Boeing reported earlier this week the first test flight of its upgraded version of the F-15 Eagle was "successful," paving the way for two of these fighter jets to be delivered to the US Air Force later this quarter.
The F-15EX took off and landed from St. Louis Lambert International Airport in Missouri on Tuesday, completing a 90-minute test flight before returning to the airport.
Check out the #F15EX as it makes its historic first flight. F-15EX is built on a digital thread, allowing it to also serve as a testbed to incorporate future tech and capability for the @USAirForce. pic.twitter.com/6ulnxuy1fm— The Boeing Company (@Boeing) February 3, 2021
Matt Giese, Boeing F-15EX's chief test pilot, said the new fighter jet is packed with "advanced systems and software." Boeing's team on the ground monitored the aircraft's performance during the flight test.
"Today's successful flight proves the jet's safety and readiness to join our nation's fighter fleet," said Prat Kumar, Boeing vice president, and F-15 program manager. "Our workforce is excited to build a modern fighter aircraft for the US Air Force."
The updated F-15 "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," Kumar said.
The Department of Defense first requested eight F-15EX fighter jets that could be delivered as soon as this year. The military wants upwards of 144 of these fighter jets in the next five years.
Even though the Trump administration has spent tens of billions on F-35 fifth-generation fighters, the Air Force, for some reason, still wants to obtain a 45-year-old fourth-generation fighter.
The reason behind the move could be due to the F-35's internal bomb bays aren't large enough to carry hypersonic missiles.
The Air Force is expected to purchase the F-15EX without reducing the fleet of 1,763 F-35s that it has long planned.