Hopes pinned on follow-on sales from other existing customers after USAF says no
Boeing needs to secure a new F-15 order by the middle of this year to keep the Eagle production line going after the last of Singapore’s 12 aircraft is completed in mid-2009.
Boeing director of F-15 production programmes Stephen Winkler says several existing F-15 customers, including Singapore, are considering follow-on orders but long lead items will have to be acquired by mid-2006 to avoid a break in the production line. Boeing has an order backlog of 48 F-15s, including 36 for South Korea and 12 for Singapore.
“The 12 here in Singapore will follow right on the heels of Korea so we’ll have production continuing up to mid-2009. If they exercise their eight options it will take it to the beginning of 2010,” Winkler says.
South Korea, which has so far taken delivery of four F-15Ks, has a requirement for another 40 next-generation fighters, but is not expected to decide until 2007 on whether to acquire more F-15s or hold a new fighter competition.
The US Air Force also decided against acquiring any additional F-15s in its new Quadrennial Defense Review, but Winkler says several F-15 operators in the Middle East are contemplating follow-on buys. “With Singapore you only have 12 so the next step has to come up fairly quickly,” Winkler says.
Boeing confirms that, with its F-15 buy, Singapore becomes the launch customer for Raytheon’s APG-63V(3) active electronically scanned array radar, infrared search and track system, joint helmet mounted cueing system and integrated electronic warfare suite. Boeing declines to provide a timeframe for development and flight testing of the new configuration, but Raytheon says it will deliver the first radar in late 2007 to support the flight test programme.