Boeing’s new F-15EX variant completed its first flight on 2 February, paving the way for delivery of the first two aircraft to the USAF later this quarter – less than nine months after contract award.
During the 90-minute test flight from St Louis International Airport, Boeing checked out the multirole jet’s avionics, advanced systems and software. A test team monitoring the data collected during the flight in real time confirmed that the aircraft performed as planned.
“Today’s successful flight proves the jet’s safety and readiness to join our nation’s fighter fleet,” commented Prat Kumar, VP and F-15 Programme Manager. “Our customer can feel confident in its decision to invest in this platform that is capable of incorporating the latest advanced battle management systems, sensors and weapons due to the jet’s digital airframe design and open mission systems architecture.”
The fighter’s digital backbone means it can serve as a testbed for future technology insertion, a key capability for the Air Force. Modern variants of the F-15 also include fly-by-wire flight controls, an all-new digital cockpit, modern AESA radar and the ADCP-II, the world's fastest mission computer. The F-15EX, the most advanced version to date, features the Eagle Passive/Active Warning and Survivability System EW system to improve mission effectiveness and operator survivability.
Boeing received a contract last July to build the first lot of eight aircraft: future plans call for as many as 144.