The US Air Force (USAF) has received the first operationally configured example of Boeing’s F-15EX fighter, a type the service will use to replace earlier-generation F-15Cs and F-15Ds.

Pilots with the 142nd Wing of Oregon’s Air National Guard (ANG) flew the multi-role twin-engined jet (tail number 008) from Boeing’s assembly plant near St Louis, Missouri to Oregon on 5 June. The ANG intends to use the aircraft to perform homeland-defence and air-interdiction missions.

“This is one of 18 new EX models being finalised at the Missouri facility,” the air force says. “Once finished, all of the aircraft will be assigned to the 142nd Wing at Portland Air National Guard Base.”

The remainder of those aircraft will be delivered over the next two years, the Oregon ANG tells FlightGlobal. The 142nd Wing currently operates the older F-15C and F-15D models, which the air force is seeking to retire. 

Boeing has already delivered six test-configured F-15EXs to the USAF for evaluation and flight trials with the service’s 96th Test Wing at Eglin AFB in Florida, including demonstrations of the F-15EX’s weapons-payload capabilities. The jet can carry 12 air-to-air missiles or three long-range air-to-ground cruise missiles.

In February, Boeing told FlightGlobal it was preparing to turn over F-15EX tail numbers 007 and 008 – the first combat-configured variants intended for frontline service.

The USAF released photographs showing the first operationally configured F-15EX, emblazoned with “008” and the emblem of the 142nd Wing. One image shows the jet landing at Portland International airport, with a snow-covered Mount Hood in the background. The service also released a photograph of F-15EX tail number 007 – adorned with the 142nd’s insignia – at Boeing’s assembly plant.

Boeing tells FlightGlobal that F-15EX 007 will arrive in Portland in “the next couple of weeks”. The two fighters represent the conclusion of Lot 1 deliveries, with Lot 2 deliveries to begin in late 2024.

”This is the first of many deliveries as we ramp up and expand our F-15EX production line for the US Air Force,” says Mark Sears, Boeing’s vice-president of fighters.

Boeing is currently assembling jets at a rate of 1.5 per month, with the goal of completing two per month beginning in 2025. 

Plans at the Pentagon for F-15EX acquisition have fluctuated. USAF fiscal year 2025 budget documents indicate the service seeks to reduce its F-15EX procurement to 98 jets, down from 104. Congressional negotiations over that budget are underway in Washington. The service originally planned to buy 144 of the fighters, and at one point cut the number to as few as 80.

Boeing is still seeking its first overseas customer for the latest F-15 version, and the company is negotiating with Indonesia and Poland to secure a deal. Jakarta has committed to acquiring 24 aircraft, subject to export approval by Washington, while Warsaw has signalled interest in 32.

Israel is also reportedly considering purchasing 25 F-15EXs, though its interest has not been confirmed by Boeing nor the US government agency that manages foreign military sales. Also, Tel Aviv recently inked a deal to acquire 25 more Lockheed Martin F-35 stealth fighters, a development seen as potentially dashing Boeing’s hopes of selling F-15EXs to Israel.