March 11 (UPI) -- The U.S. Air Force announced this week that it has accepted the first F-15EX from Boeing this week at the contractor's St. Louis facility.
"This is a big moment for the Air Force," Col. Sean Dorey, F-15EX program manager with the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center's Fighters and Advanced Aircraft Directorate, responsible for the acquisition, modernization and sustainment of the aircraft, said Thursday in a press release.
The F-15EX is a two-seat aircraft that can be operated by a single pilot and has fly-by-wire flight controls, digital cockpit displays and advanced avionics systems including the Eagle Passive-Active Warning and Survivability System.
The jet completed its first flight in St. Louis last month, and the first aircraft was accepted by the Air Force on Wednesday.
"With its large weapons capacity, digital backbone, and open architecture, the F-15EX will be a key element of our tactical fighter fleet and complement 5th-generation assets. In addition, it's capable of carrying hypersonic weapons, giving it a niche role in future near-peer conflicts," Dorey said.
"I commend the dedicated efforts of the entire team for bringing this platform online in record time and in the middle of a global pandemic," said Gen. Arnold W. Bunch Jr., commander of Air Force Materiel Command.
"With its open mission systems architecture and weapons capacity, the F-15EX will provide an outstanding capability for our nation for years to come," Bunch said.