F-15 Eagle


F-15 Eagle

Infobox Aircraft
name=F-15 Eagle
type=Air superiority fighter
manufacturer=McDonnell Douglas / Boeing IDS


caption=USAF F-15 over Washington, D.C
designer=
first flight=July 27, 1972
introduction=January 9, 1976
retired=
number built=
status=Active
unit cost=F-15A/B: US$27.9 million (1998) F-15C/D: US$29.9 million (1998)
primary user= United States Air Force
more users= Israeli Air Force Japan Air Self-Defense Force Royal Saudi Air Force
variants with their own articles = F-15E Strike Eagle F-15 S/MTD

The McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) F-15 Eagle is an all-weather tactical fighter designed to gain and maintain air superiority in aerial combat. It was developed for the United States Air Force, and first flew in July 1972. The F-15E Strike Eagle derivative is an all-weather strike fighter that entered service in 1989. The U.S. Air Force plans to keep the F-15 in service until 2025.Tirpak, John A. [http://www.afa.org/magazine/march2007/0307force.asp "Making the Best of the Fighter Force"] . "Air Force magazine", March 2007.]

Development

Origins

During the mid-1960s U.S. Air Force intelligence was surprised ["In July 1967 at the Domodedovo airfield near Moscow, the Soviet Union unveiled a new generation of combat aircraft.. condenamedsic Foxbat by NATO.": "Development" in "Modern Fighting Aircraft", 1983] to find that the Soviet Union was building a large fighter aircraft, known as the MiG-25 'Foxbat'. Davies 2002, pp. 9–11.] It was not known in the West at the time that the MiG-25 was designed as a high-speed interceptor, not an air superiority fighter;Bowman 1980, p. 193.] as such, its primary asset was speed, not maneuverability. The MiG-25's huge tailplanes and vertical stabilizers (tail fins) hinted at a very maneuverable aircraft, which worried the Air Force that its performance might be higher than its American counterparts. In reality, the MiG's large fins and stabilators were necessary to prevent the aircraft from encountering inertia coupling in high-speed, high-altitude flight.

The F-4 Phantom II of the USAF and U.S. Navy was the only fighter with enough power, range and maneuverability to be given the primary task of dealing with the threat of Soviet fighters while flying with visual engagement rules. As a matter of policy, the Phantoms could not engage targets without positive visual identification, so they could not engage targets at long ranges, as designed. Medium-range AIM-7 Sparrow missiles, and to a lesser degree even the AIM-9 Sidewinder, were often unreliable and ineffective at close ranges where it was found that guns were often the only effective weapon.Jenkins 1998, pp. 5–9.]

The Phantom did not originally have a gun, as it was intended that only missiles would be used to engage slowly moving and maneuvering Warsaw Pact bombers and fighters at longer ranges. Experience in Vietnam showed this not to be the case and led to the addition of a gun. At first an external gun pod was tried but that proved inaccurate and increased drag. Later, the 20 mm M61 Vulcan was integrated internally on the F-4E.

F-X program

There was a clear need for a new fighter that overcame the close-range limitation of the Phantom while retaining long-range air superiority. After rejecting the U.S. Navy VFX program (which led to the F-14 Tomcat) as being unsuited to its needs, the U.S. Air Force issued its own requirements for the Fighter Experimental (F-X), a specification for a relatively lightweight air superiority fighter.Eden and Moeng 2002, p. 944.] Four companies submitted proposals, with the Air Force eliminating General Dynamics and selecting Fairchild Republic, North American Rockwell, and McDonnell Douglas for the definition phase in December 1968. The companies submitted technical proposals by June 1969. The Air Force announced the selection of McDonnell Douglas on December 23, 1969.Jenkins 1998, pp. 9–11.] The winning design resembled the twin-tailed F-14, but with fixed wings. It would not be significantly lighter or smaller than the F-4 that it would replace.

The Eagle's initial versions were designated F-15A for the single-seat configuration and F-15B (originally TF-15A, but this designation was quickly deprecated, as the F-15B is fully combat-capable) for the twin-seat. These versions would be powered by new Pratt & Whitney F100 engines to achieve a combat thrust-to-weight ratio in excess of 1 to 1. A proposed 25 mm Ford-Philco GAU-7 cannon with caseless ammunition was dropped in favor of the standard M61 Vulcan gun due to development problems. The F-15 retained conformal carriage of four Sparrow missiles like the Phantom. The fixed wing was put onto a flat, wide fuselage that also provided an effective lifting surface. Some questioned if the zoom performance of the F-15 with Sparrow missiles was enough to deal with the new threat of the high-flying MiG-25 "Foxbat"; its capability would eventually be demonstrated in combat.

The first F-15A flight was made in July 1972 with the first flight of the two-seat F-15B (formerly TF-15A) following in July 1973.Spick 2000, pp. 130–131.]

The F-15 has a "look-down/shoot-down" radar that can distinguish low-flying moving targets from ground clutter. The F-15 would use computer technology with new controls and displays to lower pilot workload and require only one pilot to save weight. Unlike the F-14 or F-4, the F-15 has only a single canopy frame with clear vision forward. The USAF introduced the F-15 as "the first dedicated USAF air superiority fighter since the F-86 Sabre." ["Return of the Air Superiority Fighter"RAND report. ]

The F-15 would be favored by customers such as the Israel Air Force and Japan Air Self-Defense Force, and the development of the F-15E Strike Eagle would produce a strike fighter that would replace the F-111. However, criticism from the fighter mafia that the F-15 was too large to be a dedicated dogfighter, and too expensive to procure in large numbers to replace the F-4 and A-7, led to the Lightweight Fighter (LWF) program, which led to the USAF F-16 Fighting Falcon and the middle-weight Navy F/A-18 Hornet.

The single-seat F-15C and two-seat F-15D models entered production in 1978 with the models' first flights in February and June of that year. Jenkins 1998, pp. 33–34. ] These new models have Production Eagle Package (PEP 2000) improvements, including 2,000 lb (900 kg) of additional internal fuel, provision for carrying exterior conformal fuel tanks and increased maximum takeoff weight of up to 68,000 lb (30,700 kg).

Improvements

The F-15 Multistage Improvement Program (MSIP) was initiated in February 1983 with the first production MSIP F-15C produced in 1985. Improvements included an upgraded central computer; a Programmable Armament Control Set, allowing for advanced versions of the AIM-7, AIM-9, and AIM-120A missiles; and an expanded Tactical Electronic Warfare System that provides improvements to the ALR-56C radar warning receiver and ALQ-135 countermeasure set. The final 43 included the enhanced-capability Hughes APG-70 radar, which was carried forward into the F-15E. The earlier MSIP F-15Cs with the APG-63 were later upgraded to the APG-63(V)1, which significantly improves reliability and maintainability while providing performance similar to the APG-70. The improvements were retrofitted to existing F-15s. [Davies 2002, pp. 56–57.]

Design

The F-15 has an all-metal semi-monocoque fuselage with a large cantilever shoulder-mounted wing. The empennage is all-metal twin fins and rudders with all-moving horizontal tail surfaces outboard of the fins. The F-15 has a spine-mounted air brake and retractable tricycle landing gear. It is powered by two Pratt & Whitney F100 axial-flow turbofan engines with afterburners mounted side-by-side in the fuselage. The cockpit is mounted high in the forward fuselage with a one-piece windscreen and large canopy to increase visibility.

The F-15's maneuverability is derived from low wing loading (weight to wing area ratio) with a high thrust-to-weight ratio enabling the aircraft to turn tightly without losing airspeed. The F-15 can climb to 30,000 feet (10,000 m) in around 60 seconds. The thrust output of the dual engines is greater than the aircraft's weight, thus giving it the ability to accelerate in a vertical climb. The weapons and flight control systems are designed so that one person can safely and effectively perform air-to-air combat. The "A" and "C" models are single-seat variants that make up the bulk of F-15 production. "B" and "D" models add a second seat behind the pilot for training. "E" models use the second seat for a bombardier/navigator.

A multi-mission avionics system includes a head-up display (HUD), advanced radar, inertial guidance system (INS), flight instruments, ultra high frequency (UHF) communications, and Tactical Air Navigation (TACAN) and Instrument Landing System (ILS) receivers. It also has an internally mounted, tactical electronic-warfare system, "identification friend or foe" system, electronic countermeasures suite and a central digital computer.Gunston 1986, p. 194.]

The heads-up display projects, through a combiner, all essential flight information gathered by the integrated avionics system. This display, visible in any light condition, provides the pilot information necessary to track and destroy an enemy aircraft without having to look down at cockpit instruments. [Huenecke 1987, pp. 227–230.]

The F-15's versatile APG-63/70 Pulse-Doppler radar system can look up at high-flying targets and down at low-flying targets without being confused by ground clutter. It can detect and track aircraft and small high-speed targets at distances beyond visual range (the maximum being 120 nautical miles (220 km) away) down to close range, and at altitudes down to treetop level. The radar feeds target information into the central computer for effective weapons delivery. The capability of locking onto targets as far as 50 nautical miles (90 km) with an AIM-120 AMRAAM enables true beyond visual range (BVR) engagement of targets. For close-in dogfights, the radar automatically acquires enemy aircraft, and this information is projected on the head-up display. The F-15's electronic warfare system provides both threat warning and automatic countermeasures against selected threats. Jenkins 1998, pp. 97–104.]

A variety of air-to-air weaponry can be carried by the F-15. An automated weapon system enables the pilot to perform aerial combat safely and effectively, using the head-up display and the avionics and weapons controls located on the engine throttles or control stick. When the pilot changes from one weapon system to another, visual guidance for the required weapon automatically appears on the head-up display. [Huenecke 1987, pp. 232–236.]

The Eagle can be armed with combinations of four different air-to-air weapons: AIM-7F/M Sparrow missiles or AIM-120 AMRAAM advanced medium range air-to-air missiles on its lower fuselage corners, AIM-9L/M Sidewinder or AIM-120 missiles on two pylons under the wings, and an internal M61A-1 20 mm Gatling gun in the right wing root.Lambert 1993, p. 521.]

Low-drag conformal fuel tanks (CFTs) were developed for the F-15C and D models. They can be attached to the sides of the engine air intake trunks under each wing and are designed to the same load factors and airspeed limits as the basic aircraft. However, they degrade performance by increasing drag and cannot be jettisoned in-flight (unlike conventional external tanks). Each conformal fuel tank can hold 750 U.S. gallons (2,840 L) of fuel. Jenkins 1998, p. 111.] These tanks increase range thus reducing the need for in-flight refueling. All external stations for munitions remain available with the tanks in use. Moreover, Sparrow or AMRAAM missiles can be attached to the corners of the conformal fuel tanks.Green and Swanborough 1998, p. 371.] The 57 FIS based at Keflavik NAS, Iceland was the only C-model squadron to utilize CFT's on a regular basis due to its extended operations over the North Atlantic. With the closure of the 57 FIS the F-15E is the only U.S. variant to carry them on a routine basis. The American CFTs were also provided to Israel and Saudi Arabia but only Israel uses them (as needed) on their entire fleet.

The F-15E Strike Eagle is a two-seat, dual-role, totally integrated fighter for all-weather, air-to-air and deep interdiction missions. The rear cockpit is upgraded to include four multi-purpose CRT displays for aircraft systems and weapons management. The digital, triple-redundant Lear Siegler flight control system permits coupled automatic terrain following, enhanced by a ring-laser gyro inertial navigation system. [Lambert 1993, p. 523.] For low-altitude, high-speed penetration and precision attack on tactical targets at night or in adverse weather, the F-15E carries a high-resolution APG-70 radar and LANTIRN pods to provide thermal imagery.

The APG-63(V)2 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar has been retrofitted to 18 U.S. Air Force F-15C aircraft. [ [http://www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/ac/docs/n19991208_992202.htm 18 APG-63(V)2] ] This upgrade includes most of the new hardware from the APG-63(V)1, but adds an AESA to provide increased pilot situational awareness. The AESA radar has an exceptionally agile beam, providing nearly instantaneous track updates and enhanced multi-target tracking capability. The APG-63(V)2 is compatible with current F-15C weapon loads and enables pilots to take full advantage of AIM-120 AMRAAM capabilities, simultaneously guiding multiple missiles to several targets widely spaced in azimuth, elevation, or range.

Operational history

The largest operator of the F-15 is the United States Air Force. The first Eagle (F-15B) was delivered November 14, 1974. Scutts 1989, p. 47.] In January 1976, the first Eagle destined for a combat squadron, the 555th TFS, was delivered. These initial aircraft carried the Hughes Aircraft (now Raytheon) APG-63 radar.

The first kill in an F-15 was by IAF ace Moshe Melnik in 1979. [http://www.boeing.com/news/frontiers/archive/2003/december/i_ids5.html "An Eagle evolves"] , Boeing, January 2004.] In 1979–81 during Israeli-Lebanese border disputes, F-15As downed 13 Syrian MiG-21 "Fishbeds" and two Syrian MiG-25 "Foxbats", the latter being the aircraft the F-15 was designed to kill. F-15A and B models were used by Israel during the Bekaa Valley operation. During the 1982 Lebanon War, the Israeli F-15s shot down 40 Syrian jet fighters (23 MiG-21 "Fishbeds" and 17 MiG-23 "Floggers") and one Syrian SA.342L Gazelle helicopter. [ [http://www.acig.org/artman/publish/article_270.shtml "Israeli Air-to-Air Victories since 1974"] , ACIG.org, September 24, 2003.]

Royal Saudi Air Force F-15C pilots shot down two F-4E Phantom IIs flown by the Iranian Air Force in a border skirmish in June 1984, and shot down two Iraqi Mirage F1s during the Gulf War. [Smith, William E., [http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,951187,00.html?internalid=ACA Pushing the Saudis Too Far] , "Time", June 18, 1984. Retrieved January 26, 2008] [Halloran, Richard, [http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/international/countriesandterritories/iraq/index.html?s=oldest&&query=AIRLINES+AND+AIRPLANES&field=des&match=exact 2 Iranian Fighters Reported Downed by Saudi Air Force] "New York Times", June 6, 1984, p. 1. Retrieved January 26, 2008] [ [http://www.faqs.org/docs/air/avf15_2.html#m4 F-15 in Saudi Service] ]

The USAF deployed F-15C, D and E models to the Persian Gulf in 1991 in support of Operation Desert Storm where they accounted for 36 of the 39 Air Force air-to-air victories. F-15Es were operated mainly at night, hunting modified SCUD missile launchers and artillery sites using the LANTIRN system.Davies 2002, pp. 31–40.] According to the USAF, its F-15Cs had 34 confirmed kills of Iraqi aircraft during the 1991 Gulf War, mostly by missile fire: five MiG-29 "Fulcrums", two MiG-25 "Foxbats", eight MiG-23 "Floggers", two MiG-21 "Fishbeds", two Su-25 "Frogfoots", four Su-22 "Fitters", one Su-7, six Mirage F1s, one Il-76 cargo plane, one Pilatus PC-9 trainer, and two Mi-8 helicopters. After air superiority was achieved in the first three days of the conflict, many of the later kills were reportedly of Iraqi aircraft fleeing to Iran, rather than actively trying to engage U.S. aircraft. The single-seat F-15C was used for air superiority, and the F-15E was heavily used in air-to-ground attacks. An F-15E achieved an aerial kill of another Iraqi Mi-8 helicopter using a laser-guided bomb during the air war. The F-15E sustained two losses to ground fire in the Gulf War in 1991. [http://afhra.maxwell.af.mil/avc/avc.asp U.S. Air Force Historical Research Agency] .] Another one was damaged on the ground by a SCUD strike on Dhahran air base. [ [http://www.1stfighter.com/history/1991.html#prof 1st. Fighter Wing timeline] ]

They have since been deployed to support Operation Southern Watch, the patrolling of the No-Fly Zone in Southern Iraq; Operation Provide Comfort in Turkey; in support of NATO operations in Bosnia, and recent air expeditionary force deployments. In 1994, two U.S. Army UH-60 Black Hawks were downed by USAF F-15Cs who thought they were Iraq Hinds in the Northern no-fly zone of Iraq in a friendly fire incident. [ [http://www.defenselink.mil/news/Jun1998/n06011998_9806017.html Patrolling Iraq's Northern Skies] .] USAF F-15Cs shot down four Yugoslav MiG-29s using AIM-120 missiles during NATO's 1999 intervention in Kosovo, Operation Allied Force.

As of 2008, the F-15 in all air forces has an air-to-air combined kill record of 104 kills to 0 losses in air combat. [John Correll, [http://www.afa.org/magazine/feb2008/0208reformers.asp "The Reformers"] , "Air Force Magazine" (February 2008), Vol. 91 Number 2, p. 44.] To date, no air superiority versions of the F-15 (A/B/C/D models) have ever been shot down by enemy forces. Over half of the F-15's kills were made by Israeli Air Force pilots.

atellite killer

From January 1984 to September 1986, two F-15As were used as launch platforms for the ASM-135 anti-satellite (ASAT) missile. The F-15As (76-0086 and 77-0084) were modified to carry one ASM-135 on the centerline station with extra equipment within a special centerline pylon. Jenkins 1998, p. 31.] The launch aircraft executed a Mach 1.22, 3.8 g climb at 65° to release the ASAT missile at an altitude of 38,100 feet (11.6 km). The flight computer was updated to control the zoom-climb and missile release. The third test flight involved a retired communications satellite in a 345 statute mile (555 km) orbit, which was successfully destroyed by kinetic energy. The pilot, USAF Major Wilbert D. "Doug" Pearson, became the only pilot to destroy a satellite. [ [http://www.af.mil/bios/bio.asp?bioID=6714 Biographies: Major General Wilbert D. "Doug" Pearson Jr., August 2, 2006.] ] [http://www.svengrahn.pp.se/histind/ASAT/F15ASAT.html The F-15 ASAT story] ]

The ASAT missile was designed to be a standoff anti-satellite weapon, with the F-15A acting as a first stage. The Soviet Union could interpret a U.S. rocket launch with a spy satellite loss, but an F-15 carrying an ASAT would blend in among hundreds of F-15 flights. The ASAT program involved five test launches; however, the missile was not known to have entered service. The program was officially terminated in 1988.

Grounded by USAF

All F-15 aircraft were grounded by the U.S. Air Force after a Missouri Air National Guard F-15C came apart in flight and crashed on November 2, 2007. The newer F-15E fleet was later cleared for continued operations. The U.S. Air Force reported on November 28, 2007 that a critical location in the upper longerons on the F-15C model was suspected of causing the failure, causing the fuselage forward of the air intakes, including the cockpit and radome, to separate from the airframe. [http://www.afa.org/magazine/feb2008/0208world.pdf Animated image] "Air Force Magazine" February 2008. Retrieved: February 7, 2008. Frames from an animated image by Boeing recreating the breakup are here.]

F-15A through D-model aircraft were ordered grounded until the location received more detailed inspections and repairs as needed. [ [http://www.acc.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123077340 "F-15 A-D models ordered to stand down for additional inspections"] , U.S. Air Force, November 28, 2007.] The grounding of F-15s received media attention as it began to place strains on the nation's air defense efforts. [ Lindlaw, Scott. [http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071226/ap_on_re_us/grounded_f15s;_ylt=AmfwONLeVDPbF_AXhoLWi.xeW7oF F-15 grounding strains U.S. air defenses] Dead link|date=July 2008Associated Press, December 26, 2007.] The grounding forced some states to rely on their neighbors' fighter jets for air defense protection, and Alaska to depend on Canadian Forces' support. [Lindlaw, Scott. [http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071226/ap_on_re_us/grounded_f15s "F-15 grounding strains U.S. air defenses."] Dead link|date=July 2008Associated Press, December 26, 2007.]

On January 8, 2008, the USAF Air Combat Command (ACC) cleared a portion of its F-15A through D-model fleet for return to flying status. It also recommended a limited return to flight for units worldwide using the affected models. [http://dailyreport.afa.org/NR/rdonlyres/B9B4D3A1-3CE6-473E-87ED-AFEA2E9C802D/0/afpn010908eagles.pdf "Air Combat Command clears selected F-15s for flight"] Dead link|date=July 2008, Air Force Print News, January 9, 2008.] The accident review board report was released on January 10, 2008. The report stated that analysis of the F-15C wreckage determined that the longeron did not meet drawing specifications, which led to fatigue cracks and finally a catastrophic failure of the remaining support structures and breakup of the aircraft in flight. [http://www.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123081718 "F-15 Eagle accident report released"] , US Air Force, January 10, 2008. Retrieved: January 26, 2008.] In a report released in January 10, 2008, nine other F-15s were identified to have similar problems in the longeron. As a result of these problems, General John D. W. Corley stated that "the long-term future of the F-15 is in question." [ Buzanowski, J.G. [http://www.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123081759 Air Force leaders discuss F-15 accident, future] US Air Force, January 10, 2008. Retrieved: January 26, 2008.] On February 15, 2008 ACC cleared all its grounded F-15A-D fighters for flight pending inspections, engineering reviews and any needed repairs. ACC also recommended release of other U.S. F-15A-D aircraft. [http://www.acc.af.mil/news/story_print.asp?id=123086680 "ACC issues latest release from stand down for F-15s"] , Air Force, February 15, 2008.]

Future

The F-15C/D model is being supplanted in U.S. service by the F-22 Raptor. The F-15E, however, will remain in service for years to come because of its different air-to-ground role and the lower number of hours on their airframes. On September 26, 2006, at the Air Force Association's Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition in Washington D.C., the USAF announced their plan to upgrade 178 F-15C fighters with the AN/APG-63(V)3 AESA radar. Additionally, the Air Force also plans to upgrade other F-15s with the Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System (JHMCS). [ [http://www.spacewar.com/reports/Air_Force_Will_Get_New_Bomber_Upgrades_To_Fighters_999.html Air Force Will Get New Bomber, Upgrades To Fighters] , Spacewar.com, October 5, 2006.] In keeping with that plan, the Air Force then contracted with Boeing to retrofit F-15Cs with the AN/APG-63(V)3 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radars with delivery beginning in early 2009. [ [http://www.boeing.com/news/releases/2007/q4/071009c_nr.html "Boeing Awarded $70 Million Contract for Enhanced F-15C Radar"] , Boeing, October 9, 2007.] The Air Force will keep 178 F-15Cs as well as the 224 F-15Es in service beyond 2025.

Variants

Basic models

;F-15A:Single-seat all-weather air-superiority fighter version, 384 built 1972-79.;F-15B:Two-seat training version, formerly designated TF-15A, 61 built 1972-79.;F-15C:Improved single-seat all-weather air-superiority fighter version, 483 built 1979-85.;F-15D:Two-seat training version, 92 built 1979-85.;F-15J:Single-seat all-weather air-superiority fighter version for the Japan Air Self-Defense Force 139 built under license in Japan by Mitsubishi 1981-97, 2 built in St. Louis.;F-15DJ:Two-seat training version for the Japan Air Self-Defence Force. 25 Built under license in Japan by Mitsubishi 1981-97, 12 built in St. Louis.;F-15N Sea Eagle:The F-15N was a carrier-capable variant proposed in the early 1970s to the U.S. Navy as an alternative to the heavier and, at the time, considered as "riskier" technology program: F-14 Tomcat. The F-15N-PHX was another proposed naval version capable of carrying the AIM-54 Phoenix missile. These featured folding wingtips, reinforced landing gear and a stronger tail hook for shipboard operation. [Jenkins 1998, pp. 71–72.]

F-15E and related

;F-15E Strike Eagle:Two-seat all-weather long-range strike and ground-attack aircraft for the U.S. Air Force, 237 built 1985-2001.;F-15F Strike Eagle:Proposed single seat model of the F-15E.;F-15H Strike Eagle:Export model of the F-15E Strike Eagle for Hellenic Air Force (canceled);F-15I Ra'am (Thunder):Advanced version of the F-15E Strike Eagle for the Israeli Air Force, 25 built 1996-98.;F-15K Slam Eagle:Advanced version of the F-15E Strike Eagle for the Republic of Korea Air Force, 40 built 2005-08.;F-15S Strike Eagle:Export version of the F-15E Strike Eagle for the Royal Saudi Air Force, 72 built 1996-98.;F-15SG Strike Eagle:Advanced version of the F-15E Strike Eagle for the Republic of Singapore Air Force. Variant was formerly designated F-15T.

Research and test

;F-15 Streak Eagle (72-0119):One stripped and unpainted F-15A, demonstrated the fighter's acceleration – broke eight time-to-climb world records between January 16 and February 1, 1975. It was delivered to the National Museum of the United States Air Force in December 1980. [http://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=621 McDonnell Douglas F-15 Streak Eagle fact sheet] , National Museum of the United States Air Force.] ;F-15 S/MTD (71-0290):The first F-15B was converted into a short takeoff and landing, maneuver technology demonstrator aircraft.Jenkins 1998, pp. 65–70.] ;F-15 ACTIVE (71-0290):The F-15 S/MTD was later converted into an advanced flight control technology research aircraft with thrust vectoring nozzles.;F-15 IFCS (71-0290):The F-15 ACTIVE was then converted into an intelligent flight control systems research aircraft.;F-15 MANX:Concept name for a tailless variant of the F-15 ACTIVE, but the NASA ACTIVE experimental aircraft was never modified to be tailless.;F-15 Flight Research Facility (71-0281 and 71-0287):Two F-15A aircraft were acquired in 1976 for use by NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center for numerous experiments such as: Highly Integrated Digital Electronic Control (HiDEC), Adaptive Engine Control System (ADECS), Self-Repairing and Self-Diagnostic Flight Control System (SRFCS) and Propulsion Controlled Aircraft System (PCA). [ [http://www.nasa.gov/centers/dryden/news/FactSheets/FS-022-DFRC.html F-15 Flight Research Facility fact sheet] . Dryden Flight Research Center.] 71-0281 was returned to the Air Force and became a static display at Langley AFB in 1983.;F-15B Research Testbed (74-0141):Acquired in 1993, it is a highly modified F-15B used by NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center. [ [http://www.nasa.gov/centers/dryden/news/FactSheets/FS-055-DFRC.html F-15B Research Testbed fact sheet] . Dryden Flight Research Center.]

Operators

seealso|F-15E Strike Eagle for operators of F-15E-based variants. ;ISR
*Israeli Air Force has operated F-15s since 1977, received under Peace Fox I, II and III. These aircraft are currently organized into two squadrons of F-15A/B and one squadron of F-15C/Ds. The first 25 F-15A/B were early USAF production airframes, equipping IDFAF squadron 133rd. The second batch was temporarily embargoed as a result of the 1982 Lebanon War. [Gething 1983]

;JPN
*Japan Air Self-Defence Force acquired 203 F-15Js and 20 F-15DJs from 1981, of which 2 F-15Js and 12 F-15DJs were made in U.S. and the rest by Mitsubishi under license. These aircraft are currently operated by 2 "Hikotai" (squadron) of 2. "Kokudan" (Air Wing), "Chitose Air Base", 1 Hikotai of 5. Kokudan, "Nyutabaru" AB, 1 Hikotai of 6. Kokudan, "Komatsu" AB, 2 Hikotais of 7. Kokudan, "Hyakuri" AB and 1 Hikotai of 8. Kokudan, "Tsuiki" AB. In June 2007, the Air Self-Defense Force decided to upgrade certain F-15 aircraft with synthetic aperture radar pods; these aircraft will replace RF-4 aircraft currently in service. [ [http://www.lockheedmartin.com/wms/findPage.do?dsp=fec&ci=18435&rsbci=0&fti=111&ti=0&sc=400 "Lockheed Martin to Upgrade Radar for Reconnaissance Version of Japan's F-15"] Dead link|date=July 2008, Lockheed Martin press release, June 19, 2007.]

;SAU
*Royal Saudi Air Force has operated 4 squadrons of F-15C/D (55/19) since 1981, received under Peace Sun. They are based at "Dhahran", "Khamis Mushayt" and "Taif" air bases. A stipulation in the Camp David Peace Agreement limited the number of Saudi F-15 to 60, holding surplus air frames in Luke AFB for RSAF pilot training. This limitation was later abandoned.

;USA
*United States Air Force operated 730 F-15 aircraft total (585 in active duty and 145 in ANG, active inventory, all variants) as of September 2007.Mehuron, Tamar A., Assoc. Editor. [http://www.airforce-magazine.com/MagazineArchive/Magazine%20Documents/2008/May%202008/0508facts_figs.pdf 2008 USAF Almanac, Fact and Figures] , Air Force Magazine, May 2008.]
* Active Duty [ [http://www.afhra.af.mil/organizationalrecords/ Air Force Historical Research Agency] ]
** Air Combat Command
*** 1st Fighter Wing - Langley AFB, Virginia
**** 71st Fighter Squadron
*** 33d Fighter Wing - Eglin AFB, Florida
**** 58th Fighter Squadron
**** 60th Fighter Squadron
*** 57th Wing - Nellis AFB, Nevada
**** 65th Aggressor Squadron
*** 366th Fighter Wing - Mountain Home AFB, Idaho
**** 390th Fighter Squadron
** Air Education and Training Command
*** 325th Fighter Wing - Tyndall AFB, Florida
**** 2d Fighter Squadron
**** 95th Fighter Squadron
**Pacific Air Forces
*** 3d Wing - Elmendorf AFB, Alaska
**** 19th Fighter Squadron
*** 18th Wing - Kadena AB, Japan
**** 44th Fighter Squadron
**** 67th Fighter Squadron
** United States Air Forces in Europe
*** 48th Fighter Wing - RAF Lakenheath, England
**** 493d Fighter Squadron
* Air National Guard
** Florida Air National Guard
*** 125th Fighter Wing - Jacksonville International Airport
**** 159th Fighter Squadron
** Hawaii Air National Guard
*** 154th Wing - Hickam AFB
**** 199th Fighter Squadron
** Massachusetts Air National Guard
*** 104th Fighter Wing - Barnes Airport
**** 131st Fighter Squadron
** Montana Air National Guard
*** 120th Fighter Wing - Great Falls International Airport
**** 186th Fighter Squadron
** Oregon Air National Guard
*** 142d Fighter Wing - Portland International Airport
**** 123d Fighter Squadron
*****173d Fighter Wing [http://www.173fw.ang.af.mil/] - Kingsley Field
******114th Fighter Squadron
**Louisiana Air National Guard
***159th Fighter Wing - NAS/JRB New Orleans
****122nd Fighter Squadron

Notable accidents and incidents

On May 1, 1983, during an Israeli Air Force training dogfight, a F-15D collided with a A-4 Skyhawk. Unknown to pilot Zivi Nedivi, and his copilot, the right wing of the Eagle was torn off roughly two feet (60 cm) from the fuselage. The pilot managed to regain control of the aircraft and prevented it from stalling, ultimately landing the crippled aircraft successfully. The F-15 was able to stay in the air because of the lift generated by the large horizontal surface area of the fuselage, the large and effective stabilators and the surviving wing. Landing at twice the normal speed to maintain the necessary lift, although the tailhook was torn off completely during the landing, Zivi managed to bring his F-15 to a complete stop approximately 20 feet (6 m) from the end of the runway. He was later quoted as saying "(I) probably would have ejected if I knew what had happened." [ [http://www.uss-bennington.org/phz-nowing-f15.html No Wing F15 - crew stories - USS Bennington] Retrieved: July 31, 2006.] [ [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LveSc8Lp0ZE F-15 flying with one wing by an Israeli pilot] ]

On November 22, 1995, during air-intercept training over the Sea of Japan, a Japanese F-15J was shot-down by a AIM-9L sidewinder missile accidentally fired by his wingman. The pilot, Lt. Tatsumi Higuchi, ejected safely. Both F-15Js involved were from JASDF 303rd Squadron, Komatsu AFB. [ [http://www.ejection-history.org.uk/Aircraft_by_Type/f-15.htm#jasdf F-15 Eagle Losses and Ejections] Retrieved: March 2, 2008. ]

On November 2, 2007, a 25-year-old F-15C (s/n 80-0034 of the 131st Fighter Wing) crashed during air combat maneuvering training near St. Louis, Missouri. The pilot, Maj. Stephen W. Stilwell, ejected but suffered serious injuries. The crash was the result of an in-flight breakup due to structural failure. On November 3, 2007, all non-mission critical models of the F-15 were grounded pending the outcome of the crash investigation, [ [http://www.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123074547 Air Force suspends some F-15 operations] , U.S. Air Force, November 4, 2007.] and on the following day, grounded non-mission critical F-15s engaged in combat missions in the Middle East. [ [http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/11/05/f15.grounding/ "Air Force grounds F-15s in Afghanistan after Missouri crash"] , CNN, November 5, 2007.] By November 13, 2007 over 1,100 were grounded worldwide after Israel, Japan and Saudi Arabia grounded their aircraft as well. [Warwick, Graham. [http://www.flightglobal.com/articles/2007/11/13/219288/f-15-operators-follow-usaf-grounding-after-crash.html "F-15 operators follow USAF grounding after crash."] "Flight International", November 14, 2007.] F-15Es were cleared on November 15, 2007 pending aircraft passing inspections. [ [http://www.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123076059 "Officials begin to clear F-15Es to full-mission status"] , U.S. Air Force, November 15, 2007.] On January 8, 2008, the USAF cleared 60 percent of the F-15A-D fleet for return to flight. On January 10, 2008, the accident review board released its report stating the November 2 crash was related to the longeron not meeting drawing specifications. The Air Force cleared all its grounded F-15A-D fighters for flight on February 15, 2008 pending inspections, reviews and any needed repairs. In March 2008, Stilwell, the injured pilot, filed a lawsuit against Boeing, the F-15's manufacturer. [ [http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/03/25/pilot.lawsuit/index.html?iref=mpstoryview Lawsuit] ]

pecifications (F-15C Eagle)

aircraft specifications
plane or copter?=plane
jet or prop?=jet
ref=USAF fact sheet, [http://www.af.mil/factsheets/factsheet.asp?fsID=101 F-15 Eagle fact sheet] , USAF, March 2008.] Jane's All the World's Aircraft, [Lambert 1993, p. 522.] Davies 2002, [Davies 2002, Appendix 1] GlobalSecurity [ [http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/aircraft/f-15-specs.htm F-15 Eagle] GlobalSecurity.org. Retrieved: January 27, 2008.]

crew=1
length main=63 ft 9 in
length alt=19.43 m
span main=42 ft 10 in
span alt=13.05 m
height main=18 ft 6 in
height alt=5.63 m
area main=608 ft²
area alt=56.5 m²
airfoil=NACA 64A006.6 root, NACA 64A203 tip
empty weight main=28,000 lb
empty weight alt=12,700 kg
loaded weight main=44,500 lb
loaded weight alt=20,200 kg
max takeoff weight main=68,000 lb
max takeoff weight alt=30,845 kg

engine (jet)=Pratt & Whitney F100-100, -220 or -229
type of jet=afterburning turbofans
number of jets=2
thrust main=17,450 lbf
thrust alt=77.62 kN
afterburning thrust main=25,000 lbf for -220; 29,000 lbf for -229
afterburning thrust alt=111.2 kN for -220; 129.0 kN for -229

max speed main=
** High altitude: Mach 2.5+ (1,650 mph, 2,660 km/h)
** Low altitude: Mach 1.2 (900 mph, 1,450 km/h)
max speed alt=
max speed more=
range main=
range alt=
range more=
combat radius main=1,061 nmi
combat radius alt=1,222 mi, 1,967 km
combat radius more=for interdiction mission
ferry range main=3,450 mi
ferry range alt=3,000 nmi, 5,550 km
ferry range more=with conformal fuel tanks and three external fuel tanks
ceiling main=65,000 ft
ceiling alt=20,000 m
climb rate main=>50,000 ft/min
climb rate alt=254 m/s
loading main=73.1 lb/ft²
loading alt=358 kg/m²
thrust/weight=1.12 (-220), 1.30 (-229)

Armament=
guns=1× internally mounted 20 mm (0.787 in) M61A1 gatling gun, 940 rounds
hardpoints=four wing, four fuselage, two wing stations, centerline station, optional fuselage pylons
hardpoint capacity=16,000 lb (7,300 kg)
missiles=
** AIM-7F Sparrow
** AIM-120 AMRAAM
** AIM-9 Sidewinders

avionics=
* Radar:
** Raytheon AN/APG-63 or AN/APG-70 "or"
***Although several F-15C aircraft were produced with APG-70 radar, all have been retrofitted to the AN/APG-63(V)1 configuration
** Raytheon AN/APG-63(V)1 "or"
** Raytheon AN/APG-63(V)2 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) "or"
** Raytheon AN/APG-63(V)3 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA)
*** Both active AF and ANG F-15Cs will receive another (up to) 48 V3 units between 2009-2015, over the existing 19 aircraft. Schanz, Marc V., Assoc. Editor. [http://www.afa.org/magazine/dec2007/1207world.asp F-15s to Get New Radars "F-15s to Get New Radars."] "Aerospace World: Air Force Magazine, Journal of the Air Force Association" Volume 90, Issue 6, p. 18, December 2007. ISSN: 0730-6784.]

* Countermeasures:
** AN/APX-76 or AN/APX-119 Identify Friend/Foe (IFF) interrogator
** Magnavox AN/ALQ-128 Electronic Warfare Warning Set (EWWS) -part of Tactical Electronic Warfare Systems (TEWS)
** Loral AN/ALR-56 Radar Warning Receiver (RWR)-part of Tactical Electronic Warfare Systems (TEWS)
** Northrop ALQ-135 Internal Countermeasures System (ICS) - part of Tactical Electronic Warfare Systems (TEWS)
** AN/ALE-45 chaff/flare dispensers

* Others:
**Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System
**MXU-648 Cargo/Travel Pod - to carry personal belongings, and small pieces of maintenance equipment.Davies 2002.]

Popular culture

The F-15 was the subject of the IMAX movie "", about the RED FLAG exercises. In Tom Clancy's nonfiction "Fighter Wing" (1995), a detailed analysis of the Air Force's premier fighter aircraft, the F-15 Eagle and its capability is showcased. [ Clancy, Tom. " Fighter Wing: A Guided Tour of an Air Force Combat Wing". New York: Berkley Books, 1995. ISBN 0-425-14957-9.]

ee also

aircontent
related=
* F-15E Strike Eagle
* F-15 S/MTD

similar aircraft=
* F-14 Tomcat
* Panavia Tornado ADV
* Sukhoi Su-27

lists=
* List of fighter aircraft
* List of active United States military aircraft

see also=
* 4th generation jet fighter

References

Notes

Bibliography

* Bowman, Martin W. "US Military Aircraft". London: Bison Books Ltd., 1980. ISBN 0-89009-292-3.
* Braybrook, Roy. "F-15 Eagle". London: Osprey Aerospace, 1991. ISBN 1-85532-149-1.
* Crickmore, Paul. "McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle" (Classic Warplanes series). New York: Smithmark Books, 1992. ISBN 0-8317-1408-5.
* Davies, Steve. "Combat Legend, F-15 Eagle and Strike Eagle". London: Airlife Publishing, Ltd., 2002. ISBN 1-84037-377-6.
* Drendel, Lou. "Eagle" (Modern Military Aircraft Series). Carrollton, Texas: Squadron/Signal Publications, 1985. ISBN 0-89747-168-1
* Drendel, Lou and Don Carson." F-15 Eagle in action". Carrollton, Texas: Squadron/Signal Publications, 1976. ISBN 0-89747-023-0.
* Eden, Paul and Soph Moeng, eds. "The Complete Encyclopedia of World Aircraft". London: Amber Books Ltd., 2002. ISBN 0-7607-3432-1.
* Fitzsimons, Bernard. "Modern Fighting Aircraft, F-15 Eagle". London: Salamander Books Ltd., 1983. ISBN 0-86101-182-1.
* Gething, Michael J. "F-15 Eagle" (Modern Fighting Aircraft). New York: Arco, 1983. ISBN 0-66805-902-8.
* Gething, Michael J. and Paul Crickmore. "F-15" (Combat Aircraft series). New York: Crescent Books, 1992. ISBN 0-517-06734-X.
* Green, William and Gordon Swanborough. "The Complete Book of Fighters". New York: Barnes & Noble Inc., 1988. ISBN 0-07607-0904-1.
* Gunston, Bill. "American Warplanes". New York: Crescent Books. 1986. ISBN 0-517-61351-4.
* Huenecke, Klaus." Modern Combat Aircraft Design". Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1987. ISBN 0-87021-426-8.
* Jenkins, Dennis R. "McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle, Supreme Heavy-Weight Fighter". Arlington, TX: Aerofax, 1998. ISBN 1-85780-081-8.
* Kinzey, Bert. "The F-15 Eagle in Detail & Scale" (Part 1, Series II). El Paso, Texas: Detail & Scale, Inc., 1978. ISBN 0-81685-028-3.
* Lambert, Mark, ed. "Jane's All the World's Aircraft 1993-94". Alexandria, Virginia: Jane's Information Group Inc., 1993. ISBN 0-7106-1066-1.
* Scutts, Jerry. "Supersonic Aircraft of USAF". New York: Mallard Press, 1989. ISBN 0-792-450-13-2.
* Spick, Mike. "The Great Book of Modern Warplanes". St. Paul Minnesota: MBI, 2000. ISBN 0-7603-0893-4.

External links

* [http://www.af.mil/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=101 F-15 Eagle USAF Fact Sheet]
* [http://www.boeing.com/history/mdc/eagle.htm F-15 Eagle history page on Boeing.com]
* [http://oea.larc.nasa.gov/PAIS/Partners/F_15.html F-15 page on NASA Langley site]
* [http://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=2284 McDonnell Douglas F-15A] , [http://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=2285 F-15C] , and [http://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=2283 F-15 Streak Eagle on USAF National Museum web site]
* [http://www.airtoaircombat.com/background.asp?id=11&bg=21 F-15 Eagle in service with Israel]
* [http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/aircraft/f-15.htm F-15 page on GlobalSecurity.org]
* [http://www.vectorsite.net/avf15.html The McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle page on Vectorsite.net]
* [http://www.designation-systems.net/usmilav/jetds/an-alq2aly.html AN/ALQ to AN/ALT Avionics definitions]
* [http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/budget/fy1998/dot-e/airforce/98f15.html F-15 Tactical Electronic Warfare System (TEWS)]


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