Boeing’s F-15EX fighter jet has completed its first test flight, paving the way for the early delivery of the first two jets to the US Air Force later this quarter.
The jet took off and landed from St. Louis Lambert International Airport, Missouri for a 90-minute test flight on February 2, 2021.
The F-15EX is a two-seat fighter that will replace the oldest F-15C/Ds in the US Air Force’s fleet. Last July the US Air Force awarded Boeing a contract to build eight jets. Future plans call for up to 144 F-15EXs to be built.
The aircraft features a deep magazine that can carry more weapons than any other fighter in its class, and can launch hypersonic weapons up to 22ft long and weighing up to 7,000 lbs.
During the test flight 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.
Prat Kumar, Boeing vice president and F-15 program manager said, “Today’s successful flight proves the jet’s safety and readiness to join our nation’s fighter fleet.
“Our workforce is excited to build a modern fighter aircraft for the US 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.”
In contrast to older F-15s, the F-15EX also has a digital “backbone”, the Open Mission Systems architecture, which enables the rapid insertion of the technologies. In addition, the new aircraft will have fly-by-wire flight controls, a new electronic warfare system, advanced cockpit systems, and the latest mission systems and software capabilities that are already available for legacy F-15s.