Royal Saudi Air Force Stages An Impressive Combined “Elephant Walk” of 48 aircraft (Including 12 New F-15SA Eagles)

The impressive Elephant Walk staged by the RSAF at King Faisal AB (All images credit: Fahad Rihan)

The advanced RSAF F-15SA jets of the newly established 29th Sqn will take part in Red Flag 19-2 at the beginning of March.

The stunning images in this post show the quite impressive “Elephant Walk” staged by the Royal Saudi Air Force’s 7th Wing to celebrate the newly established F-15SA 29th Squadron at King Faisal AB, Tabuk. It’s the first time the RSAF stations multirole aircraft in the base that previously hosted only interceptors.

Along with the F-15SA, F-15C jets belonging to the 2nd Sqn, Hawk Mk.65 jets belonging to the 88th Sqn and Hawk Mk.165 jets belonging to the 21st Sqn took part in the combined 48-aircraft Elephant Walk.

The F-15SA of the 29th Sqn are the first multirole aircraft to be based at Tabuk.

An Elephant Walk is a type of exercise during which military aircraft taxi in close formation or in sequence right before a minimum interval takeoff and, depending on the purpose of the training event they then either take off or taxi back to the apron.

+12 F-15SA took part in the Elephant Walk.

The 29th Squadron is the second equipped with the brand new F-15SA that were first assigned to the 55th Sqn at King Khalid Air Base (KKAB). The new unit was assigned 24 advanced Eagles that will take part in Red Flag 19-2 starting in about 10 days at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada.

The newly established 29th Sqn prepares to take part in RF 19-2.

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), IRST (Infra Red Search and Track) system, and able to carry a wide array of air-to-air and air-to-surface weaponry, 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, the F-15SA, derived from the F-15E Strike Eagle, is the most advanced Eagle variant ever produced.

The F-15SA is the most advanced Eagle variant ever produced.

Back in 2010, the RSAF requested 84 new-built F-15SA jets and upgrade package for 68 existing Saudi F-15S fighters for a total of 152 multirole advanced Eagles through a Foreign Military Sale: a contract worth 29.4 billion USD that included logistics, spares, maintenance support and weapons was eventually signed on Dec. 29, 2011.

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 day after the Israeli received their first 5th generation F-35I.

The RSAF currenlty operates 49 F-15SA and 2 F-15S converted to the SA variant.

A big hat tip to our friend who sent the images along with several details about the Saudi F-15SA.

About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.