Military and Strategic Journal
Issued by the Directorate of Morale Guidance at the General Command of the Armed Forces
United Arab Emirates
Founded in August 1971

2024-03-04

F-15QA Ready to Take on Tomorrow's Threats: Boeing’s Schultz

The Doha International Maritime Defense Exhibition & Conference (DIMDEX) 2024 serves as a pivotal platform for showcasing cutting-edge defence technology. Nation Shield had the opportunity to sit down with Kirk Schultz, Regional Director, International Business Development at Boeing Defense, Space & Security.

Schultz shed light on the F-15 Qatar Advanced programme, collaborative prospects at DIMDEX, innovative sustainment strategies, and Boeing's remarkable achievements with platforms like the C-17, AH-64 Apache, and F-15. With an almost eight-decade legacy in the Middle East, Boeing plays a substantial role in shaping the region's defence landscape.
 
Beyond defence, Boeing actively contributes to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education, skills development, and gender equity initiatives. Having invested over US$ 20 million in community outreach programmes since 2012, the company underscores its commitment to fostering local talent and contributing to societal development. Schultz brings a wealth of experience from the U.S. Air Force. He spearheads Boeing's defence initiatives in the Middle East and North Africa.
 
Below are excerpts from the interview.
 
1. Can you provide us with the latest updates on the F-15 Qatar Advanced program, highlighting any key features and capabilities that make it stand out?
 
The F-15 Qatar Advanced program has evolved into an advanced multirole fighter jet that shares a lot of commonalities with the U.S. Air Force's cutting-edge F-15EX. This alignment encompasses exceptional payload capabilities, speed, and range.
 
The F-15QA incorporates the latest technologies, such as fly-by-wire flight controls, an all-glass digital cockpit, and upgraded sensors, radar, and electronic warfare capabilities. Moreover, the F-15QA shares a "digital core" with the F-15EX, ensuring its readiness to seamlessly integrate emerging technologies and systems.
 
The Doha International Maritime Defense Exhibition & Conference (DIMDEX) in 2024 marks the third year of the F-15 in service in Qatar.
 
2. What collaborative opportunities does DIMDEX provide for Boeing in the maritime and defence sectors?
 
DIMDEX presents an opportunity for us to engage with our customers and partners from Qatar and the Middle East. We acknowledge the immense potential and demand for defense capabilities in Qatar.
 
We believe that our offerings, including the KC-46A aerial refuelling aircraft, CH-47 Chinook heavy-lift helicopters and unmanned aerial systems by Boeing's subsidiary Insitu, along with our comprehensive services packages like Next-Generation Product Support, are well suited to meet the future security needs of Qatar and the Middle East region.
 
3. How is Boeing transforming sustainment for Qatar's air force, leveraging next-gen support and digital solutions for enhanced efficiency?
 
Boeing's Next Generation Product Support has garnered significant interest from air forces in the Middle East. This innovative approach guarantees a predetermined level of fleet
 
mission readiness by ensuring the availability of parts and resources whenever they are needed. As a result, operational efficiencies are achieved, and life-cycle costs are reduced.
 
One of our most notable performance-based logistics support (PBL) contracts worldwide is for the sustainment of the C-17 Globemaster. Countries such as Qatar, the UAE, and Kuwait operate the C-17, undertaking various missions, including impactful humanitarian and relief operations.
 
Boeing leverages digital tools and data analytics to anticipate potential operational challenges. This proactive approach allows us to invest in parts or replacements in advance, ensuring fleet mission readiness while driving down costs and emissions. In our comprehensive package for the C-17, we have introduced a digital tool called the Aircraft Data Reasoner (ADR). The implementation of ADR has already yielded significant results, with over 2 million litres of fuel saved across the global C-17 fleet.
 
4. Middle East region has seen significant milestones with the C-17, AH-64 Apache and F-15 in service for many years. Can you highlight some key achievements of these platforms?
 
A significant milestone is the 15-year service of the C-17 Globemaster III airlifters with the Qatar Emiri Air Force. Qatar made history as the first Gulf Cooperation Council nation to operate these airlifters, with operations commencing in 2008. Our commitment to supporting Qatar's C-17 fleet is exemplified by the recent renewal of the global sustainment support program for these transport aircraft.
 
DIMDEX also marks the fifth anniversary of the AH-64 Apache helicopters' service with the QEAF.
 
Additionally, for the past three years, we have been providing support to the QEAF's F-15 fighter jet fleet since deliveries began in 2021.
 
These Boeing platforms have played a crucial role in safeguarding Qatar's air, land, and sea borders, as well as participating in humanitarian missions worldwide. Notably, Qatar's C-17s have become a vital capability in assisting with humanitarian and disaster relief efforts globally, showcasing the generosity of Qatar and its people that transcends borders and continents.

In 2020, amidst the global COVID-19 pandemic, the QEAF relied on its Boeing C-17s to carry out numerous humanitarian missions. These missions involved the transportation and delivery of tons of urgent medical aid and supplies, including masks and personal protective equipment, to various locations worldwide.
 
5. Could you elaborate on Boeing's current presence in the Middle East and the strategic partnerships that are in place to support the defense and aerospace objectives of the region?
 
Boeing has been a long-standing presence in the Middle East for nearly eight decades, providing the region with commercial airplanes, defense platforms, and space and security systems.
 
Boeing employs almost 3,000 employees in the Middle East, through local entities in Riyadh, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Doha and Kuwait and through its joint ventures.
 
Several government and telecommunications companies from the Middle East are utilizing Boeing satellite technology, while the region’s growing interest in space exploration is an area of mutual interest in the future.
 
The Middle East holds a robust defense market, and since the 1970s, Boeing has cultivated strong partnerships within the sector. Many air forces in the region rely on the advanced capabilities of high-performance Boeing aircraft and uncrewed aerial systems for defense, surveillance and humanitarian missions. Boeing's defense platforms, operated by Middle Eastern countries, encompass a diverse array of aircraft and systems. These include the C-17 Globemaster III transport aircraft, CH-47 Chinook heavy-lift helicopters, AH-64 Apache and Little Bird helicopters, F/A-18 and F-15 fighters, Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS), Insitu ScanEagle uncrewed aerial systems, as well as Boeing satellites.
 
Additionally, we are proud to support the air forces across the Middle East, including Qatar, with a comprehensive range of training and sustainment solutions to ensure their fleets remain mission-ready.
 
Demonstrating a long-term commitment to the region, Boeing actively supports national development visions. The company plays an integral role in fostering economic diversification and growth by forging partnerships that enhance industrial capacity, develop local talent capabilities and contribute to the development of an indigenous aerospace industry.
 
6. How is the company contributing to local skill development and training programs in the region?
 
Boeing supports academia and non-profit organizations in the Middle East through various initiatives that promote science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education, skills development, and gender and social equity. The primary objective of Boeing's community work is to cultivate local human resources capabilities in alignment with ambitious national visions.
 
Since 2012, Boeing has invested over $20 million in community outreach programs throughout the Middle East, benefiting more than 16,000 participants across the region.
 
University relations play an important role in Boeing's operations in the Middle East. Boeing works closely with leading universities in the region, such as Qatar University, Khalifa University, Kuwait University, Cairo University, and many others. These partnerships focus on research and development, and providing extensive support to students pursuing aerospace engineering.
 
As an example, Boeing's partnership with the Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI) has resulted in ground-breaking research in machine learning and computer vision for autonomy. This collaboration improves the understanding of data correlations in aerospace systems and enhances the early detection of small objects for safer landings. Additionally, Boeing supports Qatar University's initiatives, particularly in the field of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for air quality monitoring, as well as the university's robotics competition.
 
Boeing's efforts contribute to the development of a robust talent pipeline for the thriving aerospace sector in Qatar and across the Middle East, fostering economic and social transformation.

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