Saudi Arabia has reportedly launched its new F-15 Strike Eagle fighter jet, which was purchased from the US as part of a foreign military sale programme.

The US approved the $60bn deal for 84 F-15SA aircraft in 2010, Reuters reported.

Under the sale, Saudi Arabia also requested 170 APG-63(v)3 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar sets, 193 F-110-GE-129 improved performance engines and 300 AIM-9X Sidewinder missiles.

Saudi Deputy Crown Prince and Defense Minister Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz was quoted by Al Arabiya as saying: “The Kingdom is keen to acquire this kind of modern aircraft, to protect their lands and the holy sites, its national interests, its economic capabilities and development, and the maintenance of security and stability to ensure peace in the region.”

The sale also included 338 joint helmet-mounted cueing systems (JHMCS), 500 AIM-120C/7 advanced medium-range air-to-air missiles (AMRAAM) and 1,100 GBU-24 PAVEWAY III laser-guided bombs (2,000lb).

Additionally, the deal covered upgrades to the existing Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) fleet of 70 F-15S multirole fighters to the F-15SA configuration.

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"The twin-engine aircraft is armed with air-to-air missiles and has air-to-ground capability to penetrate hostile air and ground defences."

Built by Boeing, the F-15 is an advanced long-range interdiction fighter and tactical aircraft capable of travelling at a speed of more than Mach 2.5. It is equipped with improved night vision capability and three new active-matrix liquid crystal displays.

The twin-engine aircraft is armed with air-to-air missiles and has air-to-ground capability to penetrate hostile air and ground defences. The F-15's integrated avionics systems provide all-weather, around-the-clock navigation and targeting capability.

The Lockheed Martin LANTIRN navigation and targeting system contains a Forward-Looking Infrared (FLIR) sensor, which produces video images that are projected onto the pilot's head-up display, and terrain-following radar.

Image: A Royal Saudi Air Force F-15 Eagle fighter aircraft. Photo: courtesy of TECH. SGT. H. H. DEFFNER.