Military

Boeing's F-15EX fighter jet completes first test flight

Boeing's F-15EX fighter jet co...
The F-15EX fighter jet performs a vertical "Viking" takeoff on its maiden flight
The F-15EX fighter jet performs a vertical "Viking" takeoff on its maiden flight
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The F-15EX fighter jet performs a vertical "Viking" takeoff on its maiden flight
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The F-15EX fighter jet performs a vertical "Viking" takeoff on its maiden 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.

Source: Boeing

7 comments
ChairmanLMAO
I seem to remember seeing a Russian jet doing that maneouver. Oh, wait! That one was going in to a stall. What's this one doing. Going straight up?
guzmanchinky
Didn't this thing first fly like 40 years ago? Amazing that it's still so current...
Derek Howe
I don't see the point. We have 2 different 5th Gen Fighters, which are both world class. While we are testing the already (secretly) built 6th Gen Fighter. It's a complete waste of money to create a new & improved 4th Gen Fighter.
Tommo
Does anyone think these would make an ideal drone? Having a few of these flying without pilots as back up for manned fighter jets makes a bit of sense.
Kpar
I notice that this is a version of the Strike Eagle, a ground-attack variant, not a pure fighter of whatever generation.

Going with an airframe that has proven over the test of time surely provides enough cost-savings over the 5th and 6th Gen aircraft.

And the new technology added to the existing successful design will enhance its capabilities, especially in conjunction with the newer deployed aircraft.

My question is: Why does this EX model lack the mods that were built into the never produced "Silent Eagle" F-15 that incorporated stealth features?
jerryd
Why are we not building much better, lighter, smaller all wing fighters as with a single jet with vectored thrust would be far cheaper and do the same job.
Or something like the F-16XL in shape.
Or pull the same thing on an F18XL and get rid of the big costly fighters.
Bring the Boeing VTOL back.
KISS
Dan_Linder
Derek Howe wrote:
> I don't see the point. We have 2 different 5th Gen Fighters, which are both world class.
> While we are testing the already (secretly) built 6th Gen Fighter. It's a complete waste
> of money to create a new & improved 4th Gen Fighter.

Agreed that we (United States) have 5th gen fighters, but their cost per unit is too high for other countries to purchase making their lifetime cost to maintain and upgrade fall 100% on the United States. If this F-15EX is more affordable by other countries, it will provide them many of the benefits of the advanced avionics at a much lower price point.

And the F-15EX is using a tried-and-true frame with well-understood flight characteristics, so it is easier for Boeing to produce these and continue to support the existing fleet of F-15 planes already deployed.

And as "Tommo" mentioned, once you get these F-15EX with 100% fly-by-wire and updated avionics, they become an addition to the Skyborg project. Using these as advanced drones that fly side-by-side with the 5th gen fighters would make each 5th gen fighter 10x more capable as the F-15EX could cycle between the battlespace and the refuling/rearming base keeping the 5th gen fighter pilot fully armed and able to react with more force than having multiple fighters/pilots trying to work in unison.