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Boeing Unveils Third F-15EX In Final Operational Configuration

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    Boeing Unveils Third F-15EX In Final Operational Configuration

    After more than two years since the inaugural flight, Boeing first flew the third F-15EX Eagle II (EX-3), which was also the first aircraft built in its final operational configuration. The aircraft flies with only primer paint and a small serial number (20-0003) on its twin tails, and will receive final livery and insignia before delivery to the US Air Force (USAF).

    For the record, the first flight of the F-15EX Eagle II was carried out on February 2 2021. The first flight of this aircraft was carried out in St. Petersburg. Louis, Missouri, United States.

    Quoted from theaviationist.com (28/10/2023), the third F-15EX Eagle II completed the first stage of Integrated Test & Evaluation (IT&E). 

    Throughout this phase, the F-15EX participated in 19 Large Force Exercises interacting with fifth generation aircraft. This aircraft marks the longest deployment of an air-to-air missile and confirms the F-15EX's first deployment of the longest-running non-nuclear air-to-surface munition in the inventory.

    This data is currently being analyzed by the Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center and the Office of the Secretary of Defense Director of Operational Test and Evaluation, which will inform the next step of the program, namely the full-rate production phase of the F-15EX. The decision is expected to be announced later this year, according to the US Air Force.

    “Six F-15EXs are expected to be delivered between the end of the fourth quarter of fiscal 2023 and the first quarter of fiscal 2024,” said Donn Yates, executive director at Boeing Air Force Fighters and Trainers Business Development. 

    Four of these aircraft will join the EX-1 and EX-2 at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, while the final two aircraft are expected to join Kingsley Field in Klamath Falls, Oregon.

    However, plans to establish a Formal Training Unit (FTU) for the F-15EX are being reconsidered, as the Air Force evaluates the infrastructure at Kingsley Field and the suitability of the airspace for the F-35 Lightning FTU. 

    If the plan goes through, F-15 training would be taken over by Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina, which is already home to the FTU F-15E Strike Eagle. Plans for the 142nd Wing at Portland National Guard Air Base to become the first operational F-15EX unit in fiscal year 2025 are still underway.

    Because it is purchased in hundreds and will later become the backbone of US air power, before the full production phase is carried out, everything must be considered carefully. The US Air Force finally purchased 104 F-15EX fighter aircraft, down from the original 144 units.

    Due to a decrease in the number of orders, the unit cost of 104 aircraft will increase to US$93.95 million in adjusted dollars. 2020 baseline program, as documented in the Air Force acquisition report. Boeing initially estimated the unit cost of the F-15EX at US$80 million per aircraft.

    In a separate report, the US Air Force reported a jump in unit costs for the F-15 Eagle Passive/Active Warning Survivability System (EPAWSS), as it drastically reduces the amount of electronic warfare equipment it will purchase to equip the F-15E Strike Eagle. 

    The EPAWSS package is sold separately. Meanwhile, the unit price of the F-15EX increased by $17 million per unit—making the twin-engibe fighter aircraft cost US$111 million.

    The F-15EX program actually saw a unit cost reduction of 5.24 percent from the 2020 program baseline, which was the result of a U.S. Air Force reversal on several fleet reduction plans. Further tinkering with the final aircraft procurement numbers would likely impact the Acquisition Procurement Units Cost (APUC) of $93.95 million.

    Boeing builds the F-15EX, which is based on the F-15QA Ababil built for Qatar. Changes from the F-15E include a very powerful processor, two additional weapons stations, and a fly-by-wire system. At the start of the program, Boeing estimated unit costs at around $80 million for the F-15EX.

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