The F-15 Eagle’s Most Advanced Production Version Performs Its First Flight

The F-15QA climbs during the Viking takeoff for its first flight. (Photo: Boeing)

The F-15QA is the first of 36 aircraft developed specifically for Qatar.

Boeing announced that the F-15QA, the most advanced version of the F-15 Eagle, performed successfully its first flight from the company’s plant at Lambert International Airport in St. Louis. The flight, which lasted 90 minutes, was conducted by the Chief Test Pilot Matt Giese and implemented a precise mission checklist to test the multirole aircraft’s capabilities and to check radar and avionics. According to the company the aircraft performed as planned.

In the press release, Boeing stated that the Eagle performed a Viking takeoff, the signature departure of F-15 flying from St. Louis (that, to be honest has often been referred to as a “high performance takeoff” or “unrestricted climb after take off” etc). The F-15 would start its takeoff run in full afterburner and, as soon as it reaches takeoff speed, pitch up its nose for a 70° to 90° climb to the upper flight levels before reaching the crossing runway, clearing this way the airspace for civilian aircraft departing or arriving on that mentioned runway.

“We are very proud of this accomplishment and looking forward with great excitement to the continued successes of this program. This successful first flight is an important milestone that brings our squadrons one step closer to flying this incredible aircraft over the skies of Qatar,” said Col. Ahmed Al Mansoori, commander of the Qatar Emiri Air Force (QEAF) F-15 Wing.

The F-15QA prepares for its first flight. (Photo: Boeing/QEAF)

The F-15QA features new outer wing hardpoints for increased payload, AN/APG-82(V)1 Advanced Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar, Joint Helmet-Mounted Cueing Systems (JHMCS) for both the pilot and the Weapon Systems Officer (WSO), 10×19-in Large Area Displays (LADs) and low-profile Head-Up Display (HUD) in both cockpits, digital fly-by-wire and General Electric F110-GE-129 engines.

According to Prat Kumar, Boeing vice president and F-15 program manager, “the advanced F-15QA not only offers game changing capabilities but is also built using advanced manufacturing processes which make the jet more efficient to manufacture. In the field, the F-15 costs half the cost per flight hour of similar fighter aircraft and delivers far more payload at far greater ranges. That’s success for the warfighter.”

Boeing was awarded a $6.2 billion contract in 2017 to manufacture 36 F-15 fighter jets for the QEAF, the first of which will be delivered next year.

About Stefano D'Urso
Stefano D'Urso is a freelance journalist and contributor to TheAviationist based in Lecce, Italy. A graduate in Industral Engineering he's also studying to achieve a Master Degree in Aerospace Engineering. Electronic Warfare, Loitering Munitions and OSINT techniques applied to the world of military operations and current conflicts are among his areas of expertise.