Boeing offered the Republic of Korea an F-15E derivative - the F-15K - for the FX fighter competition. Boeing has delivered all 40 of the F-15K Slam Eagles ordered by the Republic of Korea (ROK) in October 2005. Boeing completed delivery of the 40 Next Fighter I F-15K aircraft in October 2008. In April 2008, the ROK awarded Boeing a contract for an additional 21 F-15K aircraft. Delivery of those aircraft is underway. Boeing on 19 April 2010 conducted the first flight of F-15K41, the first of 21 F-15K Slam Eagles the company is producing under the Next Fighter II contract for the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF).
The F-15K is an advanced variant of the combat-proven F-15E. Equipped with the latest technological upgrades, it is extremely capable, survivable and maintainable. The F-15K enables the ROKAF to change its focus from the short-range defense of the past half century to a broader regional view that considers the omnidirectional threats it may face in the future. The aircraft's service life is planned through 2040, with technology insertions and upgrades throughout its life cycle.
In October 2000 the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) and The Boeing Company began flight evaluations of the F-15E Strike Eagle. The F-15K is a further enhancement of the F-15E. The K model will incorporate many improvements including the world's newest operational fighter radar, the APG-63 (v) 1, which expands the capabilities of the earlier APG-70 radar. The F-15K also incorporates the latest technology in cockpit displays, navigation, and early warning and other systems. The F-15K can carry an array of air-to-ground weapons, including the Joint Direct Attack Munition and the AGM-130, as well as air-to-air weapons.
The F-15K is the newest variant of the highly successful and combat-proven U.S. Air Force F-15E. The aircraft has major leading edge technology upgrades to its systems that make it even more lethal, survivable and maintainable than the F-15E. The technology upgrades have kept pace with the newest developments in the global aerospace industry, making the F-15K equal or superior in operational capability to any other fighter in the world.
With a maximum gross takeoff weight of 81,000 pounds, the F-15K has unmatched fuel and munitions load capability. That makes the F-15K a world-leading strategic deterrent. The aircraft has an unrefueled combat radius in excess of 1,000 nautical miles (1,800 kilometers) in a deep-strike mission carrying both air-to-ground precision munitions and the most modern air-to-air missiles. With that configuration it is capable of deep strikes without escort, day or night, in any weather.
On a combat air patrol mission with an air-to-air weapons load the F-15K is capable of reaching an area 350 miles away, remaining on patrol three hours, and returning to base, without refueling. It is clearly superior in terms of range and payload to any aircraft.
The F-15K includes the Raytheon AN/APG-63(v)1 radar, the newest operational radar in the world. That radar provides a ten-fold improvement in reliability and maintainability. It incorporates all the proven air-to-air and air-to-ground modes of the older APG-70, with added capabilities for ground-moving target track, sea-surface search/track and enhanced high-resolution ground mapping that enable the two-person F-15K crews to identify targets clearly and at great distances. Upgrades to the APG-63(v)1could include an active electronically scanned array, or AESA. That would reduce pilot workload and enhance radar performance. An AESA is faster, smaller, lighter and more reliable than a traditional mechanically scanned radar antenna. It also can rapidly change frequency and redirect its beam, increasing detection capabilities as well as its ability to evade detection and countermeasures.
In addition to the radar, the F-15K sensor suite will incorporate third-generation targeting and navigation Forward Looking Infrared, or FLIR, systems for maximum aircrew flexibility in targeting and attack. An Infrared Search and Track, or IRST, system will also be incorporated for passive air-to-air target detection to supplement radar operations. A terrain-following system that gives the aircraft the unmatched ability to fly safely at 600 knots and 100 feet altitude at night and in bad weather, to strike targets with pinpoint precision, is also included. All these systems are updated to provide the latest technology.
The twin-engine F-15K also features an enhanced electronic warfare suite with new technology that includes the latest in on-board protection systems to build on the F-15E's legacy of safety and survivability. The Lockheed Martin ALR-56C(v)1 early warning receiver includes technology enhancements in both hardware and software that make it more effective than all current versions of the ALR-56 family, including the ALR-56M. Self-protection will be provided by the Northrop Grumman ALQ-135M jammer, an upgraded version of the U.S. Air Force ALQ-135, which also provides increased operational performance and improvements in reliability and ease of maintenance.
The F-15K also incorporates the newest cockpit-display technologies. The two-seat cockpit includes seven color liquid crystal displays, two flat panel upfront control panels, the Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System and a wide field-of-view Heads-Up Display that combine to provide the F-15K crew with exceptional situational awareness.
The heart of the new avionics suite will be the Honeywell Advanced Display Core Processor, or ADCP, which replaces the aircraft's older central computer and display processor. The ADCP was developed using commercial data processing technologies and costs significantly less to develop, produce, maintain and upgrade than earlier systems. This processor provides ten times the processing capability of the older F-15 central computer.
The F-15K can carry a large variety of weapons, allowing versatility in choice of weapon employment, and it is the only fighter capable of carrying weapons such as the AGM-130. It is interoperable with other Republic of Korea Air Force systems as well as U.S. assets in Korea.
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