But in 2016, Qatar reached out, and a year later, Boeing was awarded a $6.2 billion contract for 36 new planes.
When Leeanne Caret, CEO of Boeing’s defense arm, addressed Qatari officials on Wednesday, she said the deal led to work on an upgraded F-15, the EX, that got Washington writing checks again.
Kumar, the F-15 program head, later said the Qatari variant created a baseline for the EX, which has radar and other systems unique to the U.S.
“We owe you gratitude in so many forms,” Caret told Qatari officials before unveiling the plane at Wednesday’s event.
The U.S. Air Force inked a $1.2 billion contract last July for eight updated planes, two of which were delivered earlier this year. Congress passed a budget with money for 12 additional planes in December. And in its most recent budget proposal in May, the Air Force said it expects to buy 144 in total.
Kumar said that will keep the line going through the end of the decade.
It may not stop there, though. Kumar said the Air Force contract provides for the purchase of up to 200 planes depending on its need. The new American model has also attracted interest from several potential foreign buyers, he said.
Originally Appeared Here