Royal Saudi Air Force F-15SA Advanced Eagles from 29sq/7 Wing at Tabuk
Royal Saudi Air Force F-15SA Advanced Eagles from 29sq/7 Wing at Tabuk

Boeing Awarded $366 Million to Support Royal Saudi Air Force F-15SA Fighter Training

The Boeing Co., St. Louis, Missouri, has been awarded a $93,393,287 bilateral requirements contract modification to previously awarded contract for the Royal Saudi Air Force F-15SA Original Equipment Manufacturer Training Program. This modification adds an 18-month ordering period to the multi-year basic contract and involves 100 percent Foreign Military Sales to Saudi Arabia. Work is expected to be completed by Dec. 31, 2023. Foreign Military Sales funds in the amount of $88,000,000 are being obligated at the time of award, and the cumulative face value of the contract is not to exceed $554,400,000. The contracting activity is the 338th Enterprise Sourcing Squadron, Joint Base San Antonio Randolph, Texas.

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. 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.

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Royal Saudi Air Force F-15SA Fighter
U.S. Air Force Airmen assigned to the 50th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron conduct aerial refueling missions aboard a U.S. Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker with a Royal Saudi Air Force F-15SA. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Justin Parsons)

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.

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.

Royal Saudi Air Force F-15SA Fighter
A Royal Saudi Air Force maintenance Airman gestures to the F-15SA aircrew via hand signals as they prepare for a mission during Red Flag 19-2 at Nellis Air Force Base, March 19, 2019. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Isaiah Soliz)

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