July 27, 2012 marks the 40th anniversary of the first flight of the F-15 Eagle. The Eagle, four decades later, remains a premier air superiority fighter, delivering valuable service to this country and others worldwide even as its role has evolved over the years. Originally designed as a pure air superiority fighter, the F-15 has maintained that role while adding capabilities, in the shape of the F-15E Strike Eagle and later export versions, that were unforeseen during its successful first flight on July 27, 1972. Along with the U.S. Air Force, it also flies with the air forces of Japan, Saudi Arabia, Israel, South Korea, and Singapore. Kept up to date with new radars, sensors, missiles, engines, and other modifications, the Eagle can go head to head with any fighter on earth. Despite its age and the introduction of replacements such as the F-22, there is no doubt that the F-15 Eagle will be able to keep its talons sharp for some years to come.
F-15 Eagle 40th Anniversary Photos
The prototype McDonnell Douglas F-15A on landing approach. The Vietnam experience and rumors of the performance of the Soviet MiG-25 were two drivers of the FX program for a new air superiority fighter that would outclass anything else flying. U.S. Air Force photo A McDonnell Douglas F-15A with inspection panels open. Making maintenance easier for ground crew was an important consideration in the design. U.S. Air Force photo A German RF-4E Phantom II aircraft and two U.S. Air Force F-15A Eagles in flight over West Germany during exercise "Reforger - Crested Cap II," on Sept. 3, 1982. DoD photo A flight of F-15C Eagles from the 44th Fighter Squadron, Kadena Air Base, Japan, flies during a solar eclipse July 22, 2009 over the island of Okinawa. U.S. Air Force photo U.S. Air Force F-15C Eagle fighter aircraft from the 58th Tactical Fighter Squadron takeoff on deployment to Saudi Arabia during Operation Desert Shield. U.S. Air Force photo An F-15C Eagle from the 65th Aggressor Squadron flies in support of and dogfights against members of the Air Force Weapons School over the Nevada Test and Training Range, Nev., May 17, 2012. U.S. Air Force photo An F-15C from the 67th Fighter Squadron prepares to refuel in flight from a KC-135R from the 909th Air Refueling Squadron, June 28, 2001, while on a routine training mission over the Pacific ocean. U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Marvice Krause A U.S. Air Force F-15C Eagle aircraft from the 44th Fighter Squadron out of Kadena Air Base, Japan, releases a flare over Okinawa, Japan, July 22, 2009, during a total solar eclipse. DoD photo by Airman 1st Class Chad Warren, U.S. Air Force A Bitburg, Germany-based McDonnell Douglas F-15C in flight carrying the typical air superiority loadout, before adoption of the AIM-120 AMRAAM, of AIM-7 Sparrows fitted conformally under the fuselage and four AIM-9 Sidewinders on wing stations. U.S. Air Force photo A Royal Saudi Air Force F-15 Eagle fighter aircraft approaches a KC-135 Stratotanker from the 1700th Air Refueling Squadron Provisional for refueling during Operation Desert Shield. DoD photo A left front view of an F-15 Eagle aircraft landing with the big speed brake up. Notice the AIM-9L Sidewinder mounted on the left wing. The Eagle has always been known as being among the easiest fighters to land smoothly. DoD photo A Japan Air Self Defense Force F-15 (F-15DJ) in flight, as viewed from the boom operator position of a U.S. Air Force KC-135 from the 909th Air Refueling Squadron, Kadena Air Base, after being refueled during air refueling training July 30, 2009. U.S. Air Force photo In honor of the graduating class of the IAF Flight School Course, an Israeli Air Force F-15 takes off from Hatzerim Air Force Base in southern Israel, Dec. 31, 2009. IDF photo by Michael Shvadron, IDF Spokesperson's Film Unit. Two F-15J Eagle aircraft of the 202nd Tactical Fighter Squadron, Japanese Air Self Defense Force (JASDF), take off in formation during the joint U.S./Japan exercise Cope North 85-4. DoD photo A formation of Republic of Korea Air Force F-15Ks in flight over South Korea. ROKAF photo A side view of the prototype F-15E, wearing the "Lizard" camouflage then being used by ground attack aircraft such as the A-10. The F-15E, based on the "built for Cold War air combat only" F-15 airframe, became the U.S. Air Force's premier strike aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo) F-15 Eagles fire AIM-7 Sparrow missiles at a tactical air-launched decoy off the coast of Hawaii on July 16, 2006 during the Rim of the Pacific Exercise. The F-15s were from the Hawaii Air National Guard's 199th Fighter Squadron. U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Shane A. Cuomo U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle aircraft from the 335th Fighter Squadron drop 2,000-pound joint direct attack munitions on a cave in eastern Afghanistan on Nov. 26, 2009. DoD photo by Staff Sgt. Michael B. Keller, U.S. Air Force An F-15E Strike Eagle from the 391st Expeditionary Fighter Squadron at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, launches heat decoys during a close-air-support mission over Afghanistan, Dec. 15, 2008. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Aaron Allmo A McDonnell Douglas F-15E prototype. U.S. Air Force photo