The new Boeing F-15EX fighter jet completed its first flight today, paving the way for the early delivery of the first two jets to the U.S. Air Force later this quarter. Boeing F-15 Chief Test Pilot Matt Giese checked out the multirole jet’s avionics, advanced systems and software. A test team monitoring the data collected during the flight in real time confirmed that the aircraft performed as planned. The jet took off and landed from St. Louis Lambert International Airport, completing a 90-minute test flight before returning to the airport.
The fighter’s digital backbone means it can serve as a testbed for future technology insertion, a key capability for the Air Force. Modern variants of the F-15 also include fly-by-wire flight controls, an all-new digital cockpit, modern AESA radar and the ADCP-II, the world’s fastest mission computer. The F-15EX, the most advanced version to date, features the Eagle Passive/Active Warning and Survivability System electronic warfare system to improve mission effectiveness and survivability for operators. The Air Force plans to purchase a total of 76 F-15EX aircraft over the five-year Future Years Defense Program.
“Today’s successful flight proves the jet’s safety and readiness to join our nation’s fighter fleet,” said Prat Kumar, Boeing vice president and F-15 program manager. “Our workforce is excited to build a modern fighter aircraft for the U.S. Air Force. Our customer can feel confident in its decision to invest in this platform that is capable of incorporating the latest advanced battle management systems, sensors and weapons due to the jet’s digital airframe design and open mission systems architecture.”
The Department of the Air Force has awarded a nearly $1.2 billion contract for its first lot of eight 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 aircraft were approved in the fiscal year 2020 budget and 12 were requested in the FY21 budget.