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Wed, Sep 06, 2023

Indonesia to Acquire 24 Boeing F-15EX Fighter Aircraft

Eastbound Eagle

The Republic of Indonesia and Boeing, during Indonesian Minister of Defense Prabowo Subianto’s recent visit to the United States, finalized the sale of 24 F-15EX to Indonesia—subject to U.S. State Department approval.

Following a tour of the F-15EX production line at Boeing’s St. Louis, Missouri facility, Indonesian Ministry of Defense Head of Defense Facilities Air Vice Marshal Yusuf Jauhari and Boeing Fighters vice-president Mark Sears signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) outlining the sale of the highly-capable fourth-generation-plus air superiority fighters.

Minister Subianto, who witnessed the MoU signing, stated: “We are pleased to announce our commitment to procure the critical F-15EX fighter capability for Indonesia. This state-of-the-art fighter will protect and secure our nation with its advanced capabilities.”

Mr. Sears remarked: “We have invested years of expertise into developing the F-15EX capabilities. There is no other fighter like the F-15 in the world, and this platform will put Indonesia at the top of air dominance capabilities. Boeing is ready to support this effort and remains a committed partner to the U.S. government in advancing international security objectives with allies and partners around the world.”

For nearly 75-years, Boeing and Indonesia have worked in partnership to support the development of aerospace and defense capabilities in the Southeast Asian Oceanic island nation through training, supply chain development, and collaborations. In 2023, Boeing’s presence in Indonesia spans commercial aviation, defense, space, supply chain, academic partnerships, and talent development efforts.

Proposed in 2018, Boeing’s F-15EX Eagle II fighter is a drastically upgraded variant of the F-15QA the storied American airframer built for the Qatar Air Force in 2016. The Eagle II is intended to replace the United States Air Force’s aging fleet of F-15C/D jets.

The U.S. Department of Defense has been allocated $1.1-billion to procure eight of the fourth-generation-plus fighters from Boeing, with another 136 specimens to be purchased and delivered in the coming years. Technophiles are wont to ruefully ponder the DOD’s decision to forgo acquiring additional F-35s and, instead, provision the USAF with an upgraded version of a fighter that first flew 47-years ago. Combat pilots, military aviation analysts, and legions of accountants, however, have applauded the F-15EX, citing the fighter’s durability, extraordinary warfighting capabilities, and relatively low-cost.

Compared to its forebears, the F-15EX sports a stronger airframe, more powerful and fuel-efficient engines, and a flight control system as advanced as any currently fielded by First World militaries. What’s more, the Eagle II’s digital backbone supports features the likes of cutting-edge radar and targeting systems, sophisticated mission computers, new cockpit displays, and the Eagle Passive Active Warning Survivability System (EPAWSS)—an electronic warfare and threat identification architecture.

In addition to toughness, speed, agility, and a high I.Q., the F-15EX manifests immense strength in the way of ordnance capacity. The Eagle II has successfully carried and launched up to 12 air-to-air missiles. Previous iterations of the F-15 were capable of carrying eight missiles; though burdens of six were more common. The F-15EX, however, is capable of bearing aloft and delivering 13.6-tons of ordnance—the highest combat load of any U.S. fighter aircraft.

Notwithstanding the machine’s extensive upgrades and the tactical advantages afforded thereby, the combat stratagems by which the F-15EX will deploy differ little from those of earlier F-15 models. Mighty but non-stealthy, the F-15EX is intended to complement the F-35, not replace it.

The F-35 Lightning II, by dint of its advanced stealth technology, enters enemy airspace and surreptitiously engages and destroys targets—often from over the horizon. Conversely, the F-15EX’s attack is overt and overwhelming, comprising some thirty-thousand-pounds of air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons delivered at speeds of up to Mach 2.5.

At a unit cost of $87.7-million and an hourly operating cost of approximately $29,000, the F-15EX is a far more economical contraption than the $110-million F-35A—the hourly operating costs of which top $36,000.

The USAF—alluding to capability and perhaps cost—refers informally to the F-35 as a battlefield quarterback. By extension of the metaphor, the F-15EX ought be thought of as the 1985 Chicago Bears Defense—an unstoppable adversary that rolls into town, crushes all before it with brute-force, terrifying precision, and unmitigated fury, then wins the Super Bowl by the widest margin in history.



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