The McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle, after more than 25 years of service, was still the U.S. Air Force's premier fighter as the year 2000 approached. It is the only aircraft in the U.S. Air Force arsenal capable of launching the ASAT anti-satellite missile. It also serves with the air forces of Israel, Japan and Saudi Arabia.
The F-15 constantly is upgraded to include state-of-the-art equipment. It can penetrate enemy defenses and can outperform and outfight any current or projected enemy. The Eagle's air superiority is due to its advanced avionics, its range and weaponry, and its unprecedented maneuverability. One person can effectively perform air-to-air combat using its advanced systems to detect, acquire, track and attack enemy aircraft.
The F-15's low-wing loading (the ratio of aircraft weight to its wing area), combined with its high engine thrust-to-weight ratio, allows it to turn tightly without losing airspeed. Under any light conditions, data from the integrated avionics system is projected on the windscreen, so the pilot can track and destroy an enemy aircraft without having to look down at cockpit instruments.
Between Jan. 16 and Feb. 1, 1975, an F-15A nicknamed "Streak Eagle" broke eight time-to-climb world records. It reached an altitude of 98,425 feet just 3 minutes 27.8 seconds from brake release at takeoff and coasted to nearly 103,000 feet before descending.
The first Eagle entered service in November 1974 with the 58th Tactical Training Wing at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz. The first Air Force air defense squadron to transition to the F-15 was the 48th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron at Langley Air Force Base, Va., in January 1982. By 1989, more than 1,200 Eagles were in service; most were built by McDonnell Douglas in St. Louis, Mo., and more than 110 were built by Mitsubishi of Japan.
The single-seat F-15C and two-seat F-15D models were followed by the two-seat, dual-role F-15E "Strike Eagle," the world's most technologically advanced fighter. With increased payload capacity, the F-15E flew for the first time on Dec. 11, 1986. The F-15E Strike Eagle can fly higher than 50,000 feet at more than Mach 2.5. It can fly air-to-air, air-to-ground, long-range, day or night missions, in any kind of weather.
F-15 Eagle home page
||July 27, 1972
||42 feet 10 inches
||63 feet 9 inches
||18 feet 8 inches
||Two 25,000-pound-thrust P&W F100-PW-100 turbofan engines
||F-15A/C, 1 crew; F-15B/D, 2 crew
||AIM-7F/M Sparrow missiles or AIM-120 advanced medium-range air-to-air missiles; AIM-9L/M Sidewinder or AIM-120 missiles; 20 mm Gatling gun