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First Saudi F-15SR conversion flies

Posted 30 June 2020 · Add Comment

Alsalam Aerospace Industries (AAI) has completed the first in-country conversion of an F-15S (Saudi) aircraft to F-15SA (Saudi advanced) standard, writes Jon Lake.

The F-15SA is a derivative of the two-seat F-15E Strike Eagle multi-role fighter, and is the most advanced variant of the Eagle in service.
The aircraft is equipped with a Raytheon AN/APG-63(V)3 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, a BAE Systems digital electronic warfare system/common missile warning system (DEWS/CMWS), and other advanced avionics systems.
The first locally converted Boeing F-15SR performed its initial functional check flight (FCF) from Riyadh International Airport on January 15 2020.
The F-15SR designation is applied to F-15S Strike Eagle aircraft converted to the latest F-15SA standards.
Saudi Arabia has purchased 84 new-build F-15SAs, and at least 68 of these have now been delivered to the Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF). The 55th and 29th squadrons are now fully equipped.
The F-15SA programme for Saudi Arabia includes the conversion of all surviving F-15S aircraft to the new standard, and 70 upgrade kits were ordered at the same time as the new-build aircraft.
The first two conversions were undertaken at Boeing’s facilities at St Louis, one by a Saudi team from AAI. These two aircraft were delivered (with the first two F-15SAs) in December 2016.
The recent loss of two F-15S aircraft means that AAI will now convert 66 surviving RSAF F-15S to F-15SA standards in-kingdom.
The company is manufacturing new wings, forward fuselages, pylons, and adaptors, as well as undertaking the upgrade. Riyadh-based AEC will manufacture certain avionics components as part of the programme.
AAI accepted the first F-15S aircraft for conversion on October 21 2018, and has now received 10 F-15S aircraft from the RSAF. The first of these to be completed made its initial functional check flight on February 2 2020, with the new nose section still in primer paint.
The F-15SR conversion programme will take six years, with the final aircraft to be handed over by June 2026.
 

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