WASHINGTON — Boeing’s first F-15EX took to the skies for its inaugural flight on Feb. 2, a milestone that may permit the corporate to ship the primary two planes to the U.S. Air Pressure by the top of March.
After a few hours of delays on account of climate — which additionally held up plans to conduct a primary flight on Feb. 1 — Boeing take a look at 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 aircraft 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 vp and F-15 program supervisor. “Our workforce is worked up to construct a contemporary fighter plane for the U.S. Air Pressure. Our buyer can really feel assured in its resolution to take a position on this platform that’s able to incorporating the newest superior battle administration methods, sensors and weapons as a result of jet’s digital airframe design and open mission methods structure.”
The Air Pressure first added the F-15EX to its fiscal 2020 price range on the behest of the Protection Division’s Value Evaluation and Program Analysis workplace, or CAPE.
With the Air Pressure and Air Nationwide Guard’s fleet of Nineteen Seventies-era F-15C/D jets exhibiting 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 international prospects like Qatar and Saudi Arabia — could be a extra cost-conscious choice.
The Air Pressure 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.
The brand new jets include a bunch of recent options, together with Honeywell’s ADCP-II mission laptop, the Eagle Passive/Energetic Warning and Survivability System digital warfare system made by BAE Techniques, the Raytheon Applied sciences’ AN/APG-82 radar, fly-by-wire flight controls, and a digital cockpit.
The service expects to purchase at the very least 144 F-15EX plane, however the contract contains choices to permit the Air Pressure to buy as much as 200 jets.
Congress first included funds in December to buy eight F-15EXs via the fiscal 2020 spending invoice, and lawmakers permitted spending $1.2 billion to purchase 12 F-15EXs in fiscal 2021. In response to the Air Pressure’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 12 months in each FY24 and FY25.
As soon as delivered to the Air Pressure, the primary two F-15EXs will go Eglin Air Pressure Base, Florida, for testing, with the remaining six plane set to be delivered to the bottom in FY23.