Air Battle Royal: What If Russia's Killer Su-35 Went to War with America's F-15?
The Su-35S has a powerful Irbis-E passive electronically scanned array radar with a range of up to 400 kilometers; it is also effective against ground targets.
The Eagle 2040C package would also include IRST and F-22 datalink capacity via the Talon HATE pod, a new electronic countermeasure system, and a potential doubling of missile capacity.
Ultimately, future air-combat capabilities may be increasingly defined by the effectiveness of missiles and electronic counter measures rather than the aircraft carrying them, particularly in regards to non-stealth airframes.
Nonetheless, the Su-35 takes the crown of best dogfighter, and also remains a very capable and versatile missile platform against both air and ground targets, though it is held back by its lack of state-of-the-art AESA radar.
Current models of the F-15, however, remain capable air superiority fighters with advanced radar, while the F-15E can still carry greater weapons loads for ground attack. Upgraded F-15s would boast extraordinary air-to-air loads, and unparalleled data fusion with supporting ships, satellites and aircraft. The Silent Eagle might also bring an intriguing, though limited, frontal stealth capability to the table. Less than a hundred Su-35Ss are planned to serve in Russia, China, Malaysia and Algeria, though additional orders may ensue. A force of over 200 F-15Es and a smaller number of F-15Cs and Ds is expect for decades into the future of the United States, and well over 400 F-15s of various types currently serve in the Air Forces of Saudi Arabia, Israel, South Korea, Singapore and Japan.
Sébastien Roblin holds a Master’s Degree in Conflict Resolution from Georgetown University and served as a university instructor for the Peace Corps in China. He has also worked in education, editing, and refugee resettlement in France and the United States. He currently writes on security and military history for War Is Boring.
This first appeared in the Summer of 2016 and is being reposted due to reader interest.