KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. — Pilots with the Oregon Air National Guard's 173rd Fighter Wing stationed at Kingsley Field will soon receive an updated model of their iconic F-15 Eagle jet.
According to the 173rd, the fighter wing will begin seeing replacements to its aging F-15C/D jets in 2022, when formal training missions begin on the new F-15EX model. The Air National Guard base in Portland will be the first operational F-15EX squadron in 2023.
"The F-15C/D legacy platform is more than 40 years old and nearing the end of its service life," the 173rd said in a statement. "Whereas, the F-15EX, with a 20,000-hour airframe life, guarantees the long-term viability and extension of the mission of the Oregon Air National Guard for many years to come."
The 173rd said that the F-15EX is a "proven homeland defense platform" that will complement other modern, fifth-generation fighters. The new model also boasts an ability to be quickly updated with new technology as it emerges.
“This announcement gives all of our Airmen who work to fly, maintain and support the F-15, a great sense of purpose moving forward,” stated Maj. Gen. Mike Stencel, Adjutant Genera for the Oregon National Guard.
"I commend the U.S. Air Force’s decision to have 173rd Fighter Wing, Kingsley Field host the first F-15EX formal training mission," said Rep. Greg Walden. "I am also pleased to hear that they will replace the base’s aging F-15Cs. This is welcome news for Kingsley Field, the Klamath Basin and the U.S. Air Force at large."
Boeing, the company behind the F-15 fighter after having acquired McDonnell Douglas in 1997, touts the F-15EX as a "cost-effective" platform — due in part to the fact that it does not require new training squadrons or logistics chains.