EGLIN AFB, Fla. (WKRG) — Dozens of military personnel and leaders got a glimpse of the F-15EX Eagle II on Wednesday.

At a ceremony celebrating the arrival of the Air Force’s newest fighter jet, a curtain dropped to reveal the F-15EX and a crowd applauded its innovation and modernization.

“The F-15 with each of its models has been a venerable workhorse for the United States and its allies for decades. It’s proven itself time and time again with its unmatched versatility and lethality in combat and its deterrent capability in peacetime,” said Brig. Gen. Scott A. Cain,
commander of the 96th Test Wing at Eglin Air Force base. “It stands to reason then that the EX will build upon that legacy.”

The rollout of the new aircraft comes as older F-15 jets become outdated — many outflying their recommended lifespan, according to military officials.

“These brand new aircraft represent a significant upgrade over the legacy of the F-15C. A significant upgrade in weapon’s capacity, including the ability to carry outsized weapons,” said Lt. Gen. Michael A. Loah, director of the Air National Guard.

F-15EXs will be tested at Eglin to ensure the jets are combat-ready before being mass-produced. The jet is produced by Boeing.

The Air Force will acquire up to 144 F-15EXs from Boeing, to replace F-15C/D models. The goal is to increase the F-15 fleet fighter readiness.

The 173rd Fighter Wing at Kingsley Field Air National Guard Base is in line to be the first F-15EX formal training unit in 2024, according to an Eglin media release. The first operational F-15EX squadron will function in the Oregon Air National Guard for critical homeland defense alert missions.