The US Air Force (USAF) has given Boeing a go-ahead worth nearly $1.2bn for eight F15EX combat aircraft. The F-15EX jets are also contenders for the Indian MMRCA contract and competing against French Rafales, Russian SU-35s, American F/A 18 Super Hornets & F-21s besides the Swedish Gripen.
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The most-advanced F15 ever built is expected to assist the USAF to meet its capacity requirements and add the combat capability to its aircraft fleet. The F15EX will be able to carry more munitions than the earlier versions and be able to launch hypersonic weapons, up to 22ft in length.
“The F-15EX is the most advanced version of the F-15 ever built, due in large part to its digital backbone,” said Lori Schneider, Boeing F-15EX program manager. “Its unmatched range, price and best-in-class payload capacity make the F-15EX an attractive choice for the U.S. Air Force.”
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“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.”
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The US Air Force says that as many as 144 of the type could be ordered to replace older F15 models. Kumar added “We listened to our customer every step of the way when developing this exciting jet. “What we will soon deliver is a modern and robust aircraft that supports our nation’s defence by incorporating the latest systems, sensors and weapons.”
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As EurAsian Times reported earlier, the F-15EX made a comeback after the US Air Force placed an order for eight which could go up to 72, will join the F/A 18 Super Hornet and the F 21 ( a variant of the F-16) that are already on offer for India under MMRCA contract.
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Besides the French jets, American and Russian jets are head to head once again for the lucrative Indian defence tender. The high-end heavyweight aircraft F-15EX represents the modernization of the cold war era jet offered to India under the MMRCA contract under which India plans to jointly manufacture 114 high-end jets that can meet the dual challenge of Pakistan and China.