New F-15EX Eagles arrive at Eglin AFB

F-15EX Eagles arrive at Eglin AFB
Photo Credit: US Air Force

The US Air Force’s latest fleet additions, the F-15EX Eagle IIs, designated as EX3 and EX4, have landed at Eglin Air Force Base on December 20.

This marks a significant milestone as the Air Force expands its capabilities, with the total number of F-15EXs now standing at four, all strategically positioned at Eglin AFB.

The Test Wings Operating the Eagles

Owned by the 96th Test Wing (EX3) and the 53rd Wing (EX4), these cutting-edge aircraft are more than just symbols of power—they embody the future of air combat.

According to Lt. Col. Christopher Wee, Operational Flight Program Combined Test Force commander, “The F-15EX has met every challenge we’ve thrown at it to date and the platform is on the cusp of being ready for the warfighter.”

These two new Eagles bring to the table features and capabilities that set them apart from their predecessors.

Notable additions include the cockpit pressure monitor and warning system, a crucial enhancement for pilot safety.

Additionally, an ultra-high frequency antenna for satellite communications has been integrated, expanding the aircraft’s connectivity capabilities. Moreover, the forward fuselage has been redesigned specifically for the U.S. Air Force.

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Photo Credit: US Air Force

The Role of Eglin AFB

The F-15EX test platforms stationed at Eglin AFB are poised to accelerate the development of capabilities, not just for the platform itself, but for the entire spectrum of combat aircraft.

Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Geraghty, 96th Test Wing commander, emphasizes the integrated test approach, stating, “Our integrated test approach, which combines developmental and operational tests, brings the future faster to the warfighter.”

2023: From Alaska to Utah

The F-15EX program at Eglin AFB has had a dynamic year, with the two new aircraft not only arriving but actively participating in critical missions.

In May, these Eagles soared over the skies of Alaska, contributing to and supporting Northern Edge 2023.

Photo Credits: US Air Force

Subsequently, in June, the F-15EX executed advanced weapons integration missions at Hill AFB, Utah, showcasing its ability to employ sophisticated air-to-ground weapons effectively.

The culmination of these efforts has resulted in a glowing report from the Operational Test and Evaluation director.

The report affirms that the F-15EX is operationally effective, suitable, and survivable against threats likely to be encountered during its missions in challenging environments.

This stellar evaluation propels the program into a new testing phase, signaling the beginning of an even more formidable era for the F-15EX.

The Future of F-15EX

As the F-15EX program at Eglin AFB concludes for the year, the promise of the future looms large. The combined test wings are slated to receive two more F-15EX aircraft, further solidifying the Air Force’s commitment to maintaining air superiority.

In the words of Lt. Col. Christopher Wee, “The F-15EX is the most capable Eagle on the planet, and we are just getting started.”

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The US Air Force's latest fleet additions, the F-15EX Eagle IIs designated as EX3 and EX4, have recently landed at Eglin Air Force Base.
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