In Mid-December 2016, Saudi Arabia received the first batch of four Boeing F-15SA fighter jets, These aircraft completed a four-day ferry flight from United States through United Kingdom to arrive at the King Khalid Air Base in Saudi Arabia. A U.S. Air Force Douglas KC-10A Extender aerial refuelling aircraft supported the ferry flight including the Atlantic crossing.
Saudi Arabia has ordered 84 F-15SA fighters along with kits to upgrade existing Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) fleet of 70 F-15S multi-role fighters to the SA configuration in 2010. The first four jets delivered through RAF Lakenheath on 10 December 2016 included two new aircraft and two jets re-manufactured to the SA configuration (93-0857 & 93-0899).
The Boeing F-15SA is equipped with 11 wing weapon stations, two more than the F-15S, extending its already impressive 13 tonne weapon payload capability.
Upgraded avionics include a digital glass cockpit, fly-by-wire controls, a BAE Systems Digital Electronic Warfare System (DEWS), Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing Systems (JHMCS), a Raytheon APG-63(V)3 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar, Link-16 Multifunctional Information Distribution System and AN/AAS-42 Infrared Search and Track (IRST) Systems.
Flight testing of the first F-15SA began in 2013 and had a protracted development period. An unspecified issue with the digital fly-by-wire system delayed the delivery by almost one year.
The F-15SA is an incredibly capable machine, featuring some key changes from its progenitor, the F-15E Strike Eagle. These include a full fly-by-wire flight control system, APG-63V3 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar, digital electronic warfare and radar warning suite, missile launch detection system, updated flat-panel display cockpits with helmet mounted displays in both cockpits and an infrared search and track system, known as “Tiger Eyes,” built into the left intake targeting pod pylon. The F-15SA also features F-110- GE-129 engines, capable of putting out almost 30,000 pounds of thrust each.
When it comes to weapons, the F-15SA can carry almost anything in the inventory. In the incredible image above showing an “extreme multi-role loadout” it packs: 2x AIM-120AMRAAMs, 2x AIM-9X Sidewinders, 2x AGM-84 SLAM-ERs, 2x AGM-88 HARMs, 6x GBU-54/B Laser JDAMs, and 8x GBU-39/B Small Diameter Bombs.
Also, the F-15SA still packs the F-15E’s 20mm Vulcan cannon with 540 rounds available. Basically, with this jet you get a tactical fighter force “in a box.” The loadout shown above includes weapons for long-range stand-off deep-strike, suppression of enemy air defences (SEAD), counter-air, direct precision attack and standoff precision attack all on the jet at the same time. Even after all that, the F-15SA’s centre-line station remains unused, which can accommodate up to a 2,000lb JDAM, an external fuel tank or even a synthetic aperture radar surveillance pod.
First flown in 1986, the F-15 was designed as a twin-seat fighter-bomber with the co-pilot to operate the ground attack weapons delivery system. It can fly at a max speed of 2.5 Mach and can operate at a Max altitude of 70,000 feet (21,336 m). Conformal fuel tanks attached to air intakes, below the wing roots, extend the combat range to 1000 nautical miles (1852 km) including 20 min loiter.
Since 10 December 2016, there has been a steady flow of Saudi Air Force Boeing F-15SA’s staging through RAF Lakenheath on their delivery flight to Saudi Arabia as can be seen by the table below.
|23 September 2019||12-1004||Boeing F-15SA Eagle||SA-04||RETRO 61|
|29 March 2017||12-1005||Boeing F-15SA Eagle||SA-05||RETRO 61|
|10 December 2016||12-1006||Boeing F-15SA Eagle||SA-06||RETRO 64|
|14 August 2017||12-1007||Boeing F-15SA Eagle||SA-07||RETRO 61|
|29 March 2017||12-1008||Boeing F-15SA Eagle||SA-08||RETRO 62|
|10 December 2016||12-1010||Boeing F-15SA Eagle||SA-10||RETRO 63|
|14 August 2017||12-1011||Boeing F-15SA Eagle||SA-11||RETRO 62|
|27 September 2017||12-1012||Boeing F-15SA Eagle||SA-12||RETRO 61|
|10 December 2018||12-1013||Boeing F-15SA Eagle||SA-13||RETRO 61|
|10 December 2018||12-1014||Boeing F-15SA Eagle||SA-14||RETRO 62|
|10 December 2018||12-1015||Boeing F-15SA Eagle||SA-15||RETRO 63|
|14 August 2017||12-1016||Boeing F-15SA Eagle||SA-16||RETRO 63|
|27 September 2017||12-1017||Boeing F-15SA Eagle||SA-17||RETRO 66|
|23 July 2018||12-1018||Boeing F-15SA Eagle||SA-18||RETRO 61|
|10 December 2018||12-1019||Boeing F-15SA Eagle||SA-15||RETRO 64|
|23 March 2018||12-1020||Boeing F-15SA Eagle||SA-20||RETRO 61|
|14 May 2018||12-1021||Boeing F-15SA Eagle||SA-21||HURON 61|
|23 March 2018||12-1022||Boeing F-15SA Eagle||SA-22||RETRO 62|
|23 March 2018||12-1023||Boeing F-15SA Eagle||SA-23||RETRO 63|
|23 July 2018||12-1024||Boeing F-15SA Eagle||SA-24||RETRO 62|
|23 July 2018||12-1025||Boeing F-15SA Eagle||SA-25||RETRO 63|
|23 July 2018||12-1026||Boeing F-15SA Eagle||SA-26||RETRO 64|
|27 September 2017||12-1027||Boeing F-15SA Eagle||SA-27||RETRO 62|
|27 September 2017||12-1028||Boeing F-15SA Eagle||SA-28||RETRO 65|
|23 September 2019||12-1029||Boeing F-15SA Eagle||SA-29||RETRO 62|
|27 September 2017||12-1030||Boeing F-15SA Eagle||SA-30||RETRO 64|
|14 August 2017||12-1031||Boeing F-15SA Eagle||SA-31||RETRO 64|
|29 March 2017||12-1032||Boeing F-15SA Eagle||SA-32||RETRO 63|
|11 August 2020||12-1033||Boeing F-15SA Eagle||SA-33||RETRO 71|
|11 August 2020||12-1034||Boeing F-15SA Eagle||SA-34||RETRO 72|
|11 August 2020||12-1035||Boeing F-15SA Eagle||SA-35||RETRO 73|
|27 September 2017||12-1036||Boeing F-15SA Eagle||SA-36||RETRO 63|
|14 August 2017||12-1037||Boeing F-15SA Eagle||SA-37||RETRO 65|
|14 August 2017||12-1038||Boeing F-15SA Eagle||SA-38||RETRO 66|
|29 March 2017||12-1039||Boeing F-15SA Eagle||SA-39||RETRO 64|
|13 February 2017||12-1041||Boeing F-15SA Eagle||SA-41||RETRO 31|
|23 September 2019||12-1042||Boeing F-15SA Eagle||SA-42||RETRO 63|
|13 February 2017||12-1043||Boeing F-15SA Eagle||SA-43||RETRO 32|
|02 December 2019||12-1044||Boeing F-15SA Eagle||SA-44||RETRO 61|
|13 February 2017||12-1045||Boeing F-15SA Eagle||SA-45||RETRO 33|
|26 March 2019||12-1046||Boeing F-15SA Eagle||SA-46||RETRO 61|
|29 March 2017||12-1047||Boeing F-15SA Eagle||SA-47||RETRO 65|
|26 March 2019||12-1049||Boeing F-15SA Eagle||SA-49||RETRO 62|
|29 July 2019||12-1050||Boeing F-15SA Eagle||SA-50||RETRO 66|
|29 July 2019||12-1051||Boeing F-15SA Eagle||SA-51||RETRO 65|
|29 July 2019||12-1052||Boeing F-15SA Eagle||SA-52||RETRO 64|
|23 March 2018||12-1054||Boeing F-15SA Eagle||SA-54||RETRO 64|
|14 May 2018||12-1060||Boeing F-15SA Eagle||SA-60||HURON 62|
|28 September 2018||12-1061||Boeing F-15SA Eagle||SA-61||RETRO 61|
|02 December 2019||12-1062||Boeing F-15SA Eagle||SA-62||RETRO 62|
|14 May 2018||12-1063||Boeing F-15SA Eagle||SA-63||HURON 63|
|14 May 2018||12-1064||Boeing F-15SA Eagle||SA-64||HURON 64|
|28 September 2018||12-1067||Boeing F-15SA Eagle||SA-67||RETRO 62|
|23 July 2018||12-1068||Boeing F-15SA Eagle||SA-68||RETRO 65|
|28 September 2018||12-1069||Boeing F-15SA Eagle||SA-69||RETRO 63|
|28 September 2018||12-1070||Boeing F-15SA Eagle||SA-70||RETRO 64|
|26 March 2019||12-1074||Boeing F-15SA Eagle||SA-74||RETRO 63|
|26 March 2019||12-1075||Boeing F-15SA Eagle||SA-75||RETRO 64|
|29 July 2019||12-1076||Boeing F-15SA Eagle||SA-76||RETRO 63|
|29 July 2019||12-1077||Boeing F-15SA Eagle||SA-77||RETRO 62|
|29 July 2019||12-1078||Boeing F-15SA Eagle||SA-78||RETRO 61|
|23 September 2019||12-1079||Boeing F-15SA Eagle||SA-79||RETRO 64|
|02 December 2019||12-1080||Boeing F-15SA Eagle||SA-80||RETRO 63|
|02 December 2019||12-1081||Boeing F-15SA Eagle||SA-81||RETRO 64|
|02 December 2019||12-1082||Boeing F-15SA Eagle||SA-82||RETRO 65|
|11 August 2020||12-1084||Boeing F-15SA Eagle||SA-84||RETRO 74|
|10 December 2016||93-0857||Boeing F-15SA Eagle||1257||RETRO 65|
|10 December 2016||93-0899||Boeing F-15SA Eagle||1316||RETRO 66|
Staging through RAF Lakenheath has given many an enthusiast a chance to see this advanced F-15SA’s albeit devoid of armaments, the fuselage weapon stations are clearly in view with the white travel pods as is the blue and grey livery. The only disappointment is that they have U.S.A.F. markings on them, not Saudi Arabian. The delivery flights usually arrive early evening into RAF Lakenheath having departed from the Boring plant at Palmdale
These deliveries usually stay two or three days at RAF Lakenheath before continuing with their onward journey to King Khalid Air Base with the help of United States Air Force Douglas KC-10A or Boeing KC-135 that stays at RAF Mildenhall.
The following have yet to be delivered.
|12-1001||Boeing F-15SA Eagle||SA-01|
|12-1002||Boeing F-15SA Eagle||SA-02|
|12-1003||Boeing F-15SA Eagle||SA-03|
|12-1009||Boeing F-15SA Eagle||SA-09|
|12-1048||Boeing F-15SA Eagle||SA-48|
|12-1083||Boeing F-15SA Eagle||SA-83|
Published in Issue 25 of Spotters Magazine
All issues can be located at Spotters Magazine Issues
Screengrabs of the actual magazine report.