Saudi Arabia receives final new-build Boeing F-15SAs

Saudi Arabia received its final Boeing F-15SA multi-role fighters on December 10, completing a US$29.4bn Foreign Military Sale (FMS) contract for 84 new-build aircraft that was signed in October 2010.

The final two F-15SAs were delivered to the Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) by the US Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC), which manages the majority of FMS cases for the USAF. A press release from Air Force Materiel Command said that this delivery marks a “key milestone supporting the [US’] National Defense Strategy imperative to strengthen alliances and attract new partners.”

Boeing’s F-15SA is an advanced version of the F-15S Strike Eagle, which entered operational service with the RSAF in December 1995. The new, more enhanced variant features a digital electronic warfare (EW) suite, along with a fly-by-wire flight control system and an infrared search-and-track (IRST) capability. It is also equipped with the APG-63(V)3 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, advanced cockpit displays, and joint helmet mounted cueing systems.

RSAF F-15SA [USAF/Staff Sgt Justin Parsons]
A USAF-operated Boeing KC-135R Stratotanker refuels a Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) Boeing F-15SA during a joint multinational training event in the US Central Command's (CENTCOM's) area of responsibility in the Middle East on September 17, 2020. USAF/Staff Sgt Justin Parsons

Col Ronald E Dunlap III, the AFLCMC’s F-15SA Security Assistance Program Manager, said: “I’m extremely proud of our AFLCMC team working with Boeing and alongside the [RSAF] over the past several years to deliver this vital capability.

“The F-15 Strike Eagle is a world-renowned dual role fighter with an already exemplary reputation. These dramatically advanced versions of that battle-tested platform provide a strong deterrent capability to potential aggressors and strengthen our long and important relationship with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” he added.

The RSAF accepted its first four F-15SAs in December 2016, with a delivery that comprised two new-build fighters and two that had been converted from F-15S-standard. The new, advanced variant entered operational service with the RSAF in 2017. Alongside the FMS and delivery of 84 new-build F-15SAs, Saudi Arabia is also locally upgrading 68 examples of its F-15S fleet to ‘SA’ standard.