A F-15E fighter jet will take the place of the F-16 in the skies, and in the Pentagon’s new definition of a fighter jet, the jet will be a fuel-efficient airplane.
The definition is a key component of a new plan to redefine what it means to be a fighter, with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel urging Congress to approve the plan at a Pentagon hearing in the coming weeks.
The F-35, which has a range of more than 1,300 miles, and the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, which can travel 2,000 miles, will be the two mainstay fighters used by the military, as well as the Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.
The plan to change the definition of fighter jets is part of Hagel’s push to create a new, unified definition of the military.
The Pentagon has been working on the definition for about a year and has had no formal proposal for it.
The process has been complicated by a series of problems, including a disagreement between Congress and Hagel on how much money to spend on the plan.
The debate over the plan began in July, when Hagel sent letters to Congress asking for the definition to be finalized.
The letters did not specify a deadline, but they did indicate that it would take months for the Pentagon to produce the definition.
In late July, Hagel told reporters that the definition should be finalized in August.
He did not provide an exact date.
Hagel is not expected to unveil the final version of the new definition at a congressional hearing Wednesday in which he will outline the Pentagon plan to modernize the military and reduce the risk of cyber attacks.
Congressional lawmakers will also be asked to approve funding for the new fighter, and will be asked about the proposal in the next months-long fiscal year, which begins Sept. 30.
The defense secretary will deliver a speech at the Pentagon this week outlining the plan, and it will be unveiled during a hearing on defense spending in the House of Representatives next week.HAGEL said the F–15E and the Super Hornets would be the mainstay fighter planes for the military because they are both highly maneuverable.
The F-20A will be used to replace the F‐16 in a limited number of missions.
The Super Hornett is the most maneuverable of the existing jets, and its radar is a little more powerful than that of the other planes, Hagell said.
The new fighter jet is also expected to be cheaper than the F4 Phantom.
The fighter jet has a cost of $4.5 billion, or about $1.4 billion more than the Phantom.
The Super Hornette costs about $2.6 billion and is one of two F-14s, the other being the F135, which is not part of the plan but has been designed for use by the Air National Guard.
Hegel said the new jet will have the same engine configuration as the F6-100, which had a twin-engine design.
But the F3 is different.
It has a single-engine engine that is more powerful and will have better fuel economy, he said.
The jet will also have more maneuverability, which will reduce the threat to air crews.
Hakim Alshamani, an analyst at the RAND Corp. think tank, said the plan was more important than Hagel expected.
“The F–35 is a huge, huge deal, it’s going to be the most expensive aircraft in history, but it’s not going to save the American economy,” Alshamy said.
“If they want to make it into a credible deterrent, the F1 is the better choice.”
Alshamy added that the F2 and F3 fighters are not comparable in terms of cost.
The United States spent about $500 billion on the F15E in its first five years of service, the cost of which has risen about 30 percent since then.
The military has spent about 2.5 trillion dollars on its fighter program since 2002.
The Air Force spent about a trillion dollars to purchase the F18E, a fighter that has been largely a symbol of American strength, even though it was developed in Japan.
The cost to buy the F16 has risen by about 50 percent since 2002, and is expected to reach $70 billion.
The cost of buying the F21A has risen to $70.6 million, or $1 billion more per plane than the Super Hornets.
The number of aircraft the Air Department is buying will be cut by about half, to 7,600 planes, with the Pentagon now buying more than 40 F-22s and 12 F-45s.
The Defense Department has also begun selling the F22 Raptor stealth fighter, which costs about a half billion dollars to develop.
Hagan said he is