Saudi Arabia to Upgrade F-15 Fighter Jets Amid Middle East Instability

© AP Photo / Hassan Ammar, FileF-15 warplanes of the Saudi Air Force fly over the Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh during a graduation ceremony at King Faisal Air Force University
F-15 warplanes of the Saudi Air Force fly over the Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh during a graduation ceremony at King Faisal Air Force University - Sputnik International
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Saudi Arabia will upgrade its US-built F-15 Eagle fighter jets, defense contractor Lockheed Martin with the sensor suite that includes Sniper Advanced Targeting Pods (ATP), LANTIRN Extended Range (ER) navigation pods and Infrared Search and Track (IRST) systems.

A picture taken 30 October 2000 shows an UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter flying near the Prince Sultan Air Base, Saudi Arabia. - Sputnik International
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WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Saudi Arabia will upgrade its US-built F-15 Eagle fighter jets, defense contractor Lockheed Martin announced in a news release on Monday amid ongoing military operations in the Middle East.

The US Air Force awarded Lockheed Martin earlier a $262.8 million contract to provide maintenance services for the navigation and targeting equipment of the Saudi F-15 fighter jets.

“The sensor suite includes Sniper Advanced Targeting Pods (ATP), LANTIRN Extended Range (ER) navigation pods and Infrared Search and Track (IRST) systems,” the release explained.

Sniper ATP is a precision targeting system chosen by the US Air Force and 21 international air forces and IRST is a passive sensor system used by international F-15 customers, Lockheed Martin said.

F-15 warplanes of the Saudi Air Force fly over the Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh during a graduation ceremony at King Faisal Air Force University - Sputnik International
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“LANTIRN ER pods operate day or night, providing low-level navigation with terrain-following radar on international F-15 and F-16 aircraft,” the company said.

Many countries, including the United States, Russia and France, have been conducting airstrikes against the Islamic State and other terrorist groups in Iraq and Syria.

Moreover, the United States has deployed units of F-15s in Turkey to protect Turkish air space after Ankara alleged violations of its air space by Russian aircraft combatting Islamic State forces in Syria.

In October, the US Air Force also awarded Boeing a $281.7 contract to upgrade 17 (V)3 and 29 RMP radars on its F-15 jets.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has expressed interest to purchase additional upgrades to the F-15 fighter jet systems.

The F-15 Eagle is an all-weather tactical fighter that first became operational in 1976 and is projected to be in service with the US Air Force through 2025.

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