As Qatar is getting ready to receive its first F-15s in 2021, the United States has awarded two of its major defense companies for the support of the former’s air force, upgrading its technical and logistical abilities.
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On Monday, Boeing was awarded an additional contract worth $657 million for the sustainment and logistical support for the F-15QA aircraft, whose first batch is going to be delivered to the Qatari Air Force the next year.
“The Boeing Co., St. Louis, Missouri, has been awarded a $657,200,000 undefinitized contract action modification (P00025) to contract FA8634-18-C-2701 for the F-15Q Qatar program. The contract modification provides a comprehensive sparing program and contractor logistics support for the sustainment of the F-15QA aircraft. Logistical support for training devices and administrative costs are also included in this modification,” mentioned the press release.
The work is stated to be completed at the Al-Udeid Air Base in Doha. Qatar, interestingly, is a customer to three of the major western 4th generation aircraft and has placed orders for the Dassault Rafale, Eurofighter Typhoon, and the F-15E Strike Eagle (QA variant) alike.
The country’s mainstay fighters as of now are just a few (only 9) Mirage-2000 jets and some six aging light-attack Alpha Jets.
In addition to Boeing, Raytheon was also awarded a $77.63 million contract to upgrade Qatar Air Force’s ground installations for smoother operations of its upcoming fighter jets.
“Raytheon Integrated Defense Solutions, Tewksbury, Massachusetts, has been awarded a $77,639,897 fixed-price, incentive-firm contract with firm-fixed-price, cost-plus-fixed-fee, cost-reimbursable and time and material contract line item numbers for the Qatar Air Operations Center (AOC) upgrade.
The contract is to upgrade the AOC and alternate AOC (AAOC), which includes the procurement of hardware and software, engineering services, installation, integration, and testing of AOC and AAOC components, end-user training, spares and help desk support outside the continental U.S. Work will be performed in Tewksbury, Massachusetts; and Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, and is expected to be completed March 31, 2025,” the release added.
The F-15 is not a new name. It is a proven, battle-tested design and one of the longest produced aircraft. It is among the most successful modern fighters, with over 100 victories and no losses in aerial combat, with the majority of the kills by the Israeli Air Force.
The QA is said to be the most advanced variant of the aircraft, which performed its maiden flight only recently in April 2020. It is based on the F-15SA that is in production for Saudi Arabia and has the same fly-by-wire flight control system introduced by the Saudi version.
It also has Raytheon’s APG-63(V)3 AESA radar, Lockheed Martin AAS-42 Tiger Eyes infrared search, and track system, a redesigned internal wing structure, and two additional wing hardpoints that allow it to carry up to 16 AIM-120 AMRAAM air-to-air missiles. Qatar placed an order for 36 F-15QAs in June 2017.
The United States itself took inspiration from the QA variant and developed the latest EX variant for its own air force. It is a single-seat variant of the QA, and the USAF aims to acquire 144 of these aircraft.