Boeing's F-15EX fighter jet completes first test flight
The latest variant of the venerable F-15 Strike Eagle fighter jet has taken to the skies for the first time. The F-15EX completed its maiden test flight earlier this week, as Boeing prepares to fulfill an initial order of eight of the advanced fighters for the US Air Force.
Boeing was awarded the US$1.2-billion contract to build the first eight F-15EX fighter jets in July last year. This aircraft is the most advanced version of the F-15 that has ever been put together, boasting fly-by-wire controls, greater weapon-carrying capacity, a digital cockpit and the world’s fastest mission computer.
The first ever test flight of the F-15EX was carried out on Tuesday, where the aircraft took off from and landed at St. Louis Lambert International Airport as part of a 90-minute jaunt. Data collected and analyzed across this flight, which included a vertical "Viking" takeoff, confirmed that the jet performed as planned.
“Today’s successful flight proves the jet’s safety and readiness to join our nation’s fighter fleet,” says Prat Kumar, Boeing vice president and F-15 program manager. “Our workforce is excited to build a modern fighter aircraft for the U.S. Air Force. Our customer can feel confident in its decision to invest in this platform that is capable of incorporating the latest advanced battle management systems, sensors and weapons due to the jet’s digital airframe design and open mission systems architecture.”
According to Boeing, this successful test flight clears the way for the delivery of the first two F-15EX jets to the US Air Force later this quarter, with the initial contract calling for the construction of eight in total. As part of a separate agreement, called an Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity contract, future plans allow for the construction of as many as 144 new F-15EX fighter jets for the USAF.