The US Air Force (USAF) 40th Flight Test Squadron pilots have successfully conducted the F-15EX Eagle II aircraft’s first missile live-fire event.

The firing was carried out during an air-to-air Weapons System Evaluation Program (WSEP) mission near Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida.

83rd Fighter Weapons Squadron is managing the WSEP monthly event.

During the event, the aircraft took off on a sortie and used its onboard sensors to identify a BQM-167 aerial target drone.

Once the aircraft obtained a weapons-quality track, the aircrew aboard F-15EX fired an AIM-120D missile, as reported by Samuel King Jr.

Operational Flight Program Combined Test Force F-15EX test project manager Colton Myers said: “This was an end-to-end verification of the entire weapons system, which will pave the way for more complex missile shots in the future.”

The USAF currently has two F-15EXs, which were delivered by Boeing in March and April 2021.

Myers said: “The fact that both aircraft were able to turn around from a streamlined acceptance period and immediately deploy to a major exercise is a testament to the maturity of this platform, as well as the expertise of the combined test team as a whole.”

The event marks a milestone for the F-15EX test team at Eglin Air Force Base. It follows integrated developmental and operational flight testing carried out over six months.

The F-15EX has completed developmental testing, ground testing, survivability testing and some operational testing. It has also participated in the Northern Edge multiservice exercise in Alaska.

Myers added: “The combined developmental testing and operational testing (DT/OT) strategy has been critical to our test success, allowing us to break the mould of ‘traditional’ testing while ultimately resulting in an overall better product for the warfighter, and in a shorter timeline than if we adopted the traditional approach.”