Delivery of the most advanced production Eagles ever to Saudi Arabia continue.
The first four of 84 new F-15SA aircraft ordered by the Royal Saudi Air Force along with an upgrade package for 68 existing RSAF F-15S jets, arrived at King Khalid Air Base (KKAB) in Saudi Arabia via RAF Lakenheath, on Dec. 13, 2016.
The aircraft, taken on charge by the 55th Sqn, were followed by a second batch of four F-15SAs that arrived at KKAB via Lakenheath in February, and by a third batch of five advanced Eagles that made the usual stopover in UK late on Saturday Mar. 28.
The third batch included: 12-1005/Retro 61, 12-1008/Retro 62, 12-1932/Retro 63, 12-1039/Retro 64 and 12-1047/Retro 65.
The Aviationist’s Tony Lovelock was at RAF Lakenheath and shot the photographs you can find in this post.
Note the tiny U.S. Air Force roundel clearly visible just below the cockpit area.
Derived from the F-15E Strike Eagle, the F-15SA is the most advanced production Eagle ever produced. It is equipped with the APG-63V3 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar, a digital glass cockpit, JHMCS (Joint Helmet Mouted Cueing System), Digital Electronic Warfare System/Common Missile Warning System (DEWS/CMWS) and IRST (Infra Red Search and Track) system.
Moreover, the “SA” jet is able to carry several air-to-air and air-to-surface weapons, including the AIM-120C7 AMRAAM (Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile) and the AIM-9X Sidewinder air-to-air missiles, the AGM-84 SLAM-ERs, the AGM-88 HARM (High-speed Anti-Radiation Missile) and the GBU-39 SDBs (Small Diameter Bombs) on 11 external hardpoints.
Image credit: Tony Lovelock
Just thinking “outloud”…
It’s been reported that the USAF intends to start phasing out and retiring their venerable F-15C/Ds by the mid-2020s. USAF also intends to have “newer” build F-16C Block 50s to gradually step until either F-35As stand up or possible 6th gen fighter aircraft come on line. With the highly unlikely possibility (damn near impossible it would seem) of restarting the F-22 line, wouldnt it be smart if the USAF piggy back off of the F-15SA? If the F-15SA is indeed a derivative of the F-15E, why not just build these versions of Strike Eagles but keep the AN/APG-82 AESA radar?
Where is the IRST located?