The skies are about to witness a significant transformation as Boeing’s F-15EX Eagle II, also known as the EX3, is gearing up for delivery.

This advanced fighter aircraft, designed to be a ready-now replacement for the F-15C, promises to be a backbone fighter for the US Air Force for decades to come.

In this article, we’ll take a close look into the latest developments surrounding the F-15EX, from its successful test flights to potential changes in its deployment and cost considerations.

A Digital Backbone for the Future

Boeing’s engineers, with sophisticated technological tools at their disposal, have undertaken an extensive digital design phase before cutting any metal, resulting in an aircraft with a digital backbone and open system architecture.

The F-15EX boasts best-in-class payload, range, and speed, making it a formidable asset for the US Air Force. What sets this aircraft apart is its capacity to carry hypersonic weapons, positioning it as a vital element in the service’s tactical fighter fleet.

Following its unveiling in 2021, the state-of-the-art two-seat aircraft variant is set to become a formidable addition to the US Air Force’s fleet. Among its impressive specifications, the F-15EX has a length of approximately 63.8 feet and a wingspan of about 42.8 feet.

It’s built for high performance, with a known maximum speed of Mach 2.5, allowing it to reach speeds up to 1,875 mph. Moreover, it offers an exceptional combat radius, extending over 1,100 nautical miles, making it capable of covering long distances and operating at altitudes exceeding 65,000 feet.

F-15EX Eagle II: Successful Testing

The F-15EX Eagle II recently completed the Integrated Test & Evaluation (IT&E) Phase I, during which it participated in 19 Large Force Exercise events.

These exercises included integration with 5th-generation aircraft, recording the longest Air-to-Air Missile employment, and validating the first F-15EX employment of the most extended non-nuclear Air-to-Ground munition release in the inventory.

These achievements showcase the aircraft’s readiness and capabilities, making it a strong contender for the US Air Force’s future fighter fleet.

Potential Deployment Changes

The plan for deploying six F-15EXs is expected between the end of the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2023 and the first quarter of fiscal year 2024.

Four of these aircraft will join EX-1 and EX-2 at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, while the remaining two are expected at Kingsley Field in Klamath Falls, Oregon.

However, the Air Force is reconsidering the plan to establish the Formal Training Unit (FTU) for the F-15EX at Kingsley Field as it evaluates the infrastructure and airspace suitability for an F-35 FTU.

If this plan goes through, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in North Carolina will take over F-15 training, while the 142nd Wing at Portland Air National Guard Base remains on track to become the first operational F-15EX unit in fiscal 2025.

Changes in Acquisition Plans

One notable change in the F-15EX program is the reduction in the number of fighters ordered.

According to reports, the initial plan called for 144 F-15EX aircraft, but the Air Force has decided to acquire only 104 of them. This reduction has implications for the program’s unit cost, with each aircraft estimated to cost $93.95 million per plane in then-year dollars.

Boeing F-15EX
An artist’s rendering of F-15EX (Image source: Boeing)

Thus, it represents a 5.24 percent decline from the 2020 baseline program, according to Air Force acquisition reports.

Boeing had initially estimated a lower unit cost of $80 million per plane, which was revised due to the reduced number of aircraft being ordered. These changes may lead to increased costs, a concern also reflected in the Electronic Warfare and Electronic Surveillance System.

Electronic Warfare and Cost Considerations

The F-15EX will be equipped with the AN/ALQ-250 Eagle Passive Active Warning Survivability System (EPAWSS) electronic warfare and electronic surveillance system. While this system is set to be standard on the F-15EX, it’s worth noting that it is being retrofitted onto several F-15Es.

However, with the reduction in the number of aircraft modified, the unit cost of the EPAWSS system has increased and recently resulted in a Nunn-McCurdy breach.

These cost considerations highlight the complexities involved in defense procurement and the importance of carefully managing budgets while maintaining cutting-edge capabilities.


The F-15EX Eagle II is on the cusp of becoming a game-changing addition to the US Air Force’s fighter fleet.

Its recent successful testing and advanced capabilities position it as a valuable asset for the country’s defense. While there have been changes in deployment plans and cost considerations, the F-15EX remains a vital component in the Air Force’s mission to maintain air superiority in the years to come.