First operational test mission for the F-15EX

Full, large-scale operational tests with the US Air Force’s first two Boeing F-15EX Eagle IIs recently got underway at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada. The 57th Wing at Nellis announced on October 22 that the new type’s first-ever operational test missions were being undertaken at Nellis from October 18-25, paired with F-15Cs and F-15Es.

At Nellis, Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center (AFOTEC) Detachment 6 is leading the initial operational test and evaluation of the F-15EX with units from Eglin AFB, Florida and Nellis AFB, the Oregon Air National Guard (123rd Fighter Squadron F-15Cs) and Florida Air National Guard (159th Fighter Squadron F-15Cs) and contractors. 

US Air Force F-15EX Eagle II 20-0001 ‘ET’/‘40 FTS’ assigned to the 40th Flight Test Squadron takes off from Nellis AFB, Nevada, on October 19 for a test mission. USAF William R Lewis

Prior to this, the type had undergone a series of developmental tests to ensure the aircraft adheres to the required build specifications and safety standards. It has also conducted operational missions as part of Northern Edge in Alaska.

The two F-15EX being tested at Nellis are currently the only ones in service, having been delivered to the 85th Test and Evaluation Squadron at Eglin earlier this year.

An F-15EX Eagle II Fighter Jet assigned to the 85th Test and Evaluation Squadron, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, taxis out from Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, Oct. 20, 2021. USAF William R Lewis

Colton Myers, F-15EX test project manager, Operational Flight Program Combined Test Force, said: “The main focus here is to provide the initial push for operational tests and evaluation to really evaluate the platform from an end-to-end perspective with the addition of a robust threat environment that we have here at Nellis. That way, when we write our initial test reports, we’re giving an accurate look to the Combat Air Force and the Guard as to what the platform is capable of when it initially fields.” 

F-15 EX
he F-15EX Integrated Test & Evaluation 2021 Test Patch worn by Lt. Col Wes Turner during testing at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, Oct. 20, 2021. USAF William R Lewis

In addition to operationally testing the aircraft, the two-week event also involves testing the aircraft’s Eagle Passive Active Warning Survivability System. Following the tests at Nellis, the aircraft will return to Eglin AFB for further development tests.