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New Saudi F-15 Variant Makes Maiden Flight: The Air Force and Boeing recently conducted the maiden test flight of the new F-15SA configuration that the company is building for the Saudi Arabian air force, announced service officials. The flight, which took place on Feb. 20 at Boeing's facility in St. Louis, met the test objectives, according to the Air Force's March 15 release. "The successful first flight of the F-15SA is a tremendous milestone for the program," said Lt. Gen. C.D. Moore, Air Force Life Cycle Management Center commander at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio. Boeing is supplying 84 new-build F-15SAs to the Royal Saudi Air Force and upgrading some 70 existing F-15s in the air arm's fleet to the "SA" standard under a multi-billion-dollar foreign military sale. F-15SA deliveries are scheduled to begin in 2015 and conclude by 2019, states the release. The F-15SA configuration includes features like a fly-by-wire flight control system, active electronically scanned array radar, and two additional weapon stations. In related news, the Air Force on March 14 awarded Boeing a $3.5 billion contract for work on the Saudi jets, according to the Pentagon's list of major contracts on that day.