The F-15EX fighter jet demonstrates a vertical “Viking” departure during its first flight on Feb. 2, 2021. (Boeing photo by Eric Shindelbower)
The new Boeing F-15EX fighter jet completed its first flight today, paving the way for the early delivery of the first two jets to the U.S. Air Force later this quarter. The jet took off and landed from St. Louis Lambert International Airport, completing a 90-minute test flight before returning to the airport.
Boeing F-15 Chief Test Pilot Matt Giese 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,” says Prat Kumar, Boeing vice president and F-15 program manager. “Our workforce is excited to build a modern fighter aircraft for the U.S. Air Force. 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 electronic warfare system to improve mission effectiveness and survivability for operators.
In July, the Air Force awarded Boeing a contract to build the first lot of eight jets. Future plans call for as many as 144 aircraft.
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