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15 Things You Didn't Know About The F-15 Eagle

The McDonnell Douglass F-15 Eagle has been in service since 1976 and continues to prove itself to be one of the world's most successful tactical fighters.

1) The F-15 made its first flight nearly 43 years ago, on July 27th, 1972.

Wikimedia

2) In the late 1960s, US reconnaissance found the MiG-25 Foxbat, which had a large wing and dual engines. They feared it was a highly maneuverable fighter that outclasses all US fighters. It turns out that wasn't the case, but it is what sparked the F-15 project.

Wikimedia

3) The Fighter Mafia was a controversial group of U.S. Air Force officers and civilian defense analysts who, in the 1970s, advocated the use of Energy-Maneuverability theory as the sole driver in designing fighter aircraft. The F-15 combined both maneuverability (which the group advocated) as well as the high-tech electronics and missiles (that they opposed).

Wikimedia

4) It's one of the most successful modern-era fighters, with over 100 aerial combat victories.

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5) It's also had 0 aerial combat losses, giving it a perfect record.

Nellis Air Force Base

6) The F-15 doesn't have exhaust petals on the engines. There were problems with them falling off, and they were simply removed, giving the jet a 3% drag penalty.

USAF

7) The large nose allows room for a large, powerful radar. The APG-70 on the F-15E of USAF is at least three times better than that of the APG-70 on F-15I and F-15S, which were exported to foreign customers. The foreign fighters have lower resolution performance of Doppler Beam Sharpening (DBS), Mapping, and Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) modes.

Wikimedia

8) The F-15E is powered by two Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-229 engines, a combined 58,000 pounds of thrust.

Extra Zebra

9) The F15A nicknamed "Streak Eagle" broke eight time-to-climb world records between January 16th and February 1st, 1975. In setting the last of the eight 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.

USAF

10) The right wing of an Israeli Air Force F-15D was sheared off in a mid-air collision. Pilot Ziv Nedivi managed to land safely due to the F-15 Eagle's aerodynamic characteristics. He landed the F-15 at twice the normal speed to maintain the necessary lift, and its tailhook was torn off completely during the landing.

Israeli Defense Force

11) On September 13th, 1985, it became the only jet to shoot down a satellite. The F-15 took off from Edwards Air Force Base, climbed to 38,100 feet and vertically launched the anti-satellite missile at the Solwind P78-1, a U.S. gamma ray spectroscopy satellite orbiting at 345 miles, which was launched in 1979.

Wikimedia

12) On March 19th, 1990, an F-15 from the 3rd Wing stationed at Elmendorf AFB, Alaska accidentally fired an AIM-9M Sidewinder missile at another F-15. The damaged aircraft was able to make an emergency landing; it was subsequently repaired and returned to service.

Wikimedia

13) The Eagle can be armed with combinations of four different air-to-air weapons: AIM-7F/M Sparrow missiles or AIM-120 AMRAAM missiles on its lower fuselage corners, AIM-9L/M Sidewinder or AIM-120 AMRAAM missiles on two pylons under the wings, and an internal M61 Vulcan 20 millimeter (0.79 in) Gatling gun in the right wing root.

Wikimedia

14) The F-15 production line is set to end in 2019, 47 years after the aircraft's first flight...

Kevin Ash Photography

15) But the F-15 Eagle is expected to be in service with the U.S. Air Force well past 2025.

DVIDSHUB


Swayne Martin

Swayne is an editor at Boldmethod, certified flight instructor, and an Embraer 145 First Officer for a regional airline. He graduated as an aviation major from the University of North Dakota in 2018, holds a PIC Type Rating for Cessna Citation Jets (CE-525), and is a former pilot for Mokulele Airlines. He's the author of articles, quizzes and lists on Boldmethod every week. You can reach Swayne at swayne@boldmethod.com, and follow his flying adventures on his YouTube Channel.

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