Boeing say they have successfully completed the first flight of the F-15QA fighter, the most advanced version of the jet ever manufactured.
Developed for the Qatar Emiri Air Force (QEAF), the jet demonstrated its capabilities during its 90-minute mission. The flight took off and landed from Lambert International Airport in St. Louis, say the firm.
“We are very proud of this accomplishment and looking forward with great excitement to the continued successes of this program,” said Col. Ahmed Al Mansoori, commander, QEAF F-15 Wing.
“This successful first flight is an important milestone that brings our squadrons one step closer to flying this incredible aircraft over the skies of Qatar.”
Boeing describe the jet on the website:
“The F-15QA brings to its operators next-generation technologies such as fly-by-wire flight controls, digital cockpit; modernized sensors, radar, and electronic warfare capabilities; and the world’s fastest mission computer. Increases in reliability, sustainability and maintainability allow defense operators to affordably remain ahead of current and evolving threats.”
According to Boeing, the aircraft demonstrated its maneuverability during its near-vertical takeoff and by pulling nine Gs, or nine times the force of earth’s gravity, in its subsequent maneuvering in the test airspace. Checks of systems such as avionics and radar were also successful.
“This successful first flight is an important step in providing the QEAF an aircraft with best-in-class range and payload,” said Prat Kumar, Boeing vice president and F-15 program manager.
“The advanced F-15QA not only offers game changing capabilities but is also built using advanced manufacturing processes which make the jet more efficient to manufacture.”
The U.S. Department of Defense awarded Boeing a $6.2 billion contract in 2017 to manufacture 36 F-15 fighter jets for the QEAF.
Boeing will begin delivering aircraft to the customer in 2021. Future plans call for as many as 144 aircraft.