“The F-15EX is the most advanced version of the F-15 ever built, due in large part to its digital backbone,” Lori Schneider, Boeing F-15EX program manager, said in a press release Monday. “Its unmatched range, price and best-in-class payload capacity make the F-15EX an attractive choice for the U.S. Air Force.”
Boeing has been given nearly $1.2 billion for the Air Force's first-delivery order of eight F-15EXs as well as for support and one-time, upfront engineering costs. The order will help the Air Force meet its capacity requirements and "add capability to its fighter fleet," according to Boeing.
The aircraft will be manufactured at Boeing's F-15 production facility in St. Louis and delivered to Eglin Air Force Base in Florida.
According to the Pentagon, the funding will go toward "design, development, integration, manufacturing, test, verification, certification, delivery, sustainment and modification of F-15EX aircraft," as well as spares, support equipment, training materials, technical data and technical support.
The F-15EX carries more weapons than any other fighter in its class, can launch hypersonic weapons up to 22 feet long and weighs up to 7,000 pounds.
“F-15EX brings together benefits of digital engineering, open mission systems and agile software development to keep it affordable and upgradable for decades to come,” said Prat Kumar, Boeing vice president and F-15 program manager. “This means we can rapidly test and field new capabilities on F-15EX keeping our warfighters ahead of threats.”
The first two jets are expected to be delivered in the second quarter of fiscal year 2021, while the rest will be delivered in fiscal year 2023.
“When delivered, we expect bases currently operating the F-15 to transition to the new EX platform in a matter of months versus years,” Gen. Mike Holmes, commander of Air Combat Command, said in a statement.
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Following the first eight jets, which were approved in the budget for fiscal year 2020, the Air Force has requested 12 F-15EX aircraft in fiscal year 2021 and plans to ask for 76 F-15EX aircraft over the five-year Future Years Defense Program.
The contract is an indefinite delivery indefinite quantity contract, which "provide[s] for an indefinite quantity of services for a fixed time," according to the U.S. General Services Administration. The contract is used when the GSA "can’t determine, above a specified minimum, the precise quantities of supplies or services that the government will require during the contract period."