The Oregon Air National Guard was chosen to be first to receive the Boeing F-15EX in 2022. New fighters will replace F-15C/D jets that are more than 40 years old and nearing the end of their service life.
According to the United States Air Force (USAF) announcement, the Oregon Air National Guard’s 173rd Fighter Wing, located at Kinsley Field, will become the first operational F-15EX squadron in the next three years.
The Military Department states that F-15EX jets will replace the Oregon Air National Guard’s aging fleet of Boeing F-15C/D Eagles, which are on track to exceed their recommended service life limits by the mid-2020s. The newly updated model of the iconic F-15 Eagle jet will assist other 5th generation fighters.
Oregon’s Air National Guard, which includes the 173rd Fighter Wing in Klamath Falls and the 142nd Wing in Portland, reports that the Kinsley Field Fighter wing will begin seeing first replacements to its aging jets in 2022, while the Air Force‘s first formal F-15EX training mission is expected to start out in 2023.
“I commend the U.S. Air Force’s decision to have 173rd Fighter Wing, Kingsley Field host the first F-15EX formal training mission,” stated Congressman Greg Walden in a press release.
“I am also pleased to hear that they will replace the base’s aging F-15Cs. This is welcome news for Kingsley Field, the Klamath Basin and the U.S. Air Force at large,” he added.
The USAF is also updating its F-15C Eagles, as well as F-15D fighters, which, as noted in Oregon Military Department statement, now operate in Westfield-Barnes Regional Airport in Massachusetts, Fresno Yosemite International Airport in California and Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base in Louisiana.
The main reason to choose Oregon for the F-15EX changeover indicates the importance of the Oregon Air National Guard’s missions. The aerial militia provides both homeland defense, protecting the skies of the Pacific Northwest and fighter pilot training to all Air Force F-15C/D fighters’ pilots.
“Now that we know what our future platform will be, we are committed to the same level of professionalism and dedication that we’ve demonstrated for decades. This is an exciting time for the Oregon Air National Guard and we embrace this new fleet of aircraft with absolute enthusiasm,” said Donna Prigmore, Commander of the Oregon Air National Guard.
As Mike Stencel, the Adjutant General of the Oregon National Guard declared, renewal of Eagle jets’ stimulates the financial and employment growth in the region after fighting impacts of Covid-19 pandemic.
“This announcement gives all of our Airmen who work to fly, maintain and support the F-15, a great sense of purpose moving forward,” stated Stencel.
The F-15EX on the outside appears to be very similar to the older F-15 model, however, according to Boeing, inside it incorporates new technologies developed over the last 40 years and boasts an ability to be quickly updated with new technologies.
As USAF reports, it is planned to buy at least 144 examples of the fighter jet which will operate until the 2040s.