F-15 eagle The American most successful modern fighter

McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle

The F-15 was the US answer to the MiG-25. In 1972, the F-15A took to the air for the first time. It was the prototype for what would become a flagship fighting plane for the US Air Force just two years later, when the first F-15 Eagle was delivered in November 1974. The Eagle officially became a part of the US Air Force 14 months later.

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 or projected 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. Its weapons and flight control systems are designed so one person can safely and effectively perform air-to-air combat.

F-15 Eagle operations:

The F-15 has been a major part of American military operations. The C, D, and E models saw a lot of use in the Gulf War – most notably, Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm in 1990. During the entirety of the conflict, McDonnell Douglass – the designers of the F-15 – could boast that their fighter jet had won 36 of the United States’ 39 air-to-air victories against Iraqi forces. It wasn’t just the US that recognized the F-15 as a powerful and useful fighter. Japan’s Air Self-Defense Force has 200 Mitsubishi F-15Js, and the Royal Saudi Air Force had 211 F-15s in its ranks at the last count in 2022.

McDonnell Douglass has brought out several new models of the F-15 over the years: the single-seat C and two-seat D models were brought into the US Air Force in 1979. The plane is a firm favorite thanks to its ability to detect, acquire, track and attack enemy aircraft, and its design allows one person to safely and effectively perform air-to-air combat.

F-15 Eagle
F-15 all-weather counter-air fighter

F-15 Eagle Specifications

Primary Function: Tactical fighter.
Contractor: McDonnell Douglas Corp.
Power Plant: Two Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-100 turbofan engines with afterburners.
Thrust: (C/D models) 25,000 pounds each engine ( 11,250 kilograms).
Length: 63 feet, 9 inches (19.43 meters).
Height: 18 feet, 8 inches (5.69 meters).
Wingspan: 42 feet, 10 inches (13.06 meters)
Speed: 1,875 mph (Mach 2.5-plus at sea level).
Ceiling: 65,000 feet (19,697 meters).
Maximum Takeoff Weight: (C/D models) 68,000 pounds (30,600 kilograms).
Range: 3,450 miles (3,000 nautical miles) ferry range with conformal fuel tanks and three external fuel tanks.
Armament: One M-61A1 20mm multi-barrel gun mounted internally with 940 rounds of ammunition; four AIM-9L/M Sidewinder and four AIM-7F/M Sparrow missiles, or a combination of AIM-9L/M, AIM-7-F/M, and AIM-120 missiles.
Crew: F-15A/C: one. F-15B/D: two.
Unit cost: $15 million.
Date Deployed: July 1972
Inventory: Active force, 403; ANG, 126; Reserve, 0.

F-15 Eagle features

The F-15’s excellent acceleration and agility are made possible by its low wing loading and high engine thrust-to-weight ratio. The ratio of an aircraft’s weight to its wing area, or low wing-loading, is crucial for maneuverability. It makes it possible for the aircraft to turn quickly without sacrificing airspeed when combined with a high thrust-to-weight ratio.

The F-15 differs from other fighter aircraft thanks to its multi-mission avionics system. It has an instrument landing system, head-up display, tactical navigation system, inertial navigation system, sophisticated radar, and flying instruments. Additionally, it features a tactical electronic warfare system placed internally, an “identification friend or foe” system (a system that informs the pilot if an aircraft were seen visually or on the radar is friendly. It also informs U.S. or allied ground stations and other suitably equipped aircraft that the F-15 is a friendly aircraft.), a set of electronic countermeasures, and a main digital computer.

The F-15 is undergoing a significant upgrade as part of an ongoing, multi-stage enhancement effort that involves the installation or modification of new and used avionics equipment to increase the tactical capabilities of this fighter.

All crucial flight data collected by the integrated avionics system is projected on the windscreen via the head-up display. Without having to glance down at cockpit instruments, the pilot may follow and destroy an enemy aircraft using this display, which is visible in any lighting situation.

The F-15’s adaptable pulse-Doppler radar system can scan low- and high-flying targets without being distracted by background noise. Even at close range and at heights as low as tree top level, it is capable of detecting and tracking tiny, high-speed targets and aircraft at distances beyond optical range. The central computer receives target data from the radar for efficient weapon delivery. The head-up display displays adversary aircraft that are automatically acquired by the radar during close-range dogfights (Tactical type of air combat).

The Eagle can go anywhere in the world thanks to its inertial navigation system. It provides information on pitch, roll, direction, acceleration, and speed as well as the current position of the aircraft.

F-15 Eagle DESIGN

The fuselage of the F-15 is all metal and semi-monocoque, with a large cantilever, shoulder-mounted wing. Twin vertical tails are mounted at the rear of the short fuselage, and large horizontal-ramp variable-geometry external-compression inlets are located on the sides of the fuselage ahead of the wing. The main purpose of the F-15 was to dominate airspace as an air superiority fighter. This aim was certainly achieved thanks to its design, weaponry, and technical specifications, with the plane still in use after five decades.

F-15 Eagle design

F-15 Eagle cockpit

The cockpit of the F-15 houses a multimission avionics system that is seldom seen elsewhere. This includes a head-up display, advanced radar, an inertial navigation system, and an instrument landing system. The head-up display is projected onto the windscreen and displays all essential flight information gathered by the integrated avionics system. Depending on the model, F-15s can seat either one or two people in the cockpit, but the pulse-Doppler radar system means that high- and low-flying targets can be tracked at any speed without being confused by any ground clutter.

F-15 Eagle cockpit


The F-15 is ready to perform in air-to-air combat and as part of a ground[1]attack fleet, with its equipment and armaments improved over the years. The A, C, and D models can hold AIM-120 (AMRAAM), -9 (Sidewinder), and -7 (Sparrow) missiles on the pylons under the wings, while the F-15E comes equipped with precision-guided munitions and a variety of payloads. There is also an internally mounted M-61A1 20mm six-barrel cannon with 940 rounds of ammunition in the right-wing foot.

F-15 Eagle armament
the F-15 Eagle equipped with missiles under the wings

Source: Vieira, J. P. (2021). McDonnell Douglas (Boeing) F-15 Eagle (Spotlight ON) (1st ed.). MMPBooks.


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