Indonesia commits to buying ‘up to 24’ F-15EXs from Boeing

F-15EX Arrival

The first F-15EX parks next to a F-15E Strike Eagle on the ramp at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., after delivery 11 March, 2021. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Joshua Hoskins)

WASHINGTON — Indonesian and Boeing officials have inked a memorandum of understanding for the Southeast Asian country to acquire “up to 24” F-15EX fighter jets, Boeing announced in a Monday evening press release.

The agreement was signed following a tour of Boeing’s production line in St. Louis. Dollar amounts and delivery timelines for the potential deal, which must be approved by the US State Department, were not specified.

“We are pleased to announce our commitment to procure the critical F-15EX fighter capability for Indonesia,” Indonesian Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto said in the release. “This state-of-the-art fighter will protect and secure our nation with its advanced capabilities.”

The F-15EX, dubbed Eagle II, is the most advanced iteration of the fighter to date with enhanced capabilities like a new electronic warfare suite. The US Air Force is also procuring the jet as it seeks to recapitalize its aging fighter fleet, with officials deciding in the fiscal 2024 budget to extend the buy of the Eagle II for a total fleet size of 104.

However, cost is an ongoing concern for the jet. A top Boeing official recently backed away from a sub-$80 million per copy pricetag pledge for the US Air Force’s next two production lots, with budget documents showing that cost per-unit could rise to as high as $106 million in fiscal 2025. 

The company has also struggled with production issues on the F-15EX line, the Government Accountability Office noted in a recent report, raising risks that the Air Force’s initial operational capability (IOC) date could be missed.  

Boeing must deliver six more F-15EXs, known as the program’s Lot 1B fighters, before the program’s IOC can be declared, which was previously planned for June 2023. Following the GAO report, an Air Force spokesperson told Breaking Defense in June that all six of the F-15EX aircraft were still slated for delivery this calendar year. “While later than initially planned, Lot 1B aircraft deliveries and program milestone dates remain consistent with the F-15EX program’s acquisition baseline,” the spokesperson said. 

Last week, the company posted pictures on social media of one of those jets being moved to proceed with flight testing, with Boeing saying it will be delivered to the Air Force “later this year.” (Two F-15EXs are already in the Air Force’s possession, which were delivered in spring 2021 to facilitate rapid testing.) 

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