ST. LOUIS–By incorporating new technologies into the F-15, Boeing [BA] is confident that it will be able to generate enough interest to keep the fighter jet in production beyond 2018, when the last of the planes it currently has on the books is scheduled for delivery to Saudi Arabia, a company official said yesterday.

Saudi Arabia is the only customer Boeing has for new F-15s, with the firm having recently completed production of the aircraft for Singapore and before that a long running deal with South Korea. The U.S. Air Force in March awarded Boeing an $11.4-billion contract to supply 84 F-15SAs to Riyadh under a foreign military sales program.

Saudi Arabia will be getting the most advanced F-15s on the market, said Brad Jones, Boeing’s F-15 director for mission systems. The F-15SA will be equipped with modernized radar, fly-by-wire, two additional wing weapons stations and a digital electronic warfare system, he said.

Boeing is also entering the F-15 in South Korea’s fighter jet competition set for this year, with the announcement of a winner anticipated for October. Lockheed Martin [LMT] plans to offer the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and the Eurofighter consortium plans to bid Typhoon. Jones said Boeing’s F-15E Silent Eagle offering will bring more technologies, including for the first time an enclosed weapons bay to to reduce radar signature and an enlarged cockpit display.

Jones said the F-15 should appeal to Seoul because the South Korean Air Force has experience operating and supporting the aircraft, and because the wings and front fuselage are already produced by Korean Aerospace Industries. Winning would extend the life of the F-15 lines by at least another two years, Jones said.

“When we win the Korea competition, it will take us past 2020,” he said.

If South Korea follows Japan’s lead last year and selects F-35, Boeing will not have anyone under contract for F-15s after the Saudi production runs. Jones said there is additional international interest in the F-15, but would not name the countries.

“We have a long list of competitions that we’re going to win,” he said.

The last delivery of an F-15 to the U.S. Air Force took place 10 years ago and keeping the line alive has depended on foreign sales ever since. There is little opportunity in the near term for new fighter sales to the Pentagon with the F-35 coming on as the next generation fighter for the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps.

Jones said the potential for having to shut down the F-15 line is still “years out in front of us” and “we’ve been one foot in the grave with the F-15” before. But the deals with South Korea, Singapore and later Saudi Arabia breathed new life into the program, he said.

“It just keeps going,” he added.

Maintaining F-15 production would also benefit the U.S. Air Force, allowing it to take advantage of new technologies developed in foreign sales for its own upgrade and modernization programs, Jones said.