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US Air Force Completes Boeing F-15EX Eagle II Initial Smart Weapons Tests

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US Air Force Completes Boeing F-15EX Eagle II Initial Smart Weapons Tests

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US Air Force Completes Boeing F-15EX Eagle II Initial Smart Weapons Tests
US Air Force Completes Boeing F-15EX Eagle II Initial Smart Weapons Tests

The 85th Test and Evaluation Squadron recently validated the F-15EX Eagle II’s employment of the longest Air-to-Air and Air-to-Ground standoff munitions in the Department of Defense combat inventory. The tests were executed during the 53rd Wing’s Weapons System Evaluation Program (WSEP) which was led by a collaborative effort between the 83rd and 86th Fighter Weapons Squadrons. During Integrated Test & Evaluation (IT&E) Phase I, the F-15EX participated in 19 Large Force Exercise events where it integrated with 5th generation aircraft, recorded the longest Air-to-Air Missile employment, and validated the first F-15EX employment of the longest non-nuclear Air-to-Ground munition release in the inventory.

The rapid testing and fielding of the F-15EX is due in part to the fully integrated developmental and operational test teams housed at Eglin AFB. These testers, originating from the 40th Flight Test Squadron, 85th Test and Evaluation Squadron, and Operational Flight Program Combined Test Force (OFP CTF), have expedited the test timeline setting a precedent for future aircraft programs, to include the B-21 Raider. This event marks the conclusion of F-15EX IT&E Phase I. Data from this phase will be analyzed by the Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center and Office of the Secretary of Defense Director of Operational Test and Evaluation for final reporting to steer a full rate production decision determination in the coming months.

Flying locally over the Gulf of Mexico, two F-15EX Eagle II aircraft launched missiles from their new weapon stations, known as Stations 1 and 9.
Flying locally over the Gulf of Mexico, two F-15EX Eagle II aircraft launched missiles from their new weapon stations, known as Stations 1 and 9. (U.S. Air Force photo by 96th Test Wing Public Affairs)

“Proving the F-15EX capability to employ three JASSMs after witnessing validation of the Air-to-Air dominance role it can play with a 12 AMRAAM loadout is incredible. The firepower a 4-ship of F-15EXs brings to a combatant commander is tremendous,” said Maj. Calvin Conner, 85th TES F-15 division commander.

The Boeing F-15EX Eagle II is an American all-weather multirole strike fighter derived from the McDonnell Douglas F-15E Strike Eagle. The F-15EX can be operated by either a single pilot or with a weapon systems officer in a two-seat configuration. Powered by two General Electric F110-GE-129 afterburning turbofan engines, each producing 17,155 pounds of thrust in dry mode and an impressive 29,500 pounds with afterburner engaged. The F-15EX is armed with a fearsome 20mm M61 Vulcan 6-barreled gatling cannon. Equipped with four wing pylons and a total of 23 hardpoints on the fuselage, this fighter has the capability to carry a vast array of external fuel tanks and ordnance, with a capacity of up to 29,500 pounds (13,400 kilograms). The F-15EX can be armed with a variety of air-to-air missiles, including 12 AIM-9 Sidewinders, 12 AIM-120 AMRAAMs, and it is set to integrate 12 AIM-260 JATMs. Featuring the advanced Raytheon AN/APG-82(V)1 AESA radar system, the F-15EX has exceptional target acquisition and tracking capabilities. It can be equipped with either the LANTIRN or Sniper targeting pods for precise targeting and reconnaissance. The Lockheed Martin Legion Pod enhances situational awareness with infrared search and track capabilities.

US Air Force Completes Boeing F-15EX Eagle II Initial Smart Weapons Tests
Both F-15EX Eagle II aircraft attached to the 85th Test and Evaluation Squadron, 53d Wing, and 40th Flight Test Squadron, 96th Test Wing, return from a test mission over the Gulf of Mexico, Aug. 2, 2023. The F-15EX recently completed Integrated Test & Evaluation Phase I, with the data currently being analyzed by the Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center and Office of the Secretary of Defense Director of Operational Test and Evaluation for final reporting to steer a full rate production decision determination in the coming months (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. John McRell)

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