The United States Air Force is the most formidable military force on Earth. Every once in a while, however, you will hear rumors of what upgrades the Air Force needs.
Iron Man may be fictional, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that the US Airforce has some of the most interesting and effective military equipment in the world. The F-15 Strike Eagle is one example.
The F-15 Strike Eagle, or as it is commonly known as the McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle, is a beautifully designed American twin-engine tactical fighter aircraft. This aircraft was designed by McDonnell Douglas, which is now owned by the Boeing Company.
The F-15 Strike Eagle made its first flight 49 years ago, on July 27, 1972. But it wasn’t until four years later, on July 9, 1976, that it was officially presented to the world. This iconic aircraft has been in service since its first unveiling 45 years ago. And it remains in production to this day. Since the F-15 Strike Eagle went into production, there have been two other variations. These are the F-15E Strike eagle and the Mitsubishi F-15J.
To better understand this iconic aircraft, here is a detailed look at the F-15 Strike Eagle.
History and development of the F-15 Strike Eagle
The F-15 Strike Eagle is synonymous with the start of the Vietnam War. This was at a time when the US Navy and the US Air Force were competing to determine who would determine the future of tactical aircraft.
This was not facilitated by the constant pressure from then-Defense Secretary Robert McNamara, who often pitted the two services against each other in an attempt to see them work together to build something better. This led to the launch of the TFX program (F111). This was aimed at building a medium-range interdiction aircraft that would serve both sides. The Air Force was to use it for medium range while the Navy would use it for long range.
Between mid to late 1965, McNamara commissioned the US Air Force to build a short-range tactical aircraft that was also less expensive and could serve as close air support. After constant back and forth and the confrontation of the two services, namely the Navy and the Air Force, many changes have taken place.
In 1965, the director of the Defense Research and Engineering Department, Harold Brow, decided to focus on the F-5. After passing through a considerable number of planes, it is approximately 800 to 1000. It was not until July 1966 that an aircraft resembling the TFX-111 was unveiled. This aircraft was lighter and smaller. It could not, however, be used during the war. It took another 12 years before the F-15 Strike Eagle soared into the sky, and a few years later it was deployed for war.
This aircraft was more focused on air superiority and tactics than most aircraft available. However, this project did not fall under Navy or Air Force programs. When the government realized that it needed to focus on building something achievable, it decided to recruit private companies.
For the offer to build an aircraft that could serve the military throughout the war, and even afterwards, four companies submitted their bids. These companies were General Dynamics, Fairchild Republic, North American Rockwell, and McDonnell Douglas. After a rigorous monitoring and evaluation process, the contract was awarded to McDonnell Douglas.
McDonnell Douglas had introduced the F-14, which was a two-tailed aircraft that had fixed wings. The designs of this fighter were based on a number of studies done by NASA in regards to wind tunnel testing.
Design and avionics of the F-15 Strike Eagle
The design of the F-15 Strike Eagle includes an all-metal semi-monocoque. This was paired with massive cantilevered wings mounted on the shoulders. This fighter’s wing platform represented a modified, cropped delta shape that was accompanied by a 45-degree tilted leading edge sweep.
The tail was made of both metal and composite construction. This means that it featured dual aluminum and composite materials placed or molded into honeycombs. This resulted in a thin tail.
The speedbrakes on this aircraft were mounted on the spinneret and were mated to the retractable trike landing gear. The design and integration of this aircraft was so complex and sophisticated that it was possible to control it with just one wing.
The avionics of this aircraft featured an advanced radar guidance system, head-up display, tactical air navigation system, ultra-high frequency communication system, flight instruments, and instrument landing system receivers. .
All of these, together with advanced weapons and external magazines, made this aircraft one of the most formidable instruments of war.
The badass semi-truck from the movie comes with a lot of cool custom modifications.
About the Author