The U.S. Air Force has awarded Boeing with a
contract valued at nearly US$1.2 billion to build the first lot of
eight F-15EX advanced fighter jets.
The award also covers support and one-time,
upfront engineering costs.
The F-15EX will replace the oldest F-15C/Ds in the
Air Force’s inventory. Eight F-15EX 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 two-seat F-15EX requires minimal transitional training
or additional manpower and little to no infrastructure changes,
ensuring the continuation of the mission.
“When delivered, we expect bases currently
operating the F-15 to transition to the new EX platform in a
matter of months versus years,” said Gen. Mike Holmes, commander
of Air Combat Command.
The most significant difference between the F-15EX and legacy
F-15s lies in its Open Mission Systems (OMS) architecture. The OMS
architecture will enable the rapid insertion of the latest
The F-15EX will also have fly-by-wire
flight controls, a new electronic warfare system, advanced cockpit
systems, and the latest mission systems and software capabilities
available for legacy F-15s.
The F-15EX will also be able to carry more weapons than any other
fighter in its class, and can launch hypersonic weapons up to 22
feet long and weighing up to 7,000 pounds.
“The F-15EX’s digital backbone,
open mission systems, and generous payload capacity fit well with
our vision for future net-enabled warfare,” said Dr. Will Roper,
assistant secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology
and Logistics. “Continually upgrading systems, and how they share
data across the Joint Force, is critical for defeating advanced threats. F-15EX is designed to evolve from day one.”
first eight F-15EX aircraft will be fielded at Eglin Air Force
Base, Florida, to support testing efforts.
Already under construction at the Boeing F-15
production facility in St. Louis, the delivery of the
first two F-15EX aircraft is scheduled for the second quarter of FY21.
The remaining six F-15EXs are scheduled to be delivered in FY23.
“The F-15EX is the most advanced version of the
F-15 ever built, due in large part to its digital backbone,” said
Lori Schneider, Boeing F-15EX program manager. “Its unmatched
range, price and best-in-class payload capacity make the F-15EX an
attractive choice for the U.S. Air Force.”
Pilots and mechanics currently operating the F-15
anticipate transitioning to the F-15EX in a matter of days as
opposed to years.