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F-15EX on Aerial Refueling Mission Over California Is Pure Visual Delight

It’s been a long time coming, but at last, the most recent incarnation of the F-15 fighter airplane is airborne, already being deployed by the Air Force for testing in the hands of its pilots. Most recently, the flying machines were deployed in Alaska, where they took part in the massive Northern Edge 21 exercise.
F-15EX during refueling mission over California 1 photo
The massive drill, which included more than 300 aircraft launches and traps, and more than 830 flight hours, concluded in mid-May, and all the hardware deployed on the mock battlefield had to go back to the home bases. For the F-15EX Eagle II, as its maker Boeing now calls it, that would be the Eglin Air Force Base in Florida.

Before heading home, though, as one of the two such aircraft was flying over California, it was tasked with performing an aerial refueling operation. The main image of this piece, a perfect fit for our Photo of the Day section, was captured by USAF’s Ethan Wagner as the F-15EX was about to perform its mission (the tanker plane is not shown).

The F-15EX is the latest incarnation of one of the American military's oldest and most capable aircraft. The family was introduced in 1976, and the most recent version is capable of flying at speeds of up to Mach 2.5, for a distance of up to 1,221 miles (1,965 km).

When it was flown by Air Force pilots not long ago, it became the first new variant of the plane to be flown in the past 15 years.

The aircraft comes with fly-by-wire flight controls, a new digital cockpit, modern radar systems, and the ADCP-II mission computer, “the world's fastest,” according to Boeing. An array of multispectral sensors (Eagle Passive Active Warning and Survivability System/EPAWSS, made by BAE Systems) meant to detect incoming threats and help the pilot deal with them is also installed on the plane.

 
 
 
 
 

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