The Air Force has begun a new phase of testing its F-15E Eagle fleet with its future electronic warfare sensor suite at Edwards Air Force Base, California, the service said April 14.

The F-15Es in testing are outfitted with the Eagle Passive/Active Warning and Survivability System (EPAWSS) radar, in a collaborative effort among the F-15 System Program Office at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio; the 96th Test Wing’s 46th Test Squadron at Eglin AFB, Florida; the 412th Test Wing’s 412th Electronic Warfare Group’s 772nd Test Squadron at Edwards; and contractors Boeing [BA] and BAE Systems.

The first phase of EPAWSS testing was completed in April 2019, but these ongoing tests at the Benefield Anechoic Facility at Edwards will help the Air Force collect data to establish the integration of the new radar onto the F-15E platform, said Ed Sabat, Project Development Lead and Civilian Director of Operations, 772nd Test Squadron, in a Wednesday release.

“Tests must establish and provide verification of the interoperability and [radio frequency] compatibility among the EPAWSS, the AN/APG-82 radar and various existing avionics at the installed system level on the aircraft, as it would fly versus in a system lab,” Sabat said.

The modernized radar will replace the Eagle’s 1970s-era Tactical Electronic Warfare System (TEWS) self-protection suite, which was designed against increasingly obsolete threat systems and is more difficult and expensive to support, the Air Force said.

Once this phase of EPAWSS testing is complete, additional tests are planned ahead of an expected Milestone C decision in fiscal year 2021 and subsequent fielding to the Air Force’s full fleet of F-15s. The program is expected to cost over $2.7 billion, according to service budget justification books.

The service contracted Boeing to integrate EPAWSS onto the F-15E fleet in 2015 with subcontractor BAE Systems in charge of hardware and software development, with the goal of keeping the aircraft survivable in contested environements through the 2040s. The new radar will be integrated onto the forthcoming F-15EX aircraft, also in development by Boeing.