F-15 ACTIVE STOL/MTD - The 'Super-Maneuverable' Eagle Species.

Top Gun: Maverick - Birds of Fray

Oct 6 2022 • 2 mins

In the 1980s, amid the raging cold war amid the sworn arch-rivals, NASA funded the development of an experimental F-15 variant under its ACTIVE (Advanced Control Technology for Integrated Vehicles) program with Short Take-Off and Landing (STOL) based Maneuverable Technology Demonstrator (MTD) capable of taking-off from and landing on makeshift and even damaged runways. The program was intended at making the fastest fighter jet in the USAF inventory even better with the injection of maneuverability. The F-15 ACTIVE featured frontal canards along with 360 degree thrust vectoring capability which gave the variant its extreme maneuverability. The canards enhanced structural stability by almost 100% at supersonic speeds, which along with thrust reversers and thrust vectoring engines, reduced the take-off distance by almost 25% for it compared to conventional F-15s. Also, the landing distance needed by it was almost 78% shorter. The F-15 ACTIVE, thus, would have been the fastest (at Mach 2.5) and most maneuverable U.S. fighter jet ever. Sadly, the prototype was retired in 2009 and never pursued further with the limelight instead hogged by the F-22 Raptor.