WASHINGTON — Boeing’s first F-15EX took to the skies for its inaugural flight on Feb. 2, a milestone that can enable the corporate to ship the primary two planes to the U.S. Air Drive by the top of March.
After a few hours of delays attributable to climate — which additionally held up plans to conduct a primary flight on Feb. 1 — Boeing check pilot Matt “Phat” Giese took off from Lambert Worldwide Airport in St. Louis, Missouri, at roughly 1:57 p.m. EST.
The flight lasted roughly 90 minutes, and the airplane carried out as anticipated, Boeing stated in a information launch.
“At the moment’s profitable flight proves the jet’s security and readiness to affix our nation’s fighter fleet,” stated Prat Kumar, Boeing vice chairman and F-15 program supervisor. “Our workforce is happy to construct a contemporary fighter plane for the U.S. Air Drive. Our buyer can really feel assured in its resolution to take a position on this platform that’s able to incorporating the most recent superior battle administration methods, sensors and weapons because of the jet’s digital airframe design and open mission methods structure.”
The Air Drive first added the F-15EX to its fiscal 2020 price range on the behest of the Protection Division’s Price Evaluation and Program Analysis workplace, or CAPE.
With the Air Drive and Air Nationwide Guard’s fleet of Nineteen Seventies-era F-15C/D jets displaying indicators of age, the service wanted to both conduct an costly life extension or purchase new planes to exchange them.
However with F-35 operations and sustainment prices nonetheless financially burdensome, CAPE officers argued that purchasing an upgraded model of the F-15E Strike Eagle — with new options developed primarily at the price of overseas prospects like Qatar and Saudi Arabia — can be a extra cost-conscious possibility.
The Air Drive positioned its first order for the F-15EX in July 2020, awarding a contract for the primary lot of eight jets with a price to not exceed about $1.2 billion. All the program has a ceiling worth of $23 billion.
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The brand new jets include a bunch of contemporary options, together with Honeywell’s ADCP-II mission laptop, the Eagle Passive/Lively Warning and Survivability System digital warfare system made by BAE Methods, the Raytheon Applied sciences’ AN/APG-82 radar, fly-by-wire flight controls, and a digital cockpit.
The service expects to purchase a minimum of 144 F-15EX plane, however the contract consists of choices to permit the Air Drive to buy as much as 200 jets.
Congress first included funds in December to buy eight F-15EXs by the fiscal 2020 spending invoice, and lawmakers authorised spending $1.2 billion to purchase 12 F-15EXs in fiscal 2021. Based on the Air Drive’s FY21 price range request, the service plans to purchase one other dozen planes in FY22, procuring 14 F-15EXs in FY23, and ramping as much as 19 jets per yr in each FY24 and FY25.
As soon as delivered to the Air Drive, the primary two F-15EXs will go Eglin Air Drive Base, Florida, for testing, with the remaining six plane set to be delivered to the bottom in FY23.