ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – Boeing may have a big order coming in from the US Air Force for the latest version of the F-15.
“I always like to say, ‘It’s not your father’s F-15,’” said Matthew Geise, chief test pilot for the Boeing F-15. “It is a brand-new product and although it looks similar to the airplane that first flew in the 70s from the outer mold line perspective, everything packaged on the inside is brand-new leading-edge technology.”
According to reports, the Air Force is seeking approval to spend nearly $8 billion for eight F-15s for next year and 72 aircraft in the four years after that, so Boeing is getting prepared.
“This is an airplane that the Air Force needs today and I think that’s a really good thing for us here in St. Louis, not just to keep the factory open, not just to provide jobs, but it’s a really good product to the warfighter,” Geise said. “With the mission computer that it has, which is the most powerful mission computer on the market today, and you add in the advanced electronics warfare suite, it makes the entire package and fore-structure better.”
According to Scott Finn, an F-15 flight operations mechanic, it takes approximately a month to get one aircraft on the line.
“We’re hoping to ramp that up and get at least two to three per month down the line,” he said. “That would be huge down here for us in the flight ramp really excited and ready for that challenge to come down to us.”
Some in the industry question if this non-stealth fighter is really the best use of military dollars. Giese said the new F-15s would have a lower cost per flight hour and they’re easier to maintain.
“There are a lot of systems on this aircraft that enhance the survivability mechanically and make it a lot easier to work on in thereby you enhance and lengthen then the service life of the aircraft,” Finn said.
That’s also important to the pilots who fly them.
“…This is a fantastic flight control system way and we appreciate that that flight control system is built into the aircraft,” Giese said.