F-15QA Ababil to perform at RIAT, Farnborough and St. Louis, Boeing says

An F-15QA Ababil will perform at three airshows in the USA and UK this summer – among the type’s first airshow appearances.

Boeing promised that the demonstration would be “better than ever with two jets”, referencing the jet’s sole previous airshow appearance: a thunderous solo display at the Dubai Airshow 2023. The displays will be crewed by Boeing test pilots.

Displays will be performed at the Spirit of St. Louis Airshow on the 8th-9th June 2024, followed by the Royal International Air Tattoo on the 19th-21st July and the Farnborough International Airshow the following week. Its appearance in St. Louis will be only the second display by an F-15 Advanced Eagle – and the first display by an F-15QA/EX – at a western airshow. The following performances at RIAT will mark the first full F-15 demonstration in the UK since 2011 and the first at the Air Tattoo since 2007.

At RIAT, the F-15 will be joining a substantial contingent from the Qatar Emiri Air Force, marking the air arm’s 50th anniversary. Alongside the F-15QA in the flying display will be a C-17A Globemaster III, EF2000 Typhoon, Hawk Mk.167 and NH90 NFH, all appearing on static display.

The F-15QA – roughly analagous to the USAF’s F-15EX – is a recent variant of the F-15 Advanced Eagle developed exclusively for the Qatar Emiri Air Force.

Based on the F-15E Strike Eagle, the Advanced Eagle has been upgraded with new, fully-fly-by-wire flight controls, more powerful engines, modernised avionics and two additional weapons stations. The first variant of the Advanced Eagle, the F-15SA Saudi Advanced, was developed for the Royal Saudi Air Force in the early-2010s and has been displayed in public a few times, including at Athens Flying Week 2022. It was then followed by an updated version, the F-15QA Ababil, which was developed for the Qatar Emiri Air Force. The F-15QA flew for the first time in 2020 and is the most advanced F-15 variant currently in operational service. The US Air Force then ordered a rebranded version of the F-15QA known as the F-15EX Eagle II – almost identical, except for a different Electronic Warfare system – which is due to enter service later this year.

The F-15QA made its global flying display debut at the Dubai Airshow 2023 and captured much attention with its blistering display routine, which included abrupt pulls, a tailslide, and a descending Split-S manoeuvre into a low speed pass, immediately followed by a double Immelmann, showcasing the Advanced Eagle’s impressive ability to use its power and aerodynamic braking to perform dramatic changes in airspeed even during vertical manoeuvring. Like its forthcoming appearance at RIAT, the display in Dubai utilised a Qatari aircraft crewed by Boeing test pilots, although all the displays were flown in a clean configuration, with pylons and CFTs removed.