July 18, 2018
FARNBOROUGH, UK — Boeing is quietly pitching the U.S. Air Force a new F-15 fighter jet using the same business strategy that convinced the Trump administration to buy more Super Hornet warplanes for the Navy.
Dubbed the F-15X, the new variant of the venerable jet offers more modern flight controls, cockpit displays, and radar, according to military and industry sources with knowledge of the plan. The plane would also pack a lot of firepower, carrying more than two dozen air-to-air missiles, the most of any U.S. Air Force aircraft.
Boeing officials declined to explicitly confirm their efforts to sell the F-15X, except perhaps obliquely:
“We see the marketplace expanding internationally and it’s creating opportunities then to go back and talk to the U.S. Air Force about what might be future upgrades or even potentially future acquisitions of the F-15 aircraft,” Gene Cunningham, vice president of global sales of Defense, Space & Security, said Friday at the Royal International Air Tattoo in England.
The Air Force has not purchased new F-15s since placing a 2001 order for five F-15E Strike Eagles, a two-seat version that can bomb ground targets and shoot down other aircraft. The original F-15 first flew in 1972, and many of the Air Force’s current air-to-air Eagles entered service in the 1980s. Many of them are older than the pilots who fly them.READ MORE