McDonnell Douglas F-15 General
McDonnell Douglas F-15
All-weather multi-role fighter
Crew F-15A
Crew F-15B (Trainer)
Click here for all pictures of the F-15 currently available
McDonnell Douglas F-15 Program Milestones
June 26, 1972
Maiden Flight (Single seater)
July 27, 1972
Maiden Flight (Dual seater)
July 7, 1973
January 9, 1976
First User
United States Air Force

McDonnell Douglas F-15 Aircraft Dimensions
Wing Span
42 feet 10 inch (13 m)
63 feet 9 inch (19,44 m)
18 feet 6 inch (5,6 m)
Wing Area
608 square feet

McDonnell Douglas F-15 Weights
Empty Weight
28.000 lb (12.700 kg)
44.500 lb (20.200 kg)
Maximum Take-off Weight
68.000 lb (30.845 kg)

McDonnell Douglas F-15 Powerplants
2 x PW F100-220 with AB
25.000 lbf
2 x PW-100-229 with AB
29.000 lbf

McDonnell Douglas F-15 Radius & Performance
Combat Radius
290 nm (537 km)
Ferry Radius
3.000 nm (5.600 km)
Service Ceiling
65.000 ft
Maximum Speed - Sea Level
Mach 1.2 (900 mph)
Maximum Speed - Altitude
Mach 2.5+ (1.875 mph)
Maximum Rate of Climb
254 m/s
Thrust to Weight (-220)
Thrust to Weight (-229)

F-15 Unit Costs
US $ 27.9 million (F-15A/B)
US $ 29.9 million (F-15C/D)

F-15 Operators
Israel (Israeli Air Force)
Japan (Japan Air Self-Defence Force)
Saudi Arabia (Royal Saudi Air Force)
United States (USAF, Air National Guard)

One of the most interesting incidents ever took place occured during an Israeli Air Force training on May 1 1983. An F-15D, flown by pilot Zivi Nadavi collided with an A-4 Skyhawk which ripped off the Eagle's right wing roughly two feet from the fuselage. Nadavi managed to prevent the aircraft from stalling and succeeded in landing the heavily damaged aircraft. Although the aircraft lost much of its right wing lifting capability it still generated sufficient lift due to the large horizontal surface area of the fuselage, its large and effective elevators and the remaining left wing. Although the aircraft was landed at twice the normal landing speed, the pilot managed to bring the F-15 to a complete stop roughly 25 feet from the end of the runway. After he abandoned the aircraft on the runway he stated that he would have ejected if he knew what the situation was.


McDonnell Douglas F-15
The F-15 "Eagle", former McDonnell Douglas now Boeing, was intially developed for the United States Air Force and took to the skies for the first time in July 1972. Due to its superb manoeuverability and all-weather capability the F-15 was designated a role where it would maintain air superiority in aerial combat. Having gained experience from the Vietnam war it showed that the Air Force's current first-line fighter, the McDonnell Douglas F-4 "Phantom, left something to be desired and also became aware of upcoming new aircraft from the Sovjet Union like the Mikoyan Mig-25 "Foxbat". The USAF therefore began studies in 1965 for a "Fighter Experimental (FX)" which was capable of close-in combat, and would have a strike capability. As a response to this, most of the American aircraft manufacturers, like McDonnell Douglas, North American, and Fairchild-Republic, submitted proposals. A year later, on 23 December 1969, the competition was won by MDD and was granted a contract for the delivery of ten single seat "F-15A", commonly referred to as "YF-15As", two dual-seat "TF-15As" and eight "full-scale-development (FSD)" F-15A single seaters. Up till today, the aircraft formes the backbone of the United States Air Force and will remain in first line service during the 21st century.

A USAF McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle in action
Full AB shown by a McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle
A McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle taking off

F-15 Design
Maneuverability is a key characteristic of the F-15 and is derived from low wing loading combined with a high thrust-to-weight ratio. This not only enables the aircraft to make tight turns but also to perform such maneuvers without losing airspeed. Since the aircraft is powered by two engines, the dual thrust output gives the F-15 the ability to accelerate in a vertical climb as its thrust-to-weight ratio is even greater than one. Weapons and flight control systems are designed in way that one person can perform safe and effective air-to-air combat.

The multi-mission avionics system consists of a Head-Up-Display (HUD), Inertial Guidance System (INS), Tactical Air Navigation (TACAN), Ultra High Frequency (UHF) communications, advanced radar technology and Instrument Landing System (ILS). The Head-Up-Display already proved to be a valuable addition to the pilot work environment as it projects essential flight information, gathered by the intergrated avionics system, right in front of the pilot. The display is visible in practically all lighting conditions and provides both aircraft information and information needed to track and destroy enemy aircraft without having the need to look down at cockpit instruments. The advanced radar system feeds target information into the central computer for an effective delivery of weapons. It is capable of locking onto targets as far as 45 nautical miles which enables target engagements beyond visual range (BVR). In case of a dogfight, enemy aircraft are automatically displayed on the Head-Up-Display while the F-15's electronic warfare system provides both threat warning and automatic countermeasures against selected targets or threats.

Besides being equipped with weaponry, later models of the F-15, the F-15C and D models, could be fitted with low-drag conformal fuel tanks (CFTs). These fuel tanks can be attached to the sides of the engine air intake trunks and are designed in a way that they can withstand the same load factors and airspeed limits as the basic aircraft. However, aircraft performance is degraded as the maximum G-force the aircraft can pull safely is limited. Another disadvantage is that the additional fuel tanks cannot be jettisoned in-flight compared to conventional external tanks. These CFT's have been utilized by the United States Air Force only on a small scale and particularly on the F-15E. On the contrary, the Israeli Air Force utilizes American CFT's on practically their entire fleet. A single CFT can carry up to 3.200 liters of fuel and reduces the need for in-flight refuelling thus increasing time in the combat area. With the external tanks installed, all other external weapon stations remain available with Sparrow or AMRAAM missiles being attached to the corners of the CFT's.

The F-15 engines are fed by wedge-style inlets that are hydraulically moved up and down in order to provide a smooth airflow. Looking at the F-15, it is obvious that the engines are mounted close together which reduces handling problems in case of the engines fail. Furthermore, a Garrett auxiliary power unit mounted between the engines, provides electrical power for engine starting and ground power.

A limited number of USAF F-15C aircraft have been retrofitted with the APG-63(V)2 Active Electronically Scanned Aray (AESA) radar. Although much of the upgrades includes new hardware from the APG-63(V)1, it provides increased pilot situational awareness due to the added AESA. The APG-63(V)2 is fully compatible with the F-15C weapon loads and full advantage can be taken of AIM-120 AMRAAM capabilities.

F-15 Armament
The F-15 has variety of air-to-air weaponry. Aerial combat is conducted both safely and effective by using the Head-Up-Display and the avionics and weapon controls located on the engine throttles or control stick. If for instance the pilot decides to change from one weapon system to another, visual weapon guidance is automatically display on the HUD. Overall, the F-15 can be armed with combinations of several different air-to-air weapons, namely; the AIM-7F/M Sparrow, AIM-120 AMRAAM, AIM-9L/M Sidewinder and has an internal 20 mm Gatling gun with 920 rounds of ammunition and a rate of fire of 6.000 rounds a minute installed in the right wing root.

Guns   Missiles
1 x 20 mm M61A1 gatling gun (940)   AIM-7 Sparrow
    AIM-120 AMRAAM
    AIM-9 Sidewinder

F-15 Versions

F-15 "Eagle" Basic Models
F-15A Single seat air-superiority fighter version
F-15B Two-seat training model (commonly known as the TF-15A)
F-15C Improved single seat superiority fighter version
F-15D Two-seat training model
F-15J Single-seat air superiority fighter built by Mitsubishi for the Japan Air Force
F-15DJ Two-seat training model built by Mitsubishi for the Japan Air Force
F-15N Carrier-capable variant as a possible F-14 Tomcat replacement

F-15E "Strike Eagle" Models
F-15E Two-seat long-range strike and ground attack aircraft (US Air Force)
F-15F Single seat model of the F-15E (proposed)
F-15H Export model of the F-15E "Strike Eagle" for Hellenic Air Force
F-15I Thunder Advanced version of the F-15E "Strike Eagle" for Israeli Air Force
F-15K Advanced version of the F-15E "Strike Eagle" for the Republic of Korea AF
F-15SG Advanced version of the F-15E "Strike Eagle" for the Singapore Air Force


Nations utilizing the F-15

The Israeli Air Force operates the F-15 since 1977. They currently operated a total of 52 units organized into two squadrons. They consist of one squadron of F-15A/Bs and one squadron of F-15C/Ds.
The Japan Air Self-Defence Force acquired a total of 203 F-15Js and 20 F-15DJs. Two F-15Js and 12 F-15DJs were made in the US while the remainders were build under licence by Mitsubishi.
The Saudi Air Force operates a range of F-15 models including the F-15C, F-15D and F-15S and are organized into four squadrons. At first, a stipulate in Camp David Peace Agreement limited the total number of F-15 airframes to 60. Later this limitation was abandoned.
The F-15 is currently in use with both the United States Air Force, which operates 396 aircraft, and the Air National Guard operating 126 F-15C/D aircraft.