Feb. 2 (UPI) — The Boeing F-15EX fighter jet completed its first flight Tuesday, paving the way for the early delivery of the first two of the new fighter jet to the Air Force later this quarter, Boeing announced.
According to Boeing, the jet took off from St. Louis Lambert International Airport and completed a 90-minute test flight before returning to the airport.
Matt Giese, Boeing F-15’s chief test pilot, checked out the jet’s avionics, advanced systems and software while a test team monitored the data collected during the flight in real time, confirming that the aircraft performed according to plan.
“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.”
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.
In 2019, the Department of Defense outlined plans to spend nearly $7.9 billion over the next five years to restock its F-15 fleet with upgraded versions of the fighter aircraft.
In July, Boeing received a $1.2 billion contract to build the first lot of eight F-15EX fighter jets.
That deal has a $23 billion ceiling, and according to Boeing, future plans call for as many as 144 of the aircraft.
General Electric also landed a $101.3 million contract in June to provide engines for the jet.
The F-15EX is considered the most advanced version of the F-15 to date, featuring the Eagle Passive-Active Warning and Survivability System of electronic warfare systems to improve mission effectiveness and survivability for operators.
The jet’s digital backbone is designed so it can serve as a testbed for future technology insertion.
The 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, described as the world’s fastest mission computer.