Air Force Unveils F-15EX Eagle II


The U.S. Air Force officially introduced the F-15EX in an unveiling and naming ceremony at Florida’s Eglin Air Force Base on Wednesday. Intended to replace the Air Force’s F-15C/D models, the newly named the Eagle II features fly-by-wire flight controls, digital cockpit displays and advanced avionics systems. The Air Force currently plans to procure up to 144 F-15EXs with the goal of increasing “F-15 fleet fighter readiness.”

“Undefeated in aerial combat, the F-15 Eagle epitomized air superiority in the minds of our enemies, allies, and the American people for over 45 years, but it was not meant to fly forever,” said Lt. Gen. Duke Richardson. “We heard the demand signal from our warfighters. I’m pleased to say we’ve responded boldly and decisively, with a proven platform that’s modernized and optimized to maintain air superiority now and into the future.”

The F-15EX Eagle II, an updated version of the F-15 Eagle, flew for the first time on Feb. 2, 2021. The Air Force accepted its first F-15EX on March 10 and the aircraft arrived at Eglin the following day. Eglin’s 96th Test Wing and 53rd Wing are expected to begin testing and evaluation of the Eagle II shortly.

Kate O'Connor
Kate O’Connor works as AVweb's Editor-in-Chief. She is a private pilot, certificated aircraft dispatcher, and graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

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  1. This is — finally — the first SMART thing the USAF has done!! They need MORE than 144 !!

    Sell the F-35 for their aluminum value after removing the usable systems and build these things.

    • If you’re only concern is dogfighting then you would be correct. But if you’re in a situation where you would prefer to be in an aircraft with a lower radar cross section for BVR combat, then you might not want to throw all of them on the trash heap quite yet

    • Perhaps before commenting that the F-35 should be sold for its aluminum value it would be a good idea to consider that its media critics will not be buying them, know little about aircraft, and the many countries that have invested believe they’re worth much more and understand that you just can’t always pull systems and plug them into other fighters? But I could be wrong, a P-47 was a tough bird and would be awesome armed with a laser.

    • I met an F16 pilot at an air show. I asked about the F35 and if he’d rather have an F16/F15/F18/F22/A10 or an F35 in various scenarios. Hands down, he was for the F35 in every case. He wanted to win the battle before the other guy knew he was in a fight.

  2. Yes, updating the Eagle is a good idea. An even better idea is to update the F22 and get a bunch more of them. That nonsense about not needing air superiority fighters is crazy. At the beginning of WWII the P40s and P39s were death traps vs the Zero. How many times should we forget that lesson? However, another lesson, seems we have to re-learn over and over, is one size does NOT fit all. The F35 as a strike aircraft seems to be a good fit. Best if the enemy never knew what hit them.

    • You need to read the book about how and why the F-16 Light Weight Fighter (LWF) was born.

      The USAF not only stopped production of the F-22 because it was too expensive but it destroyed the tooling … just like they did with the B-2. I watched it happen with the B-2. Neither line can’t reasonably be restarted. I don’t disagree that the F-22 should have been kept alive and the F-35 dropped but that’s not how the game worked out.