Boeing Wins $9.8 Billion to Support Royal Saudi Air F-15SA Fighters

The Boeing Co., Defense, Space & Security, St. Louis, Missouri, has been awarded a $9,800,000,000 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for F-15 support for Saudi Arabia. This contract provides for modernization and sustainment of the F-15 Saudi fleet to include such efforts as hardware, software, and interface design, development, integration, test, subsystem and structural component production and installation of future modifications and enhancements to the F-15 Saudi weapon system as well as product support. The F‐15 Division Contracts Branch, Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity and is expected to be completed by November 2025. The work will be performed by Boeing in St Louis, Missouri.

The Obama administration approved the $60 billion deal in 2010 amid mounting U.S. and Saudi tensions with Iran. In addition to the 84 Boeing F-15SA fighters, the deal included orders for upgrades to Saudi Arabia’s 70 older F-15. The F-15SA (Saudi Advanced) is a version for the Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF). It has a new fly-by-wire flight control system in place of the hybrid electronic/mechanical system used by previous F-15s, which allows for weapons carriage on the previously unused outer wing hardpoints.[149] The F-15SA includes the APG-63(v)3 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, digital electronic warfare systems (DEWS), and infrared search and track (IRST) systems. It also had a redesigned cockpit once intended for the F-15SE.

A Royal Saudi Air F-15SA (Saudi Advanced) flies over the training lanes, demonstrating their ability to provide air support by dropping flares as simulated bombs during Friendship Two. ( Photo by U.S. Air Force)

For the past twenty years the F-15 has been a cornerstone of the relationship between the U.S. Air Force (USAF) and the RSAF. The procurement of the F-15SA, the conversion of the F-15S fleet to a common configuration, and the CONUS training contingent will provide interoperability, sustained
professional contacts, and common ground for training and support well into the 21st century. The F-15SA will help deter potential aggressors by increasing Saudi’s tactical air force capability to defend KSA against regional threats. The CONUS-based contingent would improve interoperability
between the USAF and the RSAF. This approach will meet Saudi’s self-defense requirements and continue to foster the long-term military-to-military relationship between the United States and the KSA.

The McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle is an American twin-engine, all-weather tactical fighter aircraft designed by McDonnell Douglas (now part of Boeing). Following reviews of proposals, the United States Air Force selected McDonnell Douglas’s design in 1967 to meet the service’s need for a dedicated air superiority fighter. The Eagle first flew in July 1972, and entered service in 1976. It is among the most successful modern fighters, with over 100 victories and no losses in aerial combat, with the majority of the kills by the Israeli Air Force. The Eagle has been exported to Israel, Japan, and Saudi Arabia. The F-15 was originally envisioned as a pure air-superiority aircraft. Its design included a secondary ground-attack capability that was largely unused.

Four Royal Saudi Air Force F-15s fly in formation with U.S. Air Force F-15 Strike Eagles over the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility, Sept 10, 2020. ( Photo by U.S. Air Force)