The first F-15 built for Qatar is continuing its flight test campaign and has been joined by a second airframe.
The first F-15QA for Qatar, airframe QA1, received last week its new colors, missing only the national insignia that will be applied upon delivery. The aircraft was photographed during landing at the end of its fifth flight Boeing’s plant at Lambert International Airport in St. Louis by aviation photographer chasekohleraviation that originally shared the photo on Instagram on June 7, 2020. We contacted him and he also shared with us some more of the shots that you can find in this post.
The Eagle’s new camouflage looks similar to the one applied to the Rafales that were first delivered last year to Qatar, based on two different gray tones. As we previously wrote, Boeing was awarded a contract to manufacture 36 F-15QA fighter jets for the Qatar Emiri Air Force (QEAF), the first of which will be delivered next year.
The F-15QA (Qatar Advanced), which has been defined the most advanced version of the Eagle, features some of the improvement that we will surely see also on the F-15X Advanced Eagle that is been acquired by the U.S. Air Force. Among those are 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.
A new feature that went almost unnoticed after the first flight is the presence of Missile Approach Warning System (MAWS) sensors at the end of the tail booms and below the cockpit. Officially it’s not known which MAWS system and self-defense suite has been installed in the aircraft, however we can see from the photos that the sensor is very similar to the AN/AAR-57A(V) Common Missile Warning System (CMWS) produced by BAE Systems that could be most probably coupled with the AN/ALQ-239 Digital Electronics Warfare Systems (DEWS), also produced by the same company.
The F-15QA program is proceeding swiftly, even with the problems caused by the COVID-19 pandemic to the aviation industry, and last week the second aircraft for Qatar, airframe QA2, took its first flight.
Thanks again to chasekohleraviation for the photos he sent us and make sure to follow him on Instagram for more!