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    Oregon’s 142nd Wing Leads Transition to Advanced F-15EX Fighter Jet

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    The skies over Oregon are set to witness a new era in fighter jet technology as the Air National Guard’s 142nd Wing prepares to transition from the aging F-15C to the advanced F-15EX, becoming the first operational unit to adopt this cutting-edge aircraft. This move signifies a significant technological leap for the unit and for fighter capabilities within the Air National Guard.

    “My impression of the F-15EX after flying it for the first time was that it is an awesome, awesome aircraft,” expressed Lt. Col. Joel Thesing, one of the pilots from the 142nd Wing who tested the F-15EX at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida.

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

    The F-15EX, boasting advancements in power, radar, and avionics over its predecessor, marks a generational improvement that the 142nd Wing eagerly anticipates.

    The F-15EX Eagle II, based on the F-15QA developed for Qatar, is the most advanced variant of the long-serving Eagle platform.

    210505-F-HY271-0160” by AirmanMagazine is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

    It stands out as the first F-15 in the U.S. Air Force to incorporate digital fly-by-wire flight controls and a state-of-the-art glass cockpit with a touchscreen interface.

    F-15QA” by pqgw is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

    The aircraft is designed to carry a hefty 29,500 lb payload, which includes additional weapon stations and the longest stand-off air-to-air engagement range of any U.S. fighter.

    Boeing F-15C Eagle (35460652794)” by Ronnie Macdonald from Chelmsford, United Kingdom is licensed under CC BY 2.0

    The Air Force has already invested in the F-15EX program, with a substantial contract awarded to Boeing and plans to acquire a total of 144 aircraft.

    F-15A Georgia” by Rob Schleiffert is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

    The new jet can swiftly integrate modern systems due to its Open Mission Systems (OMS) architecture, allowing for rapid upgrades and capability enhancements.

    210426-F-XG347-1008” by pqgw is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

    It promises to be a significant force multiplier by increasing situational awareness, as highlighted by retired Air Force major Ryan Bodenheimer who remarked, “this is going to be a huge force multiplier because it increases your situational awareness by allowing you to just kind of breath and see what’s going on.”

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

    Though not as stealthy as its fifth-generation counterparts, the F-15EX adds crucial capacity to the Air Force’s arsenal, representing a strategic choice made by then-Defense Secretary James Mattis to augment the force’s capabilities and maintain competitive leverage.

    Low observability is essential when operating near advanced enemy air defenses, requiring this new fighter to stay mostly outside enemy airspace until those defenses are neutralized.

    This acquisition is also set to alleviate the budgetary pressures of maintaining the older F-15C/D fleet. “Not only are they costing us too much money, but they’re offering us too much risk,” stated Lt. Gen. David S. Nahom.

    He said the Air Force must move out swiftly to bring on the F-15EX “as quickly as we can to recapitalize” F-15C/D units.

    USAF F-15 Strike Eagle” by Ignacio Ferre is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

    Saudi Arabia and Qatar have invested approximately $5 billion in developing their respective versions of the F-15, as stated by Boeing Vice President Prat Kumar, the head of the F-15 program, in an interview from October. The Air Force can now leverage the advantages of this investment.

    USAF F-15 Eagle low pass take off” by Nicky Boogaard is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

    The introduction of the F-15EX into the Oregon-based 142nd Wing not only underscores the importance of upgrading air defense capabilities but also the continuing evolution of military aviation technology.

    Relevant articles:
    Boeing’s New F-15EX Is Proving Its No Ordinary or ‘Old’ F-15 Fighter, The National Interest
    F-15EX Eagle II Archives, airandspaceforces.com
    Joining Up on the F-15EX, Air & Space Forces Magazine
    SILENT EAGLE: BOEING’S PLAN TO MAKE THE F-15 A ‘STEALTH’ FIGHTER, Sandboxx

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