Saudi Arabia unveiled its next-generation fighter-bomber on Wednesday.
At a ceremony and air show in the Saudi capital, a hangar opened to reveal one of the F-15SA Eagle aircraft made by US manufacturer Boeing. A missile was attached to the belly of the plane displayed against the backdrop of a giant Saudi flag.
Watched by King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz and his son, Defence Minister and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, the unveiling at the King Faisal Air Academy was part of a ceremony to mark the school’s 50th anniversary and the graduation of its latest class. The king, who was accompanied by Sudanese President Omar Hassan Al-Bashir, congratulated the 91st batch of students from the college.
After the honoring ceremony, the king and other dignitaries watched an airshow including a display by the Saudi Hawks team, who recently registered in the Guinness Book of world records for their performance depicting the Kingdom's logo — two swords and a palm.
Saudi Arabia is to add 84 F-15SA warplanes to its air force under a nearly $30-billion (Dh110 billion) deal signed in 2011 that also included Black Hawk and Apache helicopters.
According to IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, the first of the F-15SAs — the most advanced version of the Eagle built so far — arrived in December.
Saudi Arabia also has Eurofighter Typhoons and Tornados, which joined several F-15s — including the newest version — in the air show held over the skies of Riyadh.