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    F-15EX Eagle II: A New Era in Air Superiority for the National Guard

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    The delivery of the first operational F-15EX Eagle II fighter jet to the Oregon Air National Guard marks a significant milestone, not only for the 142nd Wing but for the entire National Guard as it becomes the first branch to receive a major weapon system ahead of the active-duty force.

    The arrival of the aircraft, serial #008, signals a new era in air superiority for the United States.

    The Eagle II, an advanced version of the legendary F-15 platform, enhances capabilities with state-of-the-art avionics, a robust electronic warfare suite, and the power to carry an arsenal of next-generation munitions.

    With a quieter engine and a fresh design that includes additional sensors, a new glass cockpit, and an additional weapon station under each wing, the F-15EX stands as a formidable force.

    Colonel Michael B. Kosderka of the Oregon Air National Guard expressed the significance of this event, stating, “It’s incredibly exciting, super humbling,” highlighting the unprecedented nature of the Air National Guard receiving such a major weapon system first.

    Despite the project being about eight months behind schedule due to manufacturing issues and a transition in Boeing’s production process, the delivery of the F-15EX Eagle II remains within the contractual time frame, with more units slated to arrive soon.

    Boeing is expected to deliver the remainder of Lot 1B—five more airplanes—within the upcoming weeks.

    Boeing has faced challenges in producing the F-15EX, which included adapting the full-size determinant assembly process for the forward fuselage. But lessons learned from initial quality deficiencies have been applied moving forward.

    Mark Sears, vice president of Boeing Fighters, acknowledged the complexities, saying, “But the complexity of the systems work relative to what we’ve done in the past was a challenge.”

    He assures that production of the F-15EX is proceeding at the planned rate and that workflow has been optimized for future deliveries.

    Originally planned to comprise a fleet of 144 aircraft, the number of F-15EX jets is now expected to top out at 98, based on the Air Force’s fiscal 2025 budget request.

    However, lawmakers on Capitol Hill have voiced their concerns about the Air Force’s decreasing fighter inventory and have indicated the possibility of adding more F-15EXs to the budget.

    Despite not being a stealth aircraft and having a cost comparable to the F-35, around $80-$90 million per plane, the F-15EX brings additional capabilities to the table.

    The aircraft can carry oversize munitions that won’t fit in the F-35’s weapons bay, such as hypersonic missiles, and its electronic warfare suite, the Eagle Passive Active Warning Survivability System (EPAWSS), boosts its ability to tackle highly contested airspace.

    The F-15EX Eagle II is also making waves on the international front. Indonesia has declared its interest in acquiring the EX version, and Boeing continues to market the jet to other countries, contributing to the program’s resilience despite budget fluctuations.

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