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F-15EX tests missile capabilities


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8 hours ago, Josh said:

No. The engines are of roughly equivalent thrust, just with much higher efficiency.

They also appear to weigh about 300lb less each.

If the TF33 engines in the B52H aren't the limiting factor, then changing the engines wouldn't help. It's possible that airframe limitations might be the issue - the rudder is a little underpowered as it is, hence the ruling out of a 4-engined upgrade and I (speculating) could see yaw control being an issue at high altitude.

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I think the lift of the wings just wasn't designed with 40,000+ altitudes in mind. The ceiling is listed as 50,000 feet, but obviously that changes with the load and drag conditions. The guy who was talking about the X-51 test said Balls 8 struggled to get to get the stack to 49,000 feet. Balls 8 isn't a standard B-52 but I think it still is representative; the 50,000 feet ceiling probably represents a clean configuration with a light load or low fuel (X-51 stack admittedly looked draggy as hell with that ATACMs engine hacked onto it).

We'll see, I could be wrong and HACM might be perfectly capable of ~30,000 foot launches and the F-15 was just chosen to put tactical air more into the cruise missile game. I also consider it likely HACM will have a secondary A2A role against large aircraft, basically the LREW mission, just because it naturally would slot into such work. The ASALM was to have an anti AWACs role as well (admittedly with a nuclear warhead, but still modern tech would easily allow for a radar, IIR, or dual mode seeker). In which case the F-15 might be a better platform for that use.

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Balls 8 appears to have been an NB-52B. Whether it retained the original mark of engines throughout its career is moot, but it's unlikely to have had 17,500lb thrust engines of any type - the originals were only 10,500. Now, it wouldn't have been carrying anything like full weight, which perhaps explains how it could get as high as it did, but it's likely that a stripped B-52H with an X-15 under it wouldn't be awful at that (although they did change the rudder, so...)

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