The first F-15QA fighter developed for the Qatar Emiri Air Force (QEAF) has completed its first flight in St. Louis, US aerospace and defense giant Boeing announced.
The jet was put through its paces during a 90-minute flight, demonstrating maneuverability during its vertical “Viking” takeoff and by pulling nine Gs.
Checks of systems such as avionics and radar were also successful, according to the company. A test team monitoring the data in real time confirmed the aircraft performed as planned.
Boeing is building 36 F-15 fighter jets for the QEAF under a $6.2 billion contract awarded by the US defense department in 2017. The first aircraft is scheduled for delivery in 2021.
In addition, Boeing was awarded a US Air Force foreign military sale contract in 2019 for F-15QA aircrew and maintenance training for the QEAF.
“We are very proud of this accomplishment and looking forward with great excitement to the continued successes of this program,” said Col. Ahmed Al Mansoori, commander, QEAF F-15 Wing. “This successful first flight is an important milestone that brings our squadrons one step closer to flying this incredible aircraft over the skies of Qatar.”
The F-15QA incorporates next-generation technologies such as fly-by-wire flight controls, digital cockpit; modernized sensors, radar, and electronic warfare capabilities.
Through investments in the F-15QA platform and partnership with the US Air Force, Boeing is now preparing to build a domestic variant of the fourth-generation fighter, the F-15EX. F-15EX became a program of record for the Air Force when the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2020 was signed on Dec. 30, 2019.
In January, the Air Force issued public notifications of its intent to award sole-source a contract to Boeing for eight jets. Future plans call for as many as 144 aircraft.