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The F-15EX Eagle II fighter has one big question to answer

Resume: The F-15EX Eagle II, an advanced version of the McDonnell Douglas F-15E Strike Eagle, is designed to complement the U.S. Air Force fleet by assuming a variety of critical roles including air superiority, homeland defense and air support missions. .

-The F-15EX is known for its non-stealth capabilities and remains a formidable force in the air with improved armament, avionics and electronic warfare systems. The Eagle II can reach speeds of Mach 2.25 and is equipped with an advanced pulse Doppler radar. It can carry as much as 13.6 tons of weapons, making it a very versatile and powerful aircraft.

-The integration of modern technology such as the Eagle Passive Active Warning Survivability System (EPAWSS) and a rugged mission computer improves its operational effectiveness, ensuring its relevance on modern battlefields despite the prevalence of stealth-oriented designs in contemporary air combat scenarios.

The F-15EX has no stealth: does that mean it can’t fight (a question that needs to be answered)

The F-15EX is a powerhouse of a fighter aircraft. It has already broken records and is by far the most heavily equipped air superiority aircraft in service.

Derived from the McDonnell Douglas F-15E Strike Eagle, the Eagle II is designed to complement newer fighters in air superiority missions by conducting homeland and air base defense, deploying standoff weapons in support of stealth fighters and enforcing no-fly zones against limited air defenses.

Just like the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, the latest version of the legendary Cold War fighter plane has not gone unnoticed in the air. But while these airframes don’t possess the stealth qualities of their F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning II counterparts, they are still relevant and deadly fighters.

The F-15EX Eagle II: specifications and capabilities

The Eagle II program was authorized under the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2020, signed in 2019. Boeing was awarded a $1.2 billion contract the same year to produce the first order of F-15EX jets.

The new Eagle variant is fast and agile. It can reach Mach 2.25 and cover a range of more than 3,000 kilometers. Two General Electric F100-PW-229 turbofans with afterburners power the fighter, each capable of producing 29,000 pounds of thrust.


Of all the F-15EX’s capabilities, its armaments are perhaps the most important. Fox News first reported last year that the F-15EX can carry up to a dozen air-to-air missiles, which is double the typical number of its predecessor. This bomb truck of an aircraft can carry 13.6 tons of weapons, more than any previous Eagle variant.

To make the platform even more intriguing, the F-15EX is cheaper and more capable than older versions of the Lightning II. Some of the missile systems the platform can carry include the AIM-9 Sidewinder heat-seeking air-to-air missile and the AIM-120 advanced medium-range, beyond-visual-range, radar-homing air-to-air missile. The F-15EX could also function as an airborne support platform, carrying 24 air-to-ground munitions, ranging from cruise missiles and stand-off weapons to conventional bombs and smart munitions.

F-15EX Eagle II: what about countermeasures and avionics?

According to Air Force Magazine, lethal weapons won’t be Eagle’s only asset: “The new aircraft would feature a substantially more powerful mission computer, new cockpit displays, a digital backbone and the Eagle Passive Active Warning Survivability System (EPAWSS). — an electronic warfare and threat identification system.”

The Eagle II’s pulse Doppler radar system can detect all targets without being disoriented by ground clutter. In addition, it can track and follow other aircraft at distances beyond visual range. These capabilities, combined with the Eagle’s payload and advanced warning system, make the platform a dangerous force in the air.

Unlike the F-35, the Eagle has been tested many times. It may not have stealth, but its proven combat performance would be an asset if a major power war breaks out in the near future.

About the Author: Maya Carlin

Maya Carlin, National Security Writer at The National Interest, is an analyst at the Center for Security Policy and a former Anna Sobol Levy Fellow at IDC Herzliya in Israel. She has had bylines in many publications, including The National Interest, Jerusalem Post and Times of Israel. You can follow her on Twitter: @MayaCarlin.

Image credits: US Air Force.