The F-15: An Old Dog Learns New Tricks

The F-15 Eagle first entered service thirty-six years ago, and seems set to continue in duty with the USAF, at least, for another seventeen. Originally a Mig-killing air-superiority fighter, in the late 1980s the E-model “Strike Eagle” was introduced as an all-weather strike fighter – one which proved it’s value in most of America’s recent conflicts. In recent years the F-15E’s capabilities have expanded considerably after a series of weapons and avionics upgrades. One of the most interesting of these is a new Actively Electronic Scanned Array, or AESA, radar developed by Raytheon.

Raytheon have been contracted to supply their AESA – known in service as the AN/APG-63(V)3 – for around four-hundred F-15E and F-15C airframes. Back before they won the contract, they produced some remarkably spiffy promotional videos showcasing the capabilities of the radar system. Thanks to a friend, I was able to acquire copies of several of these videos, and am making the first one available today.

The video, in a nutshell, follows a pair of AESA-equipped F-15E Strike Eagles, armed with GBU-39 SDBs and AMRAAM air-to-air missiles on a strike against a notional enemy airfield. Along the way, Raytheon’s AESA demonstrates it’s air-to-air, air-to-ground, ECM, SAR ground-mapping and threat-identification modes. Assuming the capabilities are real, it’s fairly easy to see why the system was chosen for fleet-wide installation…

The good news is, the video is stunning; high-quality CGI at a native size of (cough!) 1024×768 pixels. The bad news is, it’s in the somewhat Windows-centric WMV format, and weighs in at 200MB. If you’d like to see it, you’re going to have to download it; don’t even think about trying to stream it, it’s just not going to happen! The video – which is “approved for public release”, in case you were worrying – can be downloaded right here. (200MB! Right-click, and “save as”!) Enjoy!

Published in: Geekiness, General, Security | on May 20th, 2008| 4 Comments »

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  1. On 5/21/2008 at 8:53 am Asim Said:

    For anyone downloading this video, please consider going through the Coral Cache instead in order to lessen the load on the website:

  2. On 5/21/2008 at 12:18 pm Nemo Said:

    Hey, Asim;

    Thanks for the suggestion about the Coral Cache, but so far the downloads server has been holding up just fine; serving up lots of stuff quickly is what I set it up for, after all. 🙂 Still, better safe than sorry. I don’t really see a video like this getting Dugg or /.ed, so it probably won’t be an issue…

    I wonder what degree of performance increase, if any, the cache provides in terms of download speed?

  3. On 5/24/2008 at 6:16 am Asim Said:

    > I wonder what degree of performance increase, if any, the cache provides in terms of download speed?

    In my experience, the Coral Cache is rarely faster, but it’s decent. Maybe ~300KB/s?

    Fascinating project though. You can’t guarantee they’ll index your site, but once they do you can offer the link as an alternative and hey-presto…it helped me out with a personal website once which had a 12GB/month bandwidth cap (pathetic, right?).

  4. On 5/24/2008 at 12:10 pm Nemo Said:

    300 Kilobytes or 300 Kilobits per second? The latter is nothing to sneeze at, but the former is pretty darn fast.

    12GB/mo is hardly pathetic for webhosting; if nothing else, it’s a realistic figure that just about any host should be capable of actually providing, should you need to use it. The same is not at all true of places that offer hundreds or even thousands of gigabytes for a couple bucks a month.

    In my experience, bandwidth is rarely the limiting factor for a popular website; usually the webserver is unable to keep up long before the “pipe” is full. Newer alternatives to Apache mean this isn’t always as true as it was before, but no matter what the webserver, there’s only so much you can do to make PHP scripts run faster, especially in a shared hosting environment.