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C4iSR: Air

US Air Force issues sole source notices for F-15EX aircraft, engines

29 January 2020
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The General Electric F110-GE-129 engine that will power the Boeing F-15EX Advanced Eagle. Source: General Electric

Key Points

  • The US Air Force announced its intent to formally procure the F-15EX aircraft, engine, and future modernisation work
  • These are likely the first contracts awarded for the F-15EX effort since the spending bill was signed into law in December

The US Air Force (USAF) on 23 January issued sole source notices for the Boeing F-15EX Advanced Eagle fighter aircraft, the General Electric F110 propulsion system, and future modernisation and sustainment efforts.

The service plans to acquire as many as 480 F110 engines, engine monitoring system computers, integrated logistics support, support equipment, and tooling, according to an announcement posted on the US federal contracting website beta.sam.gov. The F110 is found in new model F-15s including the F-15SA procured by Saudi Arabia. The contract award and orders are expected to begin in May.

The USAF said that the F-15EX requires a propulsion system to support its Rapid Fielding Program, which is intended to refresh and replace ageing F-15C/D aircraft. The F-15EX, the announcement said, requires delivery of a propulsion system certified for installation in the platform, including integration with the fly-by-wire flight control system.

A source familiar with the sale told Jane's on 28 January that this is why the USAF did not consider engine competitor Pratt & Whitney for the F-15EX, even though the USAF's F-15C/D aircraft are powered by the company's F100-PW-220 engines. The source said that selecting a Pratt & Whitney engine would require the USAF to go back into a test programme and, thus, delay the F-15EX's procurement as the GE F110 has been in a test programme at Edwards Air Force Base (AFB), California, to match the propulsion system with the aircraft's fly-by-wire flight controls. Jane's previously reported in September 2019 that the F110-GE-129 was the variant qualified for the F-15EX.

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