U.S. Defense Department Ordered Eight Boeing F-15EX Fighters

Boeing F-15EX Multi-role Fighter Jet

The Defense Department plans to spend $1.2 billion for eight Boeing-developed F-15EX fighter jets over the next three years, the company and the Air Force announced Monday, a contract that will provide a much-needed boost to the embattled aerospace manufacturer at a time when the market for commercial aircraft remains in a state of turmoil.

The deal marks the first major purchase in a long-term, $23 billion program to update the Air Force’s aging fleet of fighter jets and provides a competitive option for Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

Under the terms of the deal, Boeing will build a new version of its F-15, an older fighter jet developed in the 1960s, with new automated flight controls and electronic warfare capabilities. The newer model, known as the F-15EX, will be designed to carry heavier weaponry than smaller, stealthier jets like the F-35.

“The F-15EX’s digital backbone, open mission systems, and generous payload capacity fit well with our vision for future net-enabled warfare,” said Will Roper, assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, technology and logistics.

A Boeing news release published Monday boasted that engineers would be able to adapt from older F-15 jets to the new F-15EX in a matter of days. Its larger payload capacity will allow it to carry hypersonic weapons, a major recent priority for the Defense Department.

“We listened to our customer every step of the way when developing this exciting jet,” said Prat Kumar, Boeing vice president and F-15 program manager. “What we will soon deliver is a modern and robust aircraft that supports our nation’s defense by incorporating the latest systems, sensors and weapons.”

That division has been bolstered by a series of high-profile wins in recent years, including a $9.2 billion contract for Air Force training jets and an $805 million contract to develop aerial refueling drones.

The F-15EX program gives Boeing a stable source of short-term cash and a seat at the table in a lucrative Pentagon fighter jet business dominated by Lockheed Martin. The contract announced Tuesday carries a ceiling of $23 billion, and Pentagon planning documents call for purchases of roughly 12 per year.

But analysts caution that the long-term value of the program could hinge on political factors. If the defense budget were restricted by new leadership in Congress or the White House, the F-15EX might be at risk.

“There’s a very good chance that if the Trump administration ends, this program is going to end,” said Richard Aboulafia, an aerospace analyst with Teal Group.

© 2020, GDC. © GDC and www.globaldefensecorp.com. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to www.globaldefensecorp.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.