US Air Force Test Two F-15EX Jets in Northern Edge 21 Exercise

F-15EXs sit on the ramp prior to flight at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in support of Northern Edge 2021. Credit: USAF / 1st Lt Savanah Bray.

The exercise, which started on 3 May, is being conducted on and above the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex, the Gulf of Alaska, and temporary maritime activities area.

Hosted by the US Pacific Air Forces, the joint training exercise will see participation from over 15,000 service members. It will run until 14 May.

According to the USAF, F-15EX’s participation in the exercise will allow the service to implement changes in advance before fielding.

During the exercise, F-15EX pilots, test engineers and others from both the 85th TES, 53rd Wing and 40th Flight Test Squadron, 96th Test Wing, are gathering test data points to include the performance of technological advancements and subsystems, overall radar performance, as well as interoperability with other platforms.

Furthermore, F-15EX team members are gathering test data points and accomplishing test objectives related to the aircraft’s various systems.

Some of the systems being evaluated for their performance are Eagle Passive Active Warning Survivability System, overall radar system, cockpit, and digital Helmet Mounted Cueing System.

USAF 85th Test and Evaluation Squadron F-15EX pilot major Aaron Eshkenazi said: “At Northern Edge we’re assessing how the F-15EX can perform in a jamming environment, to include GPS, radar and Link 16 jamming.

“The other main goal is assessing the EX’s interoperability with fourth and fifth-generation assets. With more than 60 aircraft airborne during every vulnerability period (vul, the period of time when an aircraft is vulnerable to harm) at Northern Edge, we’re putting the jet in the role it will perform in once it’s fielded and seeing how it does.”

F-15EX is a next-generation fighter aircraft developed by Boeing for the USAF.

It is the latest iteration of the F-15 Eagle Mission Design Series and an upgraded version of the F-15 fourth-generation fighter jet.

Northern Edge 21 is a US Indo-Pacific Command exercise designed to provide ‘high-end, realistic warfighter training’ and is aimed at enhancing joint interoperability.

The exercise also enhances the combat readiness of the participating nations.

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