Boeing Delivers First Operational F-15EX Eagle II to Oregon Air National Guard

Photo Credit: 1st Lt. Savanah Bray / 53rd Wing / U.S. Air Force / DVIDS / Public Domain
Photo Credit: 1st Lt. Savanah Bray / 53rd Wing / U.S. Air Force / DVIDS / Public Domain

After an eight-month delay, Boeing has officially delivered its first operational F-15EX Eagle II to the US Air Force. Pilots with the 142nd Wing of the Oregon Air National Guard took ownership of the updated aircraft in early June 2024, after it was flown all the way to the Portland Air National Guard Base from Missouri.

Boeing F-15EX Eagle II parked in a hangar
Unveiling of the Boeing F-15EX Eagle II at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, 2021. (Photo Credit: Samuel King, Jr. / 96th Test Wing / U.S. Air Force / DVIDS / Public Domain)

The first F-15EX Eagle II, decked out with the tail flash and insignia of the 123rd Fighter Squadron and the Oregon Air National Guard, was flown by Maj. Brandon Wigton and Calvin Conner from Boeing’s facility in St. Louis, Missouri, to Oregon. It will be the first of 18 to eventually be delivered to the 142nd, with a total of 98 units expected to serve under the US Air Force, a number that’s down from the original expected delivery of 144 units.

Based on the F-15QA variant of the McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle operated by the Qatari Air Force, this new version is designed to house not only more advanced avionics, but electronic warfare systems that are solely available to the US military, including the AN/ALQ Eagle Passive Active Warning Survivability System (EPAWSS) and Open Missing Systems (OMS) architecture. Along with a maximum speed of Mach 2.5, it has a payload capacity of 13,300 kg.

The US Air Force intends for the new model to replace the aging “C” and “D” variants of the F-15.

Boeing F-15EX Eagle II in flight
Boeing F-15EX Eagle II taking to the skies for the first time at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, 2021. (Photo Credit: 1st Lt. Savanah Bray / 53rd Wing / U.S. Air Force / DVIDS / Public Domain)

Six test F-15EX Eagle IIs had been delivered to Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, in 2021, where five F-15C instructors from the 123rd teamed up with pilots with the 85th Test and Evaluation Squadron to put the new aircraft through a host of trials.

“My impression of the F-15EX after flying it for the first time was that it is an awesome, awesome aircraft,” Lt. Col. Joel Thesing said during testing. “The engines feel like they have a lot more power than those in the C-model, and the radar and avionics are a generational improvement over the F-15C as well.”

Boeing F-15EX Eagle II parked on the tarmac
Boeing F-15EX Eagle II taxiing out from Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, 2021. (Photo Credit: William Lewis / Nellis Air Force Base / U.S. Air Force / DVIDS / Public Domain)

In a video posted online, Wing Commander Col. Michael Kosderka said that, while it’s unusual for the Air National Guard to take delivery of a new weapons systems before the US Air Force, those serving with the 142nd – pilots, ground crews, etc. – make them the best individuals to operate the F-15EX Eagle II.

“We’re here to protect the Pacific Northwest with our 24/7 alert system,” he said. “We’re also here to now get this new weapon system that will allow us to participate and survive in major combat operations.”

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According to Boeing, the second operational F-15EX Eagle II will be delivered in the coming weeks. This first delivery had been delayed due to problems with in-sourcing forward fuselage production.

Clare Fitzgerald

Clare Fitzgerald is a Writer and Editor with eight years of experience in the online content sphere. Graduating with a Bachelor of Arts from King’s University College at Western University, her portfolio includes coverage of digital media, current affairs, history and true crime.

Among her accomplishments are being the Founder of the true crime blog, Stories of the Unsolved, which garners between 400,000 and 500,000 views annually, and a contributor for John Lordan’s Seriously Mysterious podcast. Prior to its hiatus, she also served as the Head of Content for UK YouTube publication, TenEighty Magazine.

In her spare time, Clare likes to play Pokemon GO and re-watch Heartland over and over (and over) again. She’ll also rave about her three Maltese dogs whenever she gets the chance.

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