Belleville News-Democrat

Boeing delivers first of F-15QA fighter jets at ceremony in St. Louis

- BY GAREN VARTANIAN gvartanian@bnd.com

Defense contractor Boeing on Wednesday unveiled an upgraded F-15QA fighter jet it manufactur­ed for the Qatar Air Force.

The new fighter jets are part of a Department of Defense’s $6.2 billion contract awarded to Boeing to manufactur­e 36 advanced F-15s for the QEAF. Boeing was additional­ly awarded a U.S. Air Force foreign military sale contract in 2019 for F-15QA aircrew and maintenanc­e training for the QEAF.

Qatar Air Force pilots have been training on the new fighters at Scott Air Force Base.

Boeing leaders and employees, Qatar Emiri Air Force officials and Missouri government leaders celebrated the rollout of the first of 36 fighters in a hangar at St. Louis Lambert Internatio­nal Airport.

“Despite a pandemic, today we are unveiling the latest and greatest eagle. It is the most advanced version of the undefeated F-15 and was built specifical­ly for the Qatar Air Force,” President/CEO, Boeing Defense, Space & Security Leanne Caret said. “It can fly faster and longer and carry a few more payloads than any other aircraft out there.

“This is a 21st century fighter that we are all proud of . ... But it so much more than that — it’s a symbol of partnershi­p.”

The first set of F-15QA jets will go to Qatar later this year following the completion of the pilot training, according to a press release from Boeing. Boeing will establish and operate an aircrew, maintenanc­e training center for the QEAF at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar through 2024. It also will provide logistics support.

The airplanes were manufactur­ed in St. Louis. A test run of the new aircraft took place

Tuesday, which included a flyover of the Arch.

“This F-15 is as much a part of the St. Louis skyline as the St. Louis Arch, said Vice President/ GM, Boeing Bombers & Fighters Steve Parker said.

Some of the jets arrived at MidAmerica Airport near Mascaoutah on Feb. 20 this year and training by U.S. Air Force flight instructor­s began shortly thereafter. By the time the year-long training mission at MidAmerica ends, Qatar pilots will have flown more than 1,000 sorties, according to Boeing.

It was during the training in May that two U.S. military pilots were ejected from a grounded F-15QA and transporte­d to an area hospital with nonlife threatenin­g injuries. The fighters were not damaged, a public affairs officer at Scott Air Force Base said at the time.

“We are grateful to Qatar for being such valued partners,” Heidi Grant, director, Defense Security Cooperatio­n Agency (USAF). “These (the F-15QA) are the most capable fighters in the world. These aircraft represent a transforma­tional leap in capability.”

 ?? DERIK HOLTMANN dholtmann@bnd.com ?? Boeing leaders and employees, joined by Qatar Emiri Air Force leaders and Missouri government officials, celebrate the rollout of Qatar’s advanced F-15, the F-15QA, built and assembled in St. Louis.
DERIK HOLTMANN dholtmann@bnd.com Boeing leaders and employees, joined by Qatar Emiri Air Force leaders and Missouri government officials, celebrate the rollout of Qatar’s advanced F-15, the F-15QA, built and assembled in St. Louis.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United States