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Aircraft And Military Development & Applications
The F-15 has been claimed to be one of the most successful aircraft ever built and is still in service with the US Air Force. The Eagle’s twin-engine and thrust-to-weight ratio of almost 1:1 can propel the 18,000 kg aircraft to more than 2.5 times the speed of sound. It was introduced in 1976 and will continue to be  a part of the air force beyond 2025. There has almost 1200 F-15s built and it has been exported to among others Japan, Saudi Arabia and Israel. The current plan is to keep producing them until 2019. It was first designed as an air-superiority aircraft but later the F-15E Strike Eagle was built, a Air-to-Ground derivative. The F-15 can load a variety of Sparrow, Sidewinder, 120-AMRAAM, drop bombs ( for instance Mark 84 or 82) or external fuel tanks on its 11 hardpoints. Together with its 20 mm M61A1 Vulcan gun it is no surprise that this buster has over 100 confirmed aerial combat victories.

Maiden flight
: 27 Jul 1972 Length: 63.75 ft Wingspan: 42.81 ft Passengers: 1 Introduced: 09 Jan 1976 Manufacturers: McDonnell Douglas · Boeing Defense, Space & Security

The F-15 Eagle is a twin-engine tactical fighter designed by McDonnell Douglas in 1967. The all-weather plane is designed to gain and maintain air superiority over enemy forces during aerial combat, which involves holding dominant positions in the sky. The F-15 Eagle first flew in July 1972, and officially entered service in the U.S. Air Force in 1976.

F-15s are capable of flying at speeds greater than Mach 2.5 (1,650 mph, or 2,655 km/h), and are considered one of the most successful planes ever created. The F-15 Eagle is expected to continue flying in the U.S. Air Force beyond 2025, and have also been exported to a number of foreign nations, including Japan, Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Developed during the same time as the Grumman F-14 Tomcat, the F-15 Eagle quickly became the USAF's premiere air superiority fighter, with outstanding capabilities in a wide range of missions. From interceptor to ground attack, the F-15 has done its job admirably and will continue to do so well into the 21st century.

The USAF built up F-15 squadrons through the 1980s, deploying them to Europe and across the Pacific, and supplying them to air-defense squadrons in the continental US. The continental air-defense role was generally seen as a secondary function, and by 1990 the Eagle had been phased out in this role in favor of the more economical F-16 Air Defense Fighter (ADF) variant.

The Eagle didn't see combat under American colors until the Gulf War in 1990. Following Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait, 48 Eagles were dispatched from Langley AFB in Virginia to Saudi Arabia immediately, arriving at Dharan after up to 17 hours in flight and up to eight inflight refuelings. More F-15s arrived over the following months, and by the time of the beginning of the air war against Iraq on 17 January 1991, there were five F-15C air-combat squadrons, with a total of 96 machines, and two F-15E Strike Eagle squadrons, with a total of 48 shiny new aircraft, operating in the conflict from airbases in Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

USAF F-15C/Ds flew some 2,200 sorties for a total of 7,700 hours in flight, scoring 33 kills for no air combat losses of their own, though one was lost in an accident. BVR combat had come of age, with Eagle crews scoring kills on enemies they never set eyes on. None of the kills were performed with the cannon, most being performed with the AIM-7 Sparrow, though the fact that the Iraqi air force was reluctant to come to grips with Coalition air power was partly responsible for the lack of close-in combat. Eagle availability and turnaround time were reported as outstanding.

Strike Eagles kept busy during the war, pounding bridges and aircraft shelters; "plinking" tanks; and hunting for Iraqi Scud tactical missiles, though with little success in that role. Most strikes were performed using radar as the primary sensor, since the LANTIRN pods were only coming into service, and were available only in limited numbers and at the end of the conflict. The LANTIRN pods also proved to have some teething problems, not all that surprising for a new and complicated weapons system.

Also unsurprisingly, two Strike Eagles were shot down by ground fire. One Strike Eagle actually scored a kill on a Iraqi helicopter with a laser-guided bomb on 14 February 1991: the helicopter had been targeted while on the ground but took off after the launch of the LGB. The WSO, undeterred, kept the helicopter in the crosshairs of his LANTIRN pod until the bomb went home. At last notice, this was the only air-to-air kill of the Strike Eagle.

* After the Gulf War, the USAF began to cut down and restructure their F-15A/B/C/D force in light of changed requirements with the end of the Cold War and force reductions. The fleet fell from 342 to 252 by 1997, with many F-15A/Bs sent to the desert "boneyard" at Davis-Monthan AFB in Arizona and cannibalized for spares. The USAF continued to build up the Strike Eagle force.

Despite the end of the Gulf War, America was by no means done with Saddam Hussein, though figuring out what to do about him would take time. The US set up "no-fly zones" in northern and southern Iraq where no Iraqi aircraft could fly. The northern zone was set up to help protect the local Kurds from attacks, while the southern zone was set up to provide a buffer between Iraq on the north and Kuwait and Saudi Arabia on the south.

USAF F-15Cs patrolled these areas, though things did not always go smoothly. On 14 April 1994, two Eagles on patrol in the northern no-fly zone shot down two helicopters that had been identified as Iraqi Mil Mi-24 Hind gunships. They turned out to be US Army UH-60 Black Hawk transport helicopters; all 26 on board the helicopters were killed. Although this was an extraordinary cockup, in general the whole situation was unsatisfactory and was getting worse. Saddam Hussein resisted all attempts to keep him under control or "contained", and squabbles between US and British aircraft and Iraqi air-defense sites became more and more common. Strike Eagles were prominent participants in the retaliatory strikes that inevitably followed such confrontations. It was like pounding sand down a rathole; the strikes did nothing to resolve the troublesome situation.

* In the meantime, the US was reluctantly becoming involved in the messy series of conflicts in the Balkans that followed the disintegration of Yugoslavia. In 1993, USAF Eagles began what would become a series of deployments to Aviano AB in Italy, which became the forward operating field for sorties over the Balkans. As with Iraq, the situation steadily escalated.

Strike Eagles conducted attacks against Serbian targets with LGBs and EOGBs in 1994 and 1995. In the spring of 1999, events reached a climax with the NATO air campaign against what was left of Yugoslavia, provoked by unrest in neighboring Kosovo. Strike Eagles were heavily involved with attacks against Yugoslav forces, and F-15Cs scored four kills against MiG-29s. Captain Mike Shower and Lieutenant Colonel Cesar Rodriguez (who already had two kills against Iraqi aircraft to his name) each shot down a MiG-29 using the AMRAAM on 24 March 1999; and Captain Jeff Hwang shot down two more MiG-29s in a single engagement on 26 March, also using AMRAAM.
General Characteristics
Crew: 1: pilot
Length: 63 ft 9 in (19.43 m)
Wingspan: 42 ft 10 in (13.05 m)
Height: 18 ft 6 in (5.63 m)
Wing area: 608 ft² (56.5 m²)
Airfoil: NACA 64A006.6 root, NACA 64A203 tip
Empty weight: 28,000 lb (12,700 kg)
Loaded weight: 44,500 lb (20,200 kg)
Max. takeoff weight: 68,000 lb (30,845 kg)
Fuel Capacity: 13,455 ib (6,100 kg)
Internal Powerplant: 2 x Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-100 or -220 afterburning turbofans
Thrust with afterburner: 23,770lbf for -220 (105.7kN for -220) each
Dry thrust: 14,590 lbf (64.9 kN) each
Role: Air superiority fighter
Manufacturer: McDonnell Douglas, Boeing Defense, Space & Security
First flight: 27 July 1972
Introduction: 9 January 1976
Status: In service
Primary users: United States Air Force
                        Japan Air Self-Defense Force
                        Royal Saudi Air Force
                        Israeli Air Force
Number built: F-15A/B/C/D/J/DJ: 1,198
Unit cost: F-15A/B: US$27.9 million (1998)
               F-15C/D: US$29.9 million (1998)
McDonnell Douglas F-15E Strike Eagle
McDonnell Douglas F-15 STOL/MTD
Boeing F-15SE Silent Eagle
Mitsubishi F-15J

Maximum speed:  High altitude: Mach 2.5+ (1,650+ mph, 2,665+ km/h)
                               Low altitude: Mach 1.2 (900 mph, 1,450 km/h)
Combat radius: 1,061 nmi (1,222 mi, 1,967 km) for interdiction mission
Ferry range: 3,450 mi (3,000 nmi, 5,550 km) with conformal fuel tanks and three external fuel tanks
Service ceiling: 65,000 ft (20,000 m)
Rate of climb: >50,000 ft/min (254 m/s)
Wing loading: 73.1 lb/ft² (358 kg/m²)
Thrust/weight: 1.07 (-220) (1.26 with loaded weight & 50% internal fuel)
Maximum design g-load: 9 g

Guns: 1× 20 mm (0.787 in) M61A1 Vulcan 6-barrel Rotary cannon, 940 rounds
Hardpoints: Total 11 (not including CFTs): two under-wing (each with additional two missile launch rails), four under-fuselage (for semi-recessed carriage of AIM-7 Sparrows) and a single centerline pylon station, optional fuselage pylons (which may include conformal fuel tanks, known initially as Fuel And Sensor Tactical (FAST) pack for use on the C model) with a capacity of 16,000 lb (7,300 kg) and provisions to carry combinations of: Missiles:
4× AIM-7 Sparrow
4× AIM-9 Sidewinder

up to 3× 600 US gallons (2,300 L) external drop tanks for ferry flight or extended range/loitering time.
MXU-648 Cargo/Travel Pod - to carry personal belongings, and small pieces of maintenance equipment.

Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System
Radar: Raytheon AN/APG-63 or AN/APG-70 or
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)
Countermeasures: Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems AN/ALQ-131 electronic countermeasures pod
Hazeltine AN/APX-76 or Raytheon 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 receivers (RWR) - part of TEWS
Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems ALQ-135 Internal Countermeasures System (ICS) - part of TEWS
Marconi AN/ALE-45 Chaff/Flares dispenser system - part of TEWS
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Nigel G Wilcox
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