The Air Force has awarded a $1.2 billion contract to Boeing, for development of the first eight F-15EX aircraft. Boeing will design, develop, integrate, manufacture, test, verify, certify, deliver and modify the aircraft – which will replace the aging fleets of F-15C/Ds. The plan calls for the Air Force to purchase 76 F-15EXs over the next five years.
The two-seater aircraft will feature a host of U.S.-only capabilities, to include a deep magazine that can carry a load of advanced weapons. Because most of its systems are similar to its predecessors, the F-15EX will require “minimal transitional training or additional manpower and little to no infrastructural changes,” the Air Force stated. Also, the newer plane will feature Open Mission Systems architecture, allowing for the rapid inclusion of new technologies as they emerge. It will offer fly-by-wire flight controls, a new electronic warfare system, advanced cockpit systems, and the most recent mission and software systems now in use on legacy F-15 aircraft.
The eight new planes will be based at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.