The fourth-generation fighter has been upgraded with larger weapon capacity and advanced flight control systems.
"This is a big moment for the Air Force," Col. Sean Dorey, F-15EX program manager with the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center's Fighters and Advanced Aircraft Directorate, responsible for the acquisition, modernization and sustainment of the aircraft, said Thursday in a press release.
We first proposed the question in 2019 of why the Trump administration was rushing to procure an upgrade version of the 45-year old jet. We suggested, at the time, it was due to weapon capacity issues of the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor and Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II "were not able to accommodate heavier weapons, such as hypersonic missiles."
Last month, the F-15EX completed its first test flight from St. Louis Lambert International Airport in Missouri. Here's a video of the flight:
Check out the #F15EX as it makes its historic first flight. F-15EX is built on a digital thread, allowing it to also serve as a testbed to incorporate future tech and capability for the @USAirForce. pic.twitter.com/6ulnxuy1fm— The Boeing Company (@Boeing) February 3, 2021