Home Air Boeing secures first US Air Force F-15EX fighter contract

Boeing secures first US Air Force F-15EX fighter contract

First F-15EX aircraft
US Air Force photo of the first F-15EX at Boeing's St. Louis facility

The US Air Force has awarded Boeing a $1.2 billion contract for the delivery of the first eight of the 76 F-15EX fighter aircraft currently planned for acquisition.

The overall indefinite delivery indefinite quantity contract has a ceiling value of nearly $23 billion for the 76 airframes while future plans call for as many as 144 aircraft, according to Boeing.

The F-15EX will replace the oldest F-15C/Ds in the service’s inventory. Eight F-15EX aircraft were approved in the fiscal year 2020 budget and 12 were requested in the FY21 budget. Boeing is already building the first two F-15s at its facility in St. Louis, and will deliver them next year. The remaining six aircraft are scheduled to deliver in fiscal year 2023.

“The F-15EX is the most affordable and immediate way to refresh the capacity and update the capabilities provided by our aging F-15C/D fleets,” said Gen. Mike Holmes, commander of Air Combat Command. “The F-15EX is ready to fight as soon as it comes off the line.”

“When delivered, we expect bases currently operating the F-15 to transition to the new EX platform in a matter of months versus years,” Holmes said.

The F-15EX is a two-seat fighter with US-only capabilities. It features a deep magazine that can carry a load of advanced weapons. The platform also requires minimal transitional training or additional manpower and little to no infrastructure changes, ensuring the continuation of the mission. As an upgraded fourth-generation jet, the F-15EX will complement the more expensive F-35 Joint Strike Fighters.

The most significant difference between the F-15EX and legacy F-15s lies in its open mission systems (OMS) architecture. The OMS architecture will enable the rapid insertion of the latest aircraft technologies. The F-15EX will also have fly-by-wire flight controls, a new electronic warfare system, advanced cockpit systems, and the latest mission systems and software capabilities available for legacy F-15s.

“The F-15EX’s digital backbone, open mission systems, and generous payload capacity fit well with our vision for future net-enabled warfare,” said Dr. Will Roper, assistant secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics. “Continually upgrading systems, and how they share data across the Joint Force, is critical for defeating advanced threats. F-15EX is designed to evolve from day one.”

The first eight F-15EX aircraft will be fielded at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, to support testing efforts. The Air Force is using the strategic basing process to determine the fielding locations for subsequent aircraft lots.