Is it the IAF's next advanced fighter? Boeing F-15EX makes first flight

Israel's defense establishment watches with interest as Boeing tests its most advanced version of the F-15, raising speculation that Israel may seek to acquire the jet    

Is it the IAF's next advanced fighter? Boeing F-15EX makes first flight

Photo: Boeing

Boeing's new F-15EX fighter completed its first flight on Monday, drawing interest in Israel's defense establishment and military as the country seeks to effectively face current and future challenges in the Middle East.

Israel and Boeing have a longstanding relationship, with F-15 variants playing a key role in the IAF's operational doctrine. The F-15 is seen as force multiplier as it can serve as a command and control platform, deliver precision standoff munitions, and carry out very long-range missions, among others. 

Such capabilities as well as the fact that the F-15 has a two-person crew enables it to assume roles that are considered less suitable for the F-35. Israel's F-15I, a variant of the F-15E, was the IAF's most advanced aircraft until the country acquired the stealth fighters.   

The F-15EX's digital backbone means it can serve as a testbed for future technology insertion, considered a key capability. Modern variants of the F-15 also include fly-by-wire flight controls, an all-new digital cockpit, modern AESA radar and the ADCP-II, the world's fastest mission computer. The F-15EX, the most advanced version to date, features the Eagle Passive/Active Warning and Survivability System electronic warfare system to improve mission effectiveness and survivability for operators, according to Boeing. 

On Monday, the F-15EX completed a 90-minute flight during which the multirole jet's avionics, advanced systems and software were checked. A test team monitoring the data collected in real time during the flight confirmed that the aircraft performed as planned, Boeing said. The test is seen as paving the way for the early delivery of the first two jets to the U.S. Air Force later this quarter.

In July, the U.S. Air Force awarded Boeing a contract to build the first eight F-15EX fighters. Future plans call for as many as 144 aircraft.  

"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 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."

You might be interested also