Revamped F-15s meeting our needs and hey, there isn’t much to worry about? Interesting theory, but here are a few thoughts.
“…detect stealthy targets such as the J-20 at long range.”
A few things. These radars reside around X-band. Most stealth designs are their best reducing the effectiveness of radars in…X-band/Ku Band.
Good point about radar size and power aperture, however there is still that frequency band issue. Of interest; in the small aperture category of AESA’s the Supers APG-79 has a bit of an edge on the F-35 APG-81.
More, our single point of failure is the AMRAAM which has a probability of kill (PK) vs poor targets of around 50 percent.
Add an aircraft that can jam that down (SU-3x etc) and you get down to a PK that is dangerously low. Put the AMRAAM against a threat with nose-on low observable and a terminal radar seeker on the missile won’t be good enough. What we need is an AMRAAM with an AIM-9X head.
The Japanese Eagles probably have the best IR detection on their F-15s jets right on top of the nose. A good low drag solution compared to other add-on thoughts for the Eagles. IR detection is needed to properly go against PAK-FA/J-2x.
RU-tech is also working on L-band sensors in the wing leading edge. This lower band has a better chance of detecting stealth aircraft. Certainly, “affordable-export-friendly” narrow band stealth like the F-35. These L-band sensors will start showing up on big SUs and PAK-FAs of the future. Combined with their IR sensors, something to think about.
No matter what you do with the F-15, it does not have the extreme super-cruise and high altitude of the F-22. This produces lower (less effective) no-escape-zone (NEZ) solutions for weapons vs. the F-22.
As for sensors on the F-22, one must understand how the AN/ALR-94 connected to 30-some apertures on the airframe produces a passive threat picture; and how that information is coordinated with the APG-77.
The reference red threat is now the F-22 for determining our needs against future bad guys.
When a customized F-15 with big AESA and a low drag IR detector a la the Japanese Eagles performs several combat exercises vs. the F22, that is the rate of success you will have against the PAK-FA/J-2x. Most likely this means: not enough beef.
F-15 Strike Eagles were designed from the outset to have 12,000k flight hours for the airframe life right off the show room floor. Remember its roots that were originally for a low level penetration (dense air) and carrying heavy loads vs the F-15A-D “not a pound for air-to-ground”. Visit the depot at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia to have a full picture of F-15 sustainment.
F-22 with F-15 will (and does in exercises) work well at clearing the board of legacy threats. I would not get all excited about the F-15 facing future threats. And also, those future threats include being near surface-to-air S-300, S-400 and similar.
F-15Es will always be useful as long as “a man has got to know his limitations” process is followed.