Insider.

Secondary articles of interest are here, and here.

The upshot as I read it is this. The F-35 is a stealth strike aircraft, with unparalleled ability to hide while giving a God’s eye view to ALL American and allied pilots in the real time data network  with the F-35, giving overwhelming advantage to the ‘BLUE’ forces.

The F-35 is a sensor and networking platform. In order to yield this advantage it needs tankers (KC-135s, KC-10s, and KC-46s and F-18’s configured as tankers), AEW (the E-3 AWACS and Navy’s E2D Advanced Hawkeye and P-8 Poseidon, and I will guess the Global Hawk and it’s maritime derivative), and strong air superiority backup, the F-22, F-15, and F-18.

Sooner or later the F-35 is going to get into a visual range fight with an enemy 4th or 4++ gen fighter, or even the J-20, 31, or PAKFA-50 and will be in real trouble if alone.

The Air Force, caught short when the Obama admin cancelled the F-22 program at 189 out of 749 aircraft (there are/were 751 dedicated air superiority F-15A’s and B’s at that time) has now announced they are going ahead with a rather novel upgrade for 400+ F-15 C and D’s, so that each can carry SIXTEEN air to air missiles, and be equipped new new much more powerful and versatile phased array radars and the world’s fastest airborne CPU’s.

Thus the arsenal force of F-15’s can, I suppose, linger back and fire their huge load of missiles with data from the invisible F-35’s which are all linking the F-22, AEW, Drone and all F-35 sensor info.

Boeing’s commercial for this F-15 is here. The original idea is here and here as help for the F-22. The upgrade as a program is here.

This is a comparison of forces

I’d love to know what the plans are to make safe the AWACs, and tankers without which the entire strategic idea (which sounds pretty complex, which is usually BAD) is an #EPICFAIL

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