Amid sketchy details of a possible offer to the US Air Force from Boeing for an advanced variant of the Eagle, dubbed F-15X, it’s worth looking at the current status of the mighty St Louis fighter.
A $6.2 billion order from the government of Qatar for 36 F-15QA (Qatari Advanced) fighters is the latest in a long line of successes for the Eagle. In fact, the Boeing heavyweight is enjoying something of a renaissance, having scratched around for new business a decade ago. Today, money from Qatar and from Saudi Arabia has injected new life into the St Louis-based program that is now marketed as the Advanced F-15, and which has set a new benchmark for the fighter that first flew 46 years ago.
Steve Parker, Boeing’s vice-president of F-15 programs says the Eagle is going to be around for a long time. ‘We’re happy with where it is now. The beast is still unbelievable and it’s only getting better.’
The F-15QA will be the most capable variant to date, building on the already-impressive F-15SA for Saudi Arabia by adding new 10 x 19-in Large Area Displays (LADs) in both cockpits and adding the new AN/APG-82(V)1 Advanced Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar that is also currently being retrofitted to US Air Force F-15Es. Parker told Combat Aircraft: ‘The old days of the F-15 trying to hang in there are gone — we are foot-to-the-floor and seeing a lot of interest.’
More details of F-15 advances and status are available in our May 2018 issue, as Jamie Hunter writes: EAGLE — At full throttle!