F-15 EAGLE

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Current as of January 3, 2019

Mission
The F-15 Eagle is an all-weather, extremely maneuverable, tactical fighter designed to permit the Air Force to gain and maintain air supremacy over the battlefield.

Features
The Eagle's air superiority is achieved through a mixture of unprecedented maneuverability and acceleration, range, weapons and avionics.  It can penetrate enemy defense and outperform and outfight any current enemy aircraft.  The F-15 has electronic systems and weaponry to detect, acquire, track and attack enemy aircraft while operating in friendly or enemy-controlled airspace.  The weapons and flight control systems are designed so one person can safely and effectively perform air-to-air combat.

The F-15's superior maneuverability and acceleration are achieved through high engine thrust-to-weight ratio and low wing loading.  Low wing loading (the ratio of aircraft weight to its wing area) is a vital factor in maneuverability and, combined with the high thrust-to-weight ratio, enables the aircraft to turn tightly without losing airspeed.

A multi-mission avionics system sets the F-15 apart from other fighter aircraft.  It includes a head-up display (HUD), advanced radar, inertial navigation system, flight instruments, ultra-high frequency communications, tactical navigation system and instrument landing system.  It also has an internally mounted, tactical electronic-warfare system, "identification friend or foe" (IFF) system, electronic countermeasures set, Joint Helmet Mounted Cuing System (JHMCS), and a central digital computer.

The pilot's HUD projects on the windscreen all essential flight information gathered by the integrated avionics system.  This display, visible in any light condition, provides information necessary to track and destroy an enemy aircraft without having to look down at cockpit instruments.  In addition, the JHMCS is a helmet mounted display and cueing system that provides information such as targeting cues and aircraft performance parameters and graphically displays them directly on the helmet visor.

The F-15's versatile 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 down to close range, and at altitudes down to treetop level.  The radar feeds target information into the central computer for effective weapons delivery.  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.

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 HUD.
The Eagle can be armed with combinations of different air-to-air weapons: the AIM-120 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) on its lower fuselage corners and/or two pylons under the wings, the AIM-9M/X Sidewinder/Next Generation Sidewinder carried on the two pylons under the wings, and an internal 20mm Gatling gun in the right wing root.

The F-15C/D aircraft is capable of using Conformal Fuel Tanks that attach to the aircraft fuselage sides and provide the ability for the aircraft to carry more fuel without the higher drag of external fuel tanks.  Each Conformal Fuel Tank adds about 5000 pounds of additional fuel to the F-15C/D aircraft.

Background
The first F-15A flight was made in July 1972, and the first flight of the two-seat F-15B (formerly TF-15A) trainer was made in July 1973.  The first Eagle (F-15B) was delivered in November 1974. In January 1976, the first Eagle destined for a combat squadron was delivered.

The single-seat F-15C and two-seat F-15D models entered the Air Force inventory beginning in 1979.  These new models have Production Eagle Package (PEP 2000) improvements, including 2,000 pounds of additional internal fuel, provision for carrying exterior conformal fuel tanks and increased maximum takeoff weight of up to 68,000 pounds.

The F-15 Multistage Improvement Program 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 a Hughes APG-70 radar.

The APG-63(V)2/3 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar has been (or is currently being) retrofitted to all F-15C aircraft.  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)2/3 is compatible with current F-15C weapons load 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.

F-15C/D models were deployed to the Persian Gulf in 1991 in support of Operation Desert Storm where they proved their superior combat capability.  F-15C fighters accounted for 34 of the 37 Air Force air-to-air victories.

They have since been deployed for Air Expeditionary Force (AEF) deployments and Operations Southern Watch, Provide Comfort in Turkey, Allied Force in Bosnia, Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, Iraqi Freedom in Iraq, and Inherent Resolve in Syria.

General Characteristics
Primary function:  Tactical Fighter
Contractor:  The Boeing Company
Power plant:  Two Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-100, 220 or 229 turbofan engines with afterburners
Thrust:  (C/D models) 23,450 pounds each engine
Wing span:  42.8 feet (13 meters)
Length:  63.8 feet (19.44 meters)
Height:  18.5 feet (5.6 meters)
Speed:  1,875 mph (Mach 2.5 plus)
Maximum takeoff weight:  68,000 pounds (30,844 kilograms)
Fuel Capacity:  26,520 pounds (with three external tanks), or 32,356 pounds (with conformal fuel tanks installed and two external fuel tanks)

Ceiling:  65,000 feet (19,812 meters)
Range:  2,173 nautical miles (2,501 miles) ferry range with three external fuel tanks or 2,666 nautical miles (3,068 miles) with conformal fuel tanks installed and two external fuel tanks (maximum takeoff weight)
Crew:  F-15C: one, F-15D:  two
Armament:  One internally mounted M-61A1 20mm, six-barrel cannon with 940 rounds of ammunition; two AIM-9M/X Sidewinders/Next Generation Sidewinders and six AIM-120 AMRAAMs , carried externally.
Unit Cost:  $34 million
Date deployed:  July 1972
Inventory:  Total force, 235; Active force, 98; Reserve, 0; ANG, 137