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Qatari F-15QA suffers runway mishap on pre-delivery trials

A Boeing F-15QA Advanced Eagle combat aircraft destined for Qatar suffered a mishap when two US Air Force (USAF) pilots ejected while the aircraft was on the ground during pre-delivery trials in the United States.

The incident occurred at MidAmerica St. Louis Airport in Illinois on 18 May. Images posted of the aircraft afterwards show it to have suffered little to no visible damage, with only the two ejection seats and canopy missing.

β€œAn F-15QA, recently accepted by the [US] Air Force from the Boeing Corporation, departed the runway today at MidAmerica Airport, Illinois. Two US active-duty pilots who were on board ejected safely and received minor injuries. The aircraft was slated to be transferred to the Qatari [Emiri] Air Force through the Foreign Military Sales programme. The incident is currently under investigation,” the USAF said in a statement.

The Qatari Emiri Air Force (QEAF) is due to receive 36 F-15QA (Qatar Advanced) fighters with options for a further 36, although the US Department of Defense (DoD) has repeatedly referred to an order for 48 aircraft. The first were due to be delivered to the DoD by June 2021, but from the USAF statement it appears this had already occurred. The initial aircraft will remain in the US until in-country facilities are ready in 2022.

Initial operating capability (IOC) is officially set for later in 2022, with deliveries of the 36 expectd to run through to early 2023. However, the timeline to complete the build of the maintenance hangar at Al-Jaber Airbase suggests a commencement of in-country deliveries in mid-2023 is more likely.

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