F-15E Strike Eagle
Initial Operational Capability (IOC):
Also Known As: F-15I Raam, F-15I Thunder and F-15S Peace Sun IX
Origin: United States of America
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Description: The F-15 Eagle is an all-weather, extremely maneuverable, tactical fighter aircraft designed to outperform and outfight enemy aircraft obtaining air supremacy for the US Air Force. It replaced the F-4 Phantom II in the US Air Force inventory. During the Balkan conflict the F-15s downed four Serbian MiG-29 Fulcrum and 33 out of the 35 fixed-wing aircraft downed during the Gulf War. The success key of the F-15 Eagle is combination of maneuverability, weaponry, advanced avionics and a pulse-Doppler radar system. The pulse-Doppler radar permits to engage multiple low and high flying targets at long range. The F-15's internal countermeasures system provides both threat warning and automatic delivery of countermeasures against selected threats. The F-15A/B aircraft entered service with the US Air Force in 1975. McDonnell Douglas, now Boeing, has produced more than 2,000 aircraft to date for the US Air Force and several customers worldwide.
The F-15 Eagle air defense fighter aircraft is armed with an internal 20mm Gatling gun, four medium range AIM-7 Sparrow or AIM-120A/B/C AMRAAM missiles and up to four short range AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles. The key sensor provided to the Eagle is the APG-63 pulse Doppler radar which allows to engage the most elusive airborne targets flying at low altitudes. The A, B, C and D models of this aircraft were designed to fly exclusively air defense missions with none or near irrelevant attack capabilities.
The F-15E Strike Eagle is a two-seat, multi-role, fighter aircraft for all-weather air-to-air and air-to-surface missions. The rear cockpit includes four multipurpose displays for aircraft systems and weapons managements. The APG-70 radar and the LANTIRN navigation and targeting pods provide the F-15E with excellent precision strike capability day and night, and adverse weather conditions. During the Gulf War, the F-15E Strike Eagle was used mainly at night hunting SCUD missile launchers and artillery sites. The LANTIRN pods demonstrated to be very valuable for the F-15E success. The F-15E still retains the A, B, C and D air-to-air capability and the internal 20mm gun. Two low-drag conformal fuel tanks that hug the F-15E's fuselage increase the maximum range.
The US Air Force ordered 226 F-15E aircraft between the late 1980s and the early 1990s. The aircraft entered service in September 1989. The F-15E Strike Eagle with some modifications has been exported to Israel (F-15I Thunder), and Saudi Arabia (F-15S Peace Sun IX). The F-15I is an upgraded model from US Air Force F-15E, and the F-15S is a downgraded model. The US Air Force plans call for the F-15E multi-role aircraft to remain in service beyond 2035. To achieve that goal a modernization program was introduced to upgrade its avionics and adding the latest smart weaponry. Nevertheless, as of 2014 further defense budget cuts could imply the early retirement of the F-15E fleet by 2020. The US Air Force envisaged the replacement of the F-15E by a variant of the F-22 Raptor known as the FB-22 but this program was cancelled. Current plans call for its replacement by the F-35A or a further new variant of the F-35 aircraft.
As of 2004, Boeing was testing the newest version of the Advanced Display Core Processor (ADCP) at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. Leveraging commercial data technologies (commercial processors), ADCP enables F-15E's computer system to process target data faster, display better information to the crew, and control more advanced weaponry. This model uses less power at half the cost and weight than its predecessor. The US Air Force plans to retrofit the entire F-15E fleet with the newest ADCP as an upgrade to central computer and multi-purpose display processor starting in 2006. In early 2005, the US Air Force released that the F-15E Strike Eagle was testing Sniper XR advanced targeting pod at the Royal Air Force base in Lakenheath, England. During the test campaign , an F-15E dropped for the first time the 500-pound GBU-38 JDAM satellite-guided weapon.
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