We broke the news earlier this week that the Saudis are close to finalizing a deal to buy an additional 72 Boeing Strike Eagles. Certain Pentagon offices have been working the specific arrangements to ensure the deal goes through smoothly.
I wrote that Riyadh has been eyeballing the low-observable F-15 “Silent Eagle” version. An industry source tells me it’s more likely the buy will be the F-15SG configuration which is now being built for Singapore; basically an advanced version of the F-15E. It is the most modern and capable F-15 in production and comes with an Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar and a third generation Lockheed Martin SNIPER targeting pod.
The Saudi F-15Ss bought in the early 1990s were shipped with downgraded radars and some electronics countermeasures systems were also of lesser quality than what is standard on U.S. Air Force F-15s.
The new F-15s would replace the Royal Saudi Air Force’s fleet of 88 F-15C/Ds, which are getting a bit long in the tooth, delivered as they were in the 1980s. As a Pentagon source told me, the older aircraft have been leaving a few bolts on the tarmac as RSAF maintenance hasn’t always been the best.