Volume 03, Issue 11
BY KATHERINE SOPRANOS
Kim is one of eight F-15 student pilots and weapons systems officers who attended the March 16 ceremony at Boeing in St. Louis. The ceremony introduced the Republic of Korea's first F-15K, the most advanced, versatile F-15 Boeing ever created. Kim's elationas shared by Boeing, Korea, suppliers and hundreds of dedicated employees who developed and built the jetstems from the highly anticipated debut of this leading-edge aircraft. It integrates the proven F-15 airframe with highly advanced avionics and electronics that provide exceptional situational awareness and razor-sharp precision targetingin any weather, day or night.
"Korea wanted a true, multirole fighter," said Steve Winkler, director, F-15 production programs. "Everyone on the team has been highly energizedand proud to make the best fighter in the world that meets Korea's mission needs."
The Republic of Korea selected the F-15K Strike Eagle for its Next Generation Fighter Program in 2002. Under a $3.6 billion contract, Boeing will deliver 40 F-15Ks to the ROKAF by August 2008. Korea will introduce the first two aircraft in October at the Seoul Air Show.
"With the rollout of this airplane, the Republic of Korea will have the most capable F-15 in the world," said Jim Albaugh, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems president and CEO. "The F-15K brings new levels of performance in payload, survivability and precision strike to their Air Force. This fighter is the result of the hard work of the many men and women of Boeing who have committed themselves to satisfying our customer's requirements."
The F-15K is the latest version of the U.S. Air Force F-15E. Where the F-15E is a superior long-range interdiction fighter for the USAF, the F-15K enhances air-to-air and air-to-ground modes and adds new air-to-sea capabilitiesmaking it the most versatile long-range multirole fighter.
"Integration of the world's best multirole fighter into our force will certainly be a great momentum in improving our air power," said Gen. Lee Han Ho, the Republic of Korea Air Force Chief of Staff. "Moreover, the F-15K will enhance the interoperability between the Republic of Korea and the U.S. Air Force."
"The F-15K brings new things for [our] relationship with Korea," said Maj. Gen. Jack Hudson of the U.S. Air Force. "It brings new capabilities to coalition warfare training, planning and interoperability."
What makes the F-15K the best of the best? The addition of new capabilities and upgraded systems makes the F-15K even more lethal, survivable and maintainable than the F-15E, Winkler said. The F-15K upgrades include
"The F-15K is the next big step in the lifeline of the F-15 because of its modernization and superior capabilities," Winkler said. "It's important to us, too, because it supports the F-15 program." The F-15K enables Boeing to add more highly reliable systems to the F-15E.
The USAF currently plans to fly the F-15E beyond 2030, and technology and system upgrades are planned throughout that period. Korea also would have access to the USAF-developed upgrades for its F-15Ks.
In addition to producing F-15Es for the USAF, Boeing is exploring other international opportunities for the F-15 program. Currently, Israel, Japan and Saudi Arabia fly F-15s.
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