The most recent such version is the F-15EX Eagle II. Envisioned by the Boeing (which now owns McDonnell Douglas) crew as a replacement for the F-15C, it is described as the “backbone fighter for the service – not just today, but for the next several decades.”
Shown for the first time just two years ago, the Eagle II is still being put through its paces by Air Force pilots. Just a limited number of such airplanes are currently flying in the skies over America, taking off from the Eglin Air Force Base in Florida for testing purposes.
The last time we've heard anything about how that's going was all the way back in February, when the plane fired its first missile, an AIM-120D, as part of an air-to-air weapons system evaluation program.
Since then, the F-15EX kind of left the spotlight, so the U.S. Air Force (USAF) decided to let us know it’s still out there, by recently releasing a new pic of one of the planes, as it was taking off from Eglin sometime in late July, on the backdrop of a sky seemingly on fire as dusk settled in (main photo of this piece).
The USAF plans to continue testing the new aircraft for the rest of the year, with the goal of having it in active duty soon. Together with the F-35 Lightning II, F-16 Fighting Falcon, A-10 Thunderbolt II, and a brand new, sixth-generation aircraft, the Eagle II should become part of America’s future, streamlined airborne fighting force.