A formal roll-out ceremony for the Qatar Emiri Air Force (QEAF) F-15QA was held at Boeing’s facility in St Louis, Missouri, on August 25. The event was held by Boeing in collaboration with the US Air Force (USAF) and QEAF.
Speaking at the ceremony, Lt Gen Greg Guillot, commander of the 9th Air Force, said: “The rollout of the F-15QA is momentous, not just in terms of capability but also in terms of the enhanced partnership it represents. The relationship the United States shares with Qatar is critical to the stability and security of the central command area of responsibility and we are grateful for our coalition partner’s continued focus on building interoperability and combined readiness. It is a privilege and honour to stand with our Qatari counterparts this day and every day.”
The first batch of F-15QAs will be ferried to Qatar later this year following the completion of pre-delivery pilot training. The latter has been under way for some time, with the QEAF F-15QAs operating out of MidAmerica Airport, Illinois. The first QEAF F-15QA had made its maiden flight from St Louis on April 13, 2020.
Prat Kumar, vice president of the F-15 programme at Boeing, said: “The Qatar F-15QA programme further enhanced next-generation technologies in the advanced F-15 such as the fly-by-wire flight controls, an all-glass digital cockpit and contemporary sensors, radar and electronic warfare capabilities. Driven by digital engineering and advanced manufacturing, these aircraft represent a transformational leap for the F-15. The F-15QA will enhance the superiority of the QEAF with more speed, range and payload than any fighter in the world.”
Boeing has been providing maintenance and logistics support for the QEAF during pre-delivery pilot training, which began earlier this year. In addition, Boeing will establish and operate an aircrew and maintenance training centre for the QEAF at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar through to 2024 while also providing in-country spares and logistics support once aircraft are delivered.
The number of aircraft ordered by Qatar has always been quoted by Boeing as 36, whereas various official US Department of Defense documents repeatedly refer to 48 being on order. When the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency initially announced details of the deal on November 17, 2016, the total planned acquisition was given as 72 aircraft.