(Newsroom America) -- The Air Force is looking to extend the life of its F-15 fighter fleet by thousands of hours to more than double the jets' initial life of 8,000 flight hours, Defense Tech reported last week.
"About two and a half years ago, the U.S. Air Force wanted fatigue tests on C models," said Brad Jones, F-15 mission systems director for Boeing, which manufactures the plane.
As the fighter approached its initially planned service life in total flight hours, Air Force officials decided to see how long the service could delay fleet requirements, Jones told reporters during a recent briefing.
The design service life of the F-15 is 8,000 flight hours, but the first planes off the assembly line have already flown in excess of 10,000 hours, Boeing officials have said.
The aircraft maker is now developing full-scale fatigue testing certifications to push F-15C/D models to 18,000 hours, and F-15E models to 32,000 hours.
"Structural fatigue improvements in current-production F-15s provide longer life and reduced maintenance requirements," Boeing says.
"We do not have an end date for the F-15," Jones said, adding there are a number of programs to make U.S. and international variants of the fighter better as they age.
One modernization program seeks to retrofit all F-15Es with new radar and weapons suites by 2021. In addition, Boeing is offering an advanced cockpit system "that includes a large-area display, low-profile head-up display, reference standby display and low-profile engine fuel hydraulics display, all of which replace 23 existing displays, instruments and indicators," Defense Tech reported.
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