On Wednesday 10 March, the U.S. Air Force welcomed its first new F-15EX jet from Boeing Co. The new two-seater fighter will replace the current F-15C/D models and is trimmed with all the expected electronic upgrades.
"This is a big moment for the Air Force," said Col. Sean Dorey, F-15EX Program Manager who is in charge of the acquisition, modernization, and sustainment of the aircraft.
"With its large weapons capacity, digital backbone, and open architecture, the F-15EX will be a key element of our tactical fighter fleet and complement 5th-generation assets. In addition, it’s capable of carrying hypersonic weapons, giving it a niche role in future near-peer conflicts," he continued.
As Col. Dorey mentioned, the new fighter, which can also be flown by just one pilot, has fly-by-wire flight controls, digital cockpit displays, and advanced avionics systems.
The F-15EX has the capacity to carry hypersonic weapons, something integral to future near-peer conflicts. And the beauty of this aircraft, as Boeing Co. points out, is that it doesn't require new logistics chains, extra training, infrastructure modification, program offices or even weapons integration. It's an easy addition for the Air Force, saving time and cost.
All in all, the plan is for the 144 F-15EX fighters to join the Air Force's fleet. The next F-15EX jet will be delivered before the end of April, with both initial aircrafts going through rigorous tests.
Following these successful tests, the other six jets of Lot 1 will be delivered in 2023 for operational testing, and aircraft in Lots 2 and 3 will be delivered in 2024 and 2025, respectively.
Soi, we won't be seeing F-15EXs speeding above our heads quite yet, but just the thought of these new fighters joining the Air Force's fleet is exciting.