U.S. Air Force’s latest fighter aircraft, the Boeing F-15EX, has officially been named Eagle II, in a ceremony that took place today at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida.
The first F-15EX Eagle II, painted in the classic F-15C/D Eagle camouflage, arrived at Eglin AFB on March 11, 2021, a day after it was officially accepted at Boeing’s St. Louis facility, becoming the first Eagle to be delivered to the Air Force in 17 years.
At the end of the ceremony, which was live-streamed on Eglin AFB’s Facebook page, Lt. Gen. Duke Richardson, Military Deputy for the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, announced the name that was chosen for the F-15EX: “Eagle II”
Brig. Gen. Scott Cain, the Commander of the 96th Test Wing, introduced the ceremony describing the feats of the Eagle over its long service life:
”The F-15, with each of its models, has been a venerable workhorse for the United States Air Force and its allies for decades. It’s proven itself time and time again with its unmatched versatility and lethality in combat and its deterrent capability in peacetime. So it stands to reason then that the EX will build upon that legacy”.
Lt. Gen. Richardson was then called up to talk about the new fighter aircraft in its initial speech, reminding the Eagle, even with its legendary reputation thanks to its numerous achievements, is not immortal:
“Undefeated in aerial combat, the F-15 Eagle epitomized the air superiority in the minds of our adversaries, our allies and the American people for over 45 years, but it was not meant to fly forever”.
He then proceeded to describe the actual precarious situation of the F-15C/D fleet: “The F-15C and D fleets in the current state place us at great risk, with 75% of the fleet is flying beyond its certified service life and 10% grounded due to structural integrity issues.
Projected modernization and service life extension of the F-15C and D fleets is cost-prohibitive for a platform with an average age of over 37 years, diminishing combat capability over that time”.
The service plans to eventually buy at least 144 of these aircraft to replace its aging F-15C/D Eagles and there have also been discussions about acquiring yet more of them to supplant its F-15E Strike Eagles, as well.