The McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) F-15 Eagle is an American twin-engine, all-weather tactical fighter designed by McDonnell Douglas to gain and maintain air supremacy in aerial combat. It is among the most successful modern fighters, with more than 100 victories and no losses in aerial combat. Following reviews of proposals, the United States Air Force selected McDonnell Douglas’ design in 1967 to meet the service’s need for a dedicated air superiority fighter. The Eagle first flew in July 1972 and entered service in 1976.
The Eagle has since been exported to Israel, Japan, and Saudi Arabia, among other nations. The F-15 was originally envisioned as a pure air superiority aircraft. Its design included a secondary ground-attack capability that was largely unused. The design proved flexible enough that an all-weather strike derivative, the F-15E Strike Eagle, was later developed, entering service in 1989. The F-15 Eagle is expected to be in service with the U.S. Air Force beyond 2025.
Newer models are still being produced for foreign users. The F-15 production line is set to end in 2019, 47 years after the type’s first flight. In September 2015, Boeing unveiled its 2040C Eagle upgrade, designed to keep the F-15 relevant through 2040. Seen as a necessity because of the low numbers of F-22s procured, the upgrade builds upon the company’s F-15SE Silent Eagle concept with low-observable features. Most improvements focus on lethality including quad-pack munitions racks to double its missile load to 16, conformal fuel tanks for extended range, “Talon HATE” communications to talk to 5th generation fighters, the APG-63(v)3 AESA radar, a long-range infrared search and track (IRST) sensor, and Northrop Grumman’s Eagle Passive/Active Warning Survivability System (EPAWSS) systems.