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    A New Era in Air Defense: Oregon ANG Set to Soar with Cutting-Edge F-15EX Eagle II Jets

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    In a stride toward modernizing U.S. air defense capabilities, the Oregon Air National Guard is gearing up for a significant upgrade with the arrival of the advanced F-15EX Eagle II fighter jets. These state-of-the-art aircraft promise to revolutionize the military landscape, not only in Oregon but across the nation.

    Known officially as the Eagle II, the F-15EX is the latest iteration of the F-15 Eagle Mission Design Series from aerospace giant Boeing. This next-generation fighter aircraft is an enhanced version of the venerable fourth-generation F-15, boasting an array of upgrades that include a digital backbone, open architecture, and the capacity to carry a formidable arsenal of up to 12 air-to-air missiles.

    In January 2023, two F-15EXs demonstrated this expanded missile carriage capacity, a stark improvement over the eight-missile limit of their predecessors.

    Designed for affordability and versatility, the F-15EX has a payload capacity of 13,300kg and the unique ability to launch hypersonic weapons up to 22 feet in length.

    The first F-15EX took flight in February 2021 and was officially welcomed into the USAF at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, where it underwent an extensive series of tests, including acoustic testing in November 2022 to ensure compliance with noise level regulations.

    The F-15EX program was kickstarted with the acquisition of eight aircraft, as part of a broader plan to replace the Oregon Air National Guard’s aging F-15C/D fleet. Lt. Col Scott Wilcox, commander of the 142nd Civil Engineering Squadron, referred to this upgrade as “an immense deal for Oregon.”

    The state’s Air National Guard base in Portland is set to receive 18 of these jets, along with hundreds of millions of dollars in infrastructure improvements, including a new $110 million hangar to house the jets’ sensitive technology.

    Col. Mike Kosderka, commander of the 142nd Wing, underscored the urgency of the upgrade, given that the current fleet includes jets dating back to 1985 with technology based on 1970s computers. He emphasized that the new F-15EX offers capabilities such as jamming and self-protection that the older models lack.

    In the international arena, Boeing has secured a license to offer the F-15EX to the Indian Air Force and confirmed plans to conclude a sale of 24 aircraft to Indonesia. This highlights the global interest in the fighter’s advanced capabilities.

    But the F-15EX isn’t just about combat superiority; it’s also a boost to the local economy. The introduction of the new jets and the accompanying infrastructural developments are expected to inject significant investment into Oregon.

    Maj. Gen. Mike Stencel, the Adjutant General, Oregon National Guard, expressed that this move provides a “great sense of purpose moving forward” for all Airmen involved in the F-15 operations.

    The Oregon Air National Guard is also expanding its training facilities, with a new center for the 125th Special Tactics Squadron.

    This investment in infrastructure is so considerable that Lt. Col. Wilcox estimated Oregon is receiving about 40% of the country’s entire Air National Guard construction budget this year.

    OVER THE GULF OF MEXICO — First Lt. Charles Schuck fires an AIM-7 Sparrow medium range air-to-air missile from an F-15 Eagle here while supporting a Combat Archer air-to-air weapons system evaluation program mission. He and other Airmen of the 71st Fighter Squadron deployed from Langley Air Force Base, Va., to Tyndall AFB, Fla., to support the program. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Michael Ammons)

    As Oregon prepares for the arrival of the F-15EX, slated to begin in the summer of 2024, the Air National Guard is poised for a seamless transition to a more robust and technologically advanced fleet.

    These new jets ensure that the Oregon Air National Guard remains at the forefront of aerial defense, with increased survivability and enhanced combat capabilities in a rapidly evolving theater of operations.

    Relevant articles:
    F-15EX Fighter Jet, US, airforce-technology.com
    Oregon Air National Guard base set to receive new jets and a massive overhaul, Oregon Public Broadcasting – OPB
    Oregon Air National Guard to Receive F-15EX Fighter Jets, 142nd Wing (.mil)
    Oregon’s Air National Guard to Acquire Advanced F-15EX Jets in Military Upgrade, Trendy Digests

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