The F-15SA first flew at St. Louis on February 20. The USAF said the flight-test program will include three instrumented F-15As flying from Boeing’s St. Louis and Palmdale, Calif., facilities.
Improvements on the F-15SA include fly-by-wire flight controls, a digital electronic warfare suite, Lockheed Martin AN/AAS-42 infrared search and track system and Raytheon APG-63(v)3 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar. The forward and aft cockpits are equipped for the Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System enabling the crew to aim sensors and weapons through their helmet visors. The aircraft has two additional wing stations for increased weapons payload capacity.
Saudi Arabia’s F-15SAs and 25 new Lockheed Martin F-16 Block 60 fighters sought by the UAE will be equipped with unspecified advanced “standoff weapons” that have not previously been made available to those countries, according to a senior U.S. defense official. In addition, the U.S. has agreed to supply Israel with advanced weaponry that includes the Bell-Boeing V-22 tiltrotor, KC-135 tankers and AESA radar retrofits.
The Pentagon revealed the weapons packages during a briefing for reporters on April 19 in advance of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s first trip to the Middle East in his new capacity. They represent “one of the most complex and carefully orchestrated arms sale packages in American history,” and resulted from intensive negotiations begun under previous defense secretary Leon Panetta, the defense official said. Israel’s consent was critical. “A key part of the agreement is [that] we believe and the Israelis believe that the provision of these capabilities [will] in no way diminish Israel’s qualitative military edge,” the official said.
Original post “Boeing Presents First F-15SA of Saudi Arms Package” by Bill Carey – May 3, 2013, 11:50 AM by AIN Publications