USAF to host events to celebrate 50th Anniversary of the maiden flight of the mighty F-15 Eagle

USAF celebrated F-15 Eagle undefeated air superiority fighter’s 50th birthday

By Dario Leone
Jul 29 2022
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The undefeated F-15 Eagle continues to evolve and add advanced capability to the US Air Force (USAF) fighter fleet.

On Jul. 27, 1972, the Boeing F-15 flew for the first time with Chief Test Pilot Irv Burrows at the controls. Fifty years later, the undefeated F-15 continues to evolve and add advanced capability to the US Air Force (USAF) fighter fleet.

“Boeing is proud of the F-15’s proven performance and of our shared legacy on this platform with the U.S. Air Force and operators around the world,” said Prat Kumar, vice president of F-15 Programs, in a Boeing news release. “With its unrivaled combat performance, five decades-long production run and continuous evolution, the F-15 has a remarkable history and continues today to be a critical asset for U.S. and allied forces. And with the development of new, advanced capabilities and the evolution of the F-15EX, the best is yet to come.”

Boeing’s F-15 program was initiated at the request of the USAF, which needed a fighter jet designed to maintain the country’s air superiority.

USAF to host events to celebrate 50th Anniversary of the maiden flight of the mighty F-15 Eagle
McDonnell Douglas F-15A (S/N 71-0280, the first F-15A prototype). Note the square wingtips and unnotched stabilator.

In early 1975, flying out of Grand Forks Air Force Base in North Dakota, an F-15A known as Streak Eagle set many time-to-climb world records. Between Jan. 16 and Feb. 1, 1975, the Streak Eagle broke eight time-to-climb world records. It reached an altitude of 98,425 feet just 3 minutes, 27.8 seconds from brake release at takeoff and coasted to nearly 103,000 feet before descending.

According to Boeing, Eagles flown by Israel’s air force were the first to face a true adversary in the air. They downed more than 50 Syrian fighters with no losses of their own.

USAF to host events to celebrate 50th Anniversary of the maiden flight of the mighty F-15 Eagle
The first production McDonnell Douglas F-15C (S/N 78-468) in flight

To meet the USAF requirement for air-to-ground missions, the F-15E Strike Eagle was developed. It made its first flight from St. Louis in December 1986. The Strike Eagle can carry 23,000 pounds of air-to-ground and air-to-air weapons and is equipped with an advanced navigation and an infrared targeting system, protecting the Strike Eagle from enemy defenses. This allows the Strike Eagle to fly at a low altitude while maintaining a high-speed, even during bad weather or at night.

The F-15 has been produced in single-seat A model and two-seat B versions. The two-seat F-15E Strike Eagle version is a dual-role fighter that can engage both ground and air targets.

First F-15E
First McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) F-15E Strike Eagle which from Mar. 2, 1987 was used at Edwards Air Force Base for Developmental Test & Evaluation.

F-15C, -D, and -E models participated in Operation Desert Storm in 1991. F-15s downed 32 of 36 USAF air-to-air victories and struck Iraqi ground targets. F-15s also served in Bosnia in 1994 and downed three Serbian MiG-29 fighters in Operation Allied Force in 1999. They enforced no-fly zones over Iraq in the 1990s. Eagles also hit Afghan targets in Operation Enduring Freedom, and the F-15E version performed air-to-ground missions in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Through its variants, the F-15 has also served that mission internationally with numerous global customers including Japan, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea and Qatar.

‘We are going to be flying the F-15EX soon and it’s going to be awesome!’ 173rd FW Commander on transition from F-15C to F-15EX
F-15EX Eagle II prototype

The newest F-15, the F-15EX Eagle II, delivers a state-of-the-art electronic warfare system, along with contemporary sensors and avionics. The airframe, known for its unrivaled payload capacity, is capable of carrying next-generation hypersonic weapons.

The F-15’s manufacturing process has also evolved over the years to include digital design and automation and tooling, including revolutionary full-size determinant assembly advanced manufacturing processes.

36th TFW F-15C Print
This print is available in multiple sizes from AircraftProfilePrints.com – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS. F-15C Eagle 36th TFW, 22d TFS, BT/79-051 / 1981

“Boeing’s modernized manufacturing process improves quality while decreasing time and costs,” said Kumar. “We’ve seen increased global interest in the contemporary F-15 and its next-generation capabilities.”

More than 1,500 F-15s are in service worldwide. The USAF took delivery of its first F-15EX in March 2021.

Photo credit: U.S. Air Force

F-15 model
This model is available to order from AirModels – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS.

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Dario Leone

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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