A Boeing F-15QA (Qatar Advanced) multi-role fighter destined for the Qatar Emiri Air Force (QEAF) was involved in a landing mishap at St Louis-MidAmerica Airport in Illinois on May 18, forcing both crew members to eject from the aircraft.
The F-15QA involved in the incident was wearing the temporary US Air Force (USAF) serial number of 17-0010 (c/n QA10). This aircraft skidded off the airport’s wet runway during the landing roll and ran onto the grass at approximately 0730hrs (local time). The mishap caused both of the onboard crew members to eject from the multi-role fighter.
The aircraft remained on its undercarriage and did not appear to have sustained any serious damage, apart from the absence of the canopy, which was jettisoned during the ejection process. Both pilots sustained only minor injuries associated with the ejection, but just one was taken to hospital for a routine check-up, as the other declined treatment.
Although the F-15 production line is located on the other side of St Louis – at Lambert Field – the training of Qatari F-15QA pilots is also conducted from St Louis-MidAmerica Airport. The two pilots involved in this incident were active-duty personnel, one from the USAF and the other from the US Navy. The pair had been assigned to the US Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA), which had received the aircraft earlier in the week, ahead of its planned transfer to the QEAF through the US Foreign Military Sales (FMS) programme.
The DCMA is a US government agency, which is working with Boeing to accept these multi-role fighters and train QEAF air and ground crews. In the circumstances of a landing mishap, it is standard operating procedure to eject from the aircraft when it leaves the runway in case the undercarriage digs in and flips over. It is assumed that the F-15QA involved in this incident will be repairable.
In November 2016, the US State Department approved the possible FMS of 72 F-15QAs to the Qatari government for an estimated cost of US$21.1bn. The deal included associated munitions, along with related support, equipment and training services. A government-to-government deal was signed on June 14, 2017, covering the delivery of the first 36 aircraft to the QEAF.
On December 22, 2017, Boeing was formally awarded a US$6.17bn contract to produce and deliver the first 36 examples to the QEAF. Production work under this contract is being performed in St Louis, Missouri – which also borders the US state of Illinois – and is due to be completed by December 30, 2022. Qatar’s first F-15QA completed its maiden flight on April 13, 2020.