Most advanced version of venerable F-15 fighter jet rolls out
Boeing, the US Air Force, and the Qatar Emiri Air Force (QEAF) have celebrated the rollout and naming of the first of 36 production F-15QA fighter jets in the run up to the first deliveries. Formally named the “Ababil,” after the flock of birds mentioned in the Quran, the most advanced version of the venerable F-15 family was developed for Qatar under a US$6.2-billion contract from the US Department of Defense.
The August 25, 2021 ceremony came 16 months after the first prototype took to the air on April 23, 2020 from Lambert International Airport in St. Louis, during which it demonstrated its vertical climb capabilities. Since then, QEAF pilots have been undergoing pre-delivery pilot training, which will culminate in ferrying the first aircraft to Qatar later this year.
Once delivered, Boeing will provide training for aircrew and maintenance personnel at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar through 2024, as well as spare parts and logistical support.
“The Qatar F-15QA program further enhanced next-generation technologies in the advanced F-15 such as the fly-by-wire flight controls, an all-glass digital cockpit and contemporary sensors, radar and electronic warfare capabilities,” says Prat Kumar, vice president of the F-15 program. “Driven by digital engineering and advanced manufacturing, these aircraft represent a transformational leap for the F-15. The F-15QA will enhance the superiority of the QEAF with more speed, range and payload than any fighter in the world.”
Boeing will also produce a domestic version of the fighter jet, called the F-15EX. The first tranche of eight airframes will be followed by a fleet of up to 144 for the USAF.
Highlights of the roll out can be seen in the video below.