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Information about F15 EagleThe McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) F-15 Eagle is a twin-engine, all-weather tactical fighter designed to gain and maintain air superiority in aerial combat. Developed for the United States Air Force, it first flew in Jul. 1972 (45 years ago), and is one of the most recognized modern fighters. The F-15 is expected to remain in service until 2025. Despite originally being envisaged as a pure air superiority aircraft, the design proved flexible enough that an all-weather strike derivative, the F-15E Strike Eagle, was later developed, and entered service in 1989 (28 years ago).
OriginsFollowing studies in 1964-1965, the US Air Force developed requirements for an air superiority fighter in Oct. 1965 (52 years ago). Then on 8 dec. 1965 (52 years ago), the Air Force issued a request for proposals (RFP) for the new fighter. The request called for both air-to-air and air-to-ground capabilities. Eight companies responded with proposals. In the following study phase, four of these companies developed some 500 design concepts. Typical designs featured variable-sweep wings, weighed over 60,000 lb (27,200 kg), included a top speed of Mach 2.7 and a thrust-to-weight ratio of 0.75. The designs were not accepted by the Air Force as they compromised fighter qualities for ground attack qualities. Acceptance of the Energy-Maneuverability (E-M) theory by the Air Force led to a change in requirements for improved maneuverability by the spring 1967 (50 years ago). The design mission weight was reduced to 40,000 lb (18,100 kg), top speed reduced to Mach 2.3-2.5 and thrust-to-weight ratio increased to 0.97.
In 1967 (50 years ago) U.S. intelligence was surprised to find that the Soviet Union was building a large fighter aircraft, known as the MiG-25 'Foxbat'. 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), so 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 US 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 (4 walls) 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. The Phantom did not originally have a gun, but experience in Vietnam led to the addition of a gun. An external gun pod was tried and later the M61 Vulcan was integrated internally on the F-4E.
DesignF-15C performing a maximum performance takeoff.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 composite 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 ft (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.
A wing over maneuver displays the clean lines and high-wing design of an F-15E from Elmendorf AFB, AK.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.
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 missile 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.
F-15E with speed brake deployed and conformal tanks fitted.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.
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 M61A1 20 mm Gatling gun in the right wing root.
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. 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. The 57 FIS based at Keflavik NAS, Iceland was the only C-model squadron to utilize CFTs 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.
M61 Vulcan mounted on the side of right engine intake.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. 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. 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.
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