Air Force officials told the Senate Armed Services Committee late last week that their request for Boeing’s F-15X fourth-generation fighter jet won’t upend plans to buy Lockheed Martin’s fifth-generation F-35 fighter, Defense News reported.
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein said it is a short-term and cost-effective fix for retiring the F-15C Eagle.
“We absolutely [are] adamant that the F-35 program, the program of record, absolutely stays on track and we don’t take a dime out of the F-35,” Goldfein said.
Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Ranking Member Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) both expressed doubts about the Air Force’s $7.9 billion F-15 request after years of declining F-15 or F-16 funding.
Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), a decorated Army helicopter pilot, also questioned the service life of the F-15X compared to the F-35.
“Ma’am, if we ever get to a point where we are trading F-15s for F-35s, that is a bad choice,” Goldfein said. “The F-15 is not an F-35, it will never be an F-35.”
Last week 99 House members sent a bipartisan letter to the Air Force pushing for more F-35s.
Air Force photo by Greg L. Davis