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    Beyond the Horizon: The F-15EX’s Long-Range Capabilities

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    The F-15EX Eagle II, an evolutionary leap in the U.S. Air Force’s fighter arsenal, has continued to carve its niche as the high-speed, high-altitude dominator in the skies.

    The newest addition to the Air Force, the F-15EX, has been rigorously tested. The aircraft’s advanced design allows it to carry a substantial payload, including the potential for hypersonic missiles, further cementing its role as a versatile and formidable warrior in modern aerial combat.

    This new generation of the iconic F-15, based on the F-15QA, fulfills the urgent need to replace the aging F-15C/D models.

    With a notable emphasis on high speed, long range, and a staggering payload increased 29,500 pounds, the F-15EX stands out as an air-to-air and air-to-ground behemoth.

    The aircraft’s impressive arsenal boasts a combination of up to 12 AIM-9 Sidewinders or AIM-120 AMRAAMs, or a mix of up to 24 air-to-ground munitions, augmented by one internally mounted M61A1 20 mm six-barrel cannon.

    With its advanced APG-82 AESA radar, Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System (JHMCS), and EPAWSS self-defensive suite, the fighter jet claims the title for the longest stand-off air-to-air engagement range of any fighter in the Air Force’s inventory.

    The F-15EX’s groundbreaking digital fly-by-wire flight controls and glass cockpit with a touchscreen interface signify a technological leap.

    The Open Mission System (OMS) software framework sets a foundation for swift upgrades and capability enhancements, ensuring the jet remains at the cutting edge of combat effectiveness.

    On July 13, 2020, the USAF awarded Boeing a $1.2 billion contract for the first eight F-15EX jets, marking a significant investment in the future of air combat capabilities.

    The initial delivery took place on March 11, 2021, at Eglin AFB.

    The F-15EX’s maiden operational test sortie from Nellis took flight in October 2021, and a live missile was successfully fired for the first time on January 25, 2022. The jet launched a pair of AIM-120s over the Eglin range, a testament to its readiness to join the front lines.

    As the Air Force plans to acquire a total of 104 F-15EX aircraft instead of the originally intended 144, the strategic implications of this decision are under scrutiny.

    Moreover, the F-15EX has sparked interest beyond the U.S., with Israel preparing to send a formal request for 25 of the fighters, underscoring its international appeal.

    Despite its high cost of approximately $93.5 million per unit, the F-15EX’s contributions to the U.S. air dominance cannot be overstated.

    Its prowess in range, armament capacity, and modernized avionics ensures it remains a vital addition to America’s air defense strategy.

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