Boeing Begins Construction of First Two F-15EX Fighter Jets for U.S. Air Force
Boeing has begun the construction of the first two F-15EX fighter jets which will be delivered to the U.S. Air Force next year, the company announced.
— Boeing Defense (@BoeingDefense) July 13, 2020
F-15EX is the most advanced variant of Boeing F-15 Eagle/F-15E Strike Eagle fighter aircraft to date. Its is a derivative of the F-15SA aircraft currently operational with the Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) and the F-15QA aircraft being developed for the Qatar Emiri Air Force (QEAF).
Improvements over the previous versions include the AMBER (Advanced Missile and Bomb Ejection Rack) weapons rack to carry up to 22 air-to-air missiles (AAMs), infra-red search and track (IRST), advanced avionics and electronics warfare (EW) equipment, AESA radar, and revised structure with a service life of 20,000 hours.
Last month, the U.S. Department of the Air Force (DAF ) has awarded a nearly $1.2 billion contract for its first lot of eight Boeing F-15EX fighter aircraft. The contract, awarded to Boeing, provides for the design, development, integration, manufacturing, test, verification, certification, delivery, sustainment and modification of F-15EX aircraft, including spares, support equipment, training materials, technical data and technical support.
The F-15EX will replace the oldest F-15C/Ds in the service’s inventory. Eight F-15EX fighter aircraft were approved in the fiscal year 2020 budget and 12 were requested in the FY21 budget. The Air Force plans to purchase a total of 76 F-15EX aircraft over the five-year Future Years Defense Program.
The first eight F-15EX aircraft will be fielded at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, to support testing efforts. The delivery of the first two aircraft is scheduled for the second quarter of FY21. The remaining six aircraft are scheduled to deliver in FY23. The Air Force is using the Strategic Basing Process to determine the fielding locations for subsequent aircraft lots.