US-based aircraft maker Boeing, recently 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 next-generation capabilities during its 90-minute mission.
“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’s flight test team, led by chief test pilot Matt Giese, implemented a precise mission checklist to test the multirole aircraft’s capabilities. The aircraft demonstrated its maneuverability during its vertical “Viking” 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.
A test team monitoring the data in real time confirmed the aircraft performed as planned.
“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 programme 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. In the field, the F-15 costs half the cost per flight hour of similar fighter aircraft and delivers far more payload at far greater ranges. That’s success for the warfighter.”
The U.S. Department of Defence awarded Boeing a $6.2bn contract in 2017 to manufacture 36 F-15 fighter jets for the QEAF. In addition, Boeing was awarded a U.S. Air Force foreign military sale contract in 2019 for F-15QA aircrew and maintenance training for the QEAF.
Boeing said it will begin delivering aircraft to the customer in 2021.