The U.S. Air Force has awarded Boeing a nearly $1.2 billion contract to build the first lot of eight F-15EX advanced fighter jets.
The award also covers support and one-time, upfront engineering costs. Already under construction at the Boeing F-15 production facility in St. Louis, the first two jets will be delivered next year.
The U.S. Air Force is also announcing the overall Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity contract with a ceiling value of nearly $23 billion for F-15EX.
“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 programme manager.
The most significant difference between the F-15EX and legacy F-15s lies in its Open Mission Systems (OMS) architecture say the U.S. Air Force. The OMS architecture will enable the “rapid insertion of the latest aircraft technologies”. The F-15EX will also have fly-by-wire flight controls, a new electronic warfare system, advanced cockpit systems, and the latest mission systems and software capabilities available for legacy F-15s.
Pilots and mechanics currently operating the F-15 anticipate transitioning to the F-15EX in a matter of days as opposed to years. Future plans call for as many as 144 aircraft, say Boeing.