After 15 months of training, eight Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) aircrew members are now ready to fly the Boeing [NYSE: BA] F-15K Strike Fighter.
The four pilots and four weapons systems officers graduated September 9 from training in St. Louis, where they learned the differences between the F-15E Strike Eagle and the F-15K.
"The ROKAF aircrews have done very well," said Steve Winkler, Boeing F-15K program manager. "The training is very demanding, whether it's in the classroom, a simulator or an actual aircraft, these pilots and weapons systems officers have done it all and the ROKAF should be very proud."
The training started in June 2004 with six months of language classes at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. From there, the aircrew was introduced to the F-15E to begin eight months of transition and instructor training at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C., before heading to St. Louis for the final three weeks of training.
"While the basic structure of the F-15K is the same as the F-15E, the aircrews trained with F-15K's modernized systems and advanced capabilities," said Ed Wilson, Boeing F-15E flight instructor. "The aircraft the ROKAF is receiving are the most modern and capable multi-role fighters in the world today, one of the big differences is the addition of an Infrared Search and Track System to detect targets."
The F-15K made its first flight in March, and will debut in Korea next month at the Seoul Air Show where it is expected to be a main attraction.
The F-15K can perform air-to-ground, air-to-air, and air-to-sea missions during day or night, in virtually any weather. It can carry more than 23,000 pounds of payload including the Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM), Harpoon Block II, Standoff Land Attack Munition Expanded Response, Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile and AIM-9X Sidewinder missiles.