As a wartime machine, the newly acquired F-15EX is yet to play its part. David Axe considers its development as a whole weapon system and the capabilities it looks to bring to the US Air Force
Eight months after the USAF’s new Boeing F-15EX Eagle II fighter fired AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missiles for the first time, at a test range in Florida, operational testers finally got around to analyzing the shots.
The conclusion: the latest version of the classic, twin-engine F-15 is a formidable long-range shooter—one that could fight in and around contested airspace with a combination of very-long-range missile launches and powerful radar-jamming. If there is a hitch, it is that the F-15EX fleet might never be big enough to bring to bear, in a sustainable way, its significant capabilities.“The new capabilities that the F-15EX offers push it squarely into the future of combat,” said 1st Lt Hagan Strader, lead analyst with the Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center’s Detachment 6 at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada.