Delivery has commenced for a second batch of F-15SA Advanced Eagles for the Royal Saudi Air Force. Although four aircraft departed the Boeing factory airfield at St Louis, Missouri, one suffered a technical problem and turned back.
The three remaining jets landed at RAF Lakenheath, Suffolk on the afternoon of February 9 led by 12-1041 using the callsign ‘Retro 31’. The other two aircraft that stopped over in the UK were 12-1043 and 12-1045.
Deliveries of RSAF Advanced Eagles got underway when the first four aircraft landed at Lakenheath on December 10. In landing order, they comprised 93-0899 callsign ‘Retro 66’, 12-1010 ‘Retro 63’, 12-1006 ‘Retro 64’ and 93-0857 ‘Retro 65’. Tanker support for the transatlantic ferry flight was provided by US Air Force KC-10A Extender.
Of these, 93-0857 and 93-0899 were existing RSAF F-15S aircraft that have been upgraded to F-15SA standard, while the remaining two are new production aircraft. All four continued on to Saudi Arabia, where they are joined the F-15SA Formal Training Unit, the 55th Squadron, at Khamis Mushayt Air Base.
The RSAF is buying 84 new-build F-15SAs and upgrading 70 existing F-15S aircraft to F-15SA standard. The latter comprise two prototype conversions undertaken by Boeing in St Louis, followed by 68 production upgrades carried out in Saudi Arabia.
Photo: Ryan Dorling