The first F-15QA fighter jet for the Qatari Air Force has conducted its maiden flight.
On Tuesday, the Qatari Ministry of Defense provided footage on its Twitter page of the maiden flight of the first F-15QA. The aircraft, which has not yet been painted, was seen conducting its flight at Boeing facilities in Missouri.
طائرات (اف-١٥) القطرية تقوم بأول رحلاتها التجريبية pic.twitter.com/kUvOrBvqLR
— وزارة الدفاع – دولة قطر (@MOD_Qatar) April 14, 2020
Qatar and the U.S. signed an agreement in 2017 covering the delivery of 36 F-15QA fighter jets, at a cost of about $12 billion. The production line for the fighter jets was formally inaugurated in August 2018, and assembly of the first jets for the Qatari Air Force got underway soon thereafter. In November 2018, Brig. Gen. Issa al-Mohannadi told media that Qatar expects to begin taking delivery of the aircraft in early 2021.
F-15QA jets have a larger number of hardpoints than other variants of the aircraft have. The aircraft also feature APG-63(V)3 AESA radars, a digital electronic warfare suite, and fly-by-wire flight control system.
In addition to the F-15QAs, Qatar’s Air Force has also ordered Rafales from Dassault and Eurofighter Typhoons. Rafale deliveries are underway, while the Typhoons should begin arriving in 2022.