F15E Strike Eagle: The Most 'Dangerous' Eagle Species...

Top Gun: Maverick - Birds of Fray

Jul 28 2022 • 2 mins

The creation of the ground strike variant of the F-15 Eagle was conceived & undertaken by McDonnell Douglas on its own and pitched to the USAF as a replacement for the older F4 Phantom IIs and the sitting ducks, the F111s, in the early 1980s for the deep strike role. Designated as the  F15E Strike Eagle and featuring APG-70/82 radars and more powerful F100-PW-220 (later 229) engines, it got the USAF's green light over a proposed F-16 variant owing to its comparatively lower development budget and engine redundancy, being a twinjet.  The most dangerous Eagle species was thus born and got airborne with its maiden flight in 1986 and EIS in 1988. The sturdy F-15 airframe proved itself to be really sturdy and versatile to be able to undergo requisite modifications for the air-to-ground role, a clear departure from its original air superiority role, through the incorporation of LANTIRN and targeting pods featuring FLIR giving the Strike Eagle really high precision in flying low at night while targeting its preys irrespective of the prevailing weather conditions. The F15's high armament payload capacity at 23,000 lb makes Eagle one of the best weapons carrying fighter jets in the USAF inventory while the Israeli Air Force aptly calls its F-15Is the 'Flying Bomb Trucks' and has used them extensively for this role over the decades successfully. The F-15Is closely follow the stealthy 5th Gen F-35s in the lead during strike missions and take over the bombing of enemy targets with its massive ordnance payload after the F-35s have effectively knocked out or  suppressed the enemy's Air defenses in contested airspaces. Apart from JDAMs, a range of air to ground missiles ranging from Maverick to JASSM to Harpoon ASM and it's powerful M61 20mm Gatling gun; the F15E retains its air-to-air capabilities with the onboard short range AIM-7 Sparrow (4) AIM-9 Sidewinder (4) and 8 AIM-120 AMRAAM missiles making it a truly formidable flying weapons package.

Audio clip and Episode Cover  credits: Boeing

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