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Decision Time: Half of US F-15s Need Overhauls — Or Retirement

December 30, 2016

From the Defense One website

click on photograph to enlarge

click on photograph to enlarge

The F-15C Eagle weighs about 16 tons, but with nearly 47,000 pounds of thrust pushing it down the runway it feels more like 16 ounces.

In a just seconds, the plane passes 100 miles per hour, then twice that. It hops off the ground but the pilot, Maj. Jay “Fat” Talbert keeps it level, fifty feet up, and pours on more speed. “Here come the G’s,” Talbert warns his passenger in the back seat. Then he pulls back the stick.

Twin afterburners glow and a thunderous roar covers the peaceful New England landscape as the jet goes vertical. The altimeter spins like a stopwatch — and freezes at 6,000 as Talbert rolls the plane onto its left side and levels out. Then he turns right, heading toward the training area where he will show how this plane, built in 1985 to a 1970s design, can still best foreign-made jets in air-to-air combat.

The question now is whether Air Force leaders want to spend tens of billions of dollars to refurbish the C- and D-model F-15s and upgrade their electronics, or to put the money toward newer aircraft.

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