• The US-made F-15SA went down during a training exercise, killing its crew

RIYADH (Agencies): A Saudi Arabian F-15SA fighter jet crashed during a routine training mission near King Khalid Air Base, resulting in the loss of its two crew members.

The incident occurred on Wednesday afternoon in Khamis Mushait, located in the southwest of the country. The Saudi Defense Ministry’s spokesman, Brigadier General Turki Al-Maliki, issued a statement through the state-run Saudi Press Agency confirming the crash. An investigation is currently underway to determine the cause of the accident.

The air base is approximately 815 kilometers (506 miles) from Riyadh, situated equidistantly between the Red Sea coast and the Yemeni border, both of which are less than 150 kilometers away. The F-15SA variant, manufactured in the US, is known for its high-speed capabilities, capable of flying at speeds up to Mach 2.5 or over 3,000 kilometers per hour.

The acquisition of 84 F-15SA fighters by Saudi Arabia was approved by Washington in 2011, amounting to a $29.4 billion deal, making it one of the largest arms sales from the US to a foreign buyer at the time. The delivery of the final Boeing-produced jet took place in 2020 and marked a significant addition to the Royal Saudi Air Force’s fleet.

These US-made jets have played a crucial role in the Saudi-led coalition’s airstrikes in Yemen since 2015. In March 2021, the Royal Saudi Air Force deployed F-15SA fighters to counter Houthi drone attacks on Saudi oil installations. While one of the jets went down in the Gulf of Aden in 2015, the crew members were able to eject and survived the incident.

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