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US Air Force’s (USAF) Eglin Air Force Base (AFB) in Florida, US, has received the latest F-15EX advanced fighter aircraft.

The airbase is planning to conduct developmental testing (DT) and operational testing (OT) as soon as possible following the delivery of EX1 and EX2 next year.

The DT and OT planning and provisioning for the aircraft will be managed by the Operational Flight Program Combined Test Force.

EX1 will be delivered to the 40th Flight Test Squadron (FLTS), while EX2 will be delivered to the 85th Test and Evaluation Squadron.

DT and OT will be conducted simultaneously by squadron aircrews and testers together.

Earlier this month, the USAF awarded Boeing a $1.2bn contract for the production of the first lot of eight F-15EX advanced fighter aircraft.

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By GlobalData

USAF 40th FLTS lead F-15EX DT pilot Major Brett Hughes said: “The time has come to upgrade the aging F-15C/D fleet and that presents itself in the form of F-15EX, the most advanced F-15 ever created.

“This represents years of iterative design and battle-proven technologies. The 40th FLTS, a squadron full of developmental testers, is ready to meet the challenge of testing America’s newest fighter.”

Similar in appearance with F-15, which entered service in 1976, F-15EX features digital flight controls, advanced cockpit touch displays, new sensors and advanced computer technology.

These upgrade features provide F-15EX with improved capability, as well as rapid adaptability to new weapons and technologies.

The F-15EX has the ability to carry weapons payload three times more than the F-35.

Airmen from the 96th Maintenance Group have been selected to undergo familiarisation classroom academics and gain hands-on training experience to maintain the fighter advancements.

These newly qualified technicians will become trainers for the maintenance group.

The aircrew will receive Boeing training and an F-15EX simulator this year to gain first hands-on experience.

Following aircrew familiarisation mission, they will commence test and evaluation of the aircraft’s hardware, software and weapons.

The initial testing phase will focus on ensuring that the software and avionics systems are integrated with the aircraft’s advanced cockpit and controls as per standards.