None of the sorties so far were full, large-scale operational tests, as Lt. Col. Kenneth Juhl from the Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center calls them.
That changed last week, when the F-15EX was deployed at the Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, from where it flew alongside F-15Cs and F-15Es. The exact scope of the tests was not disclosed, but the U.S. Air Force (USAF) says they will continue, and there will be both day and night missions with the planes in “defensive and offensive counter air” scenarios.
The tests are meant to show the “differences between the EX and the C model.” The new incarnation of the F-15 comes with a new digital flight control system, but also the fancy Eagle Passive Active Warning and Survivability System (EPAWSS), which is supposed to make the pilots of the aircraft truly aware of their surroundings.
As per the available info, Boeing was to make eight of these planes by the end of the year, but since it delivered the second one back in May, everything on the Eagle II front went quiet.
When fully operational and integrated, the Eagle II will join something called a streamlined fleet of aircraft, which comprises the F-35 Lightning II, F-16 Fighting Falcon, and A-10 Thunderbolt II, but also a brand new, sixth-generation aircraft that is yet to be announced.