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    F-15EX Eagle II Successfully Completes Test Flight as Fleet and Capability Expansion Plans Advance

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    The newest members of the F-15EX Eagle II fleet, the third and fourth jets designated EX3 and EX4, made their much-anticipated arrival at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, on December 20, 2023.

    Despite previous setbacks, including supply line issues and manufacturing delays that resulted in a roughly one-year schedule slip. Boeing attributed these delays to various factors, such as the reconfiguration of production work from South Korea to the United States.

    The aircraft are undergoing both developmental and operational testing simultaneously, in order to compress the test schedule and get operational aircraft to the fleet as soon as possible. To meet the threshold requirements set by the contract for initial operational capability (IOC), the Air Force must receive eight of these advanced fighters before the July 2024 deadline. Falling short of this target could lead to a Nunn-McCurdy Act breach, necessitating a certification from the Secretary of Defense to proceed with the program.

    Financially speaking, each F-15EX, including the advanced Eagle Passive/Active Warning Survivability System (EPAWSS), comes with a price tag of $94 million—assuming an acquisition of 104 aircraft. The initial unit cost estimate for the Eagle II was $80 million, similar to the flyaway cost of the F-35.

    An F-15EX Eagle II assigned to the 40th Flight Test Squadron, 96th Test Wing, out of Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., conducts aerial refueling operations above Northern California, May 14, 2021. The aircraft participated in exercise Northern Edge 21 in Alaska earlier this May. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ethan Wagner)

    Grounded in decades of F-15 legacy, the new F-15EX is a modern marvel, boasting improved avionics, more weapon stations than its predecessor—the F-15E Strike Eagle—and a redesigned forward fuselage tailored for the U.S. Air Force’s specific needs. These enhancements, including cockpit pressure monitors and a high-frequency antenna for satellite communications, equip the F-15EX to handle threats and perform missions in challenging environments.

    Photographer” by Joint Base San Antonio is licensed under CC PDM 1.0

    The F-15EX’s testing journey has been rigorous, with the first two jets, EX1 and EX2, participating in exercises such as Northern Edge 2023 and Combat Hammer, where they performed live rounds in weapons tests. The operational effectiveness, suitability, and survivability of the F-15EX were validated by the 2023 annual report from the Pentagon’s director of operational test, allowing the program to transition to a new phase of testing.

    210512-F-HY271-0172” by Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson is licensed under CC PDM 1.0

    Lt. Col. Christopher Wee, Operational Flight Program Combined Test Force commander, confidently stated, “The F-15EX has met every challenge we’ve thrown at it,” highlighting the aircraft’s readiness for combat deployment.

    210512-F-HY271-0087” by Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson is licensed under CC PDM 1.0

    Furthermore, the F-15EX is envisioned to serve dual roles, both as an air superiority and ground attack platform and expected as a standoff launcher for long-range and hypersonic missiles.

    related images you might be interested.

    F-15EX copy” by pqgw is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
    F-117 Nighthawks land at JBER for Northern Edge 23-1” by U.S. Indo-Pacific Command is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
    210512-F-HY271-0256” by Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson is licensed under CC PDM 1.0
    F-15C fighter jets from the 44th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, Prince Sultan Air Base, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, flys in formation with F-15SA Royal Saudi Air Force jets from 6th Squadron, King Khalid Air Base, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia during an integrated sortie flight in the Kingdom of Saudi Araibia, June 25, 2020. The integrated sorties allows U.S. and RSAF pilots to famiiliaraize with communications and mission planning procedures. It also allows them to maintain readiness for longer mission capabilities
    210426-F-XG347-1008” by pqgw is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
    210505-F-HY271-0160” by Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson is licensed under CC PDM 1.0
    210512-F-HY271-0194” by Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson is licensed under CC PDM 1.0

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