Boeing / McDonnell Douglas F-15E Strike Eagle Strike Fighter Aircraft
The McDonnell Douglas F-15E Strike Eagle is a more potent multi-role form of the F-15 Eagle air superiority fighter.
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The F-15E "Strike Eagle" is a dual-role version of the highly successful base F-15 air superiority fighter. The Strike Eagle is intended to fulfill both roles of air-to-air superiority and ground strike with the capability to operate in all weather, low altitude and day/night sorties thanks to a battery of improved internal systems. Maintaining the same qualities that have made the original F-15 Eagle before it such a success, the F-15E Strike Eagle incorporates enough new elements to make it stand apart from the preceding designs. As a whole, the Strike Eagle provides the USAF with a system that can fight its way into enemy territory, destroy its assigned ground targets, and then fight its way back out all on its own without the need for dedicated air support elements. The initial F-15A first flew in 1972 with deliveries to the USAF beginning in November of 1974 - eventually including the F-15B model. Improved Eagles emerged as the F-15C and F-15D (two-seat) models and began delivery in 1979. The F-15E followed, seeing first deliveries to the 405th Tactical Training Wing in Arizona by April 1988.
Unlike the original F-15 Eagle design, the Strike Eagle features a two-seat cockpit with tandem seating for the pilot (front seat) and Weapons Systems Officer (rear seat). The forward cockpit is dominated by three multi-function screens capable of showcasing various modes. This is accentuated by the informational Heads-Up Display (HUD) system presented in a transparent glass fixture above the instrument panel. The advanced HUD allows the pilot to keep his eyes on the area ahead without having to look down at the instrument panel as the HUD displays a bevy of flight-related information. Night operations are further enhanced by the HUD, as it can display a clear, seemingly day lit, view of the area ahead. The rear cockpit of the WSO features four large screens that are customizable, allowing the officer to select which monitor will display the desired system mode. These modes run the gamut of weapons, available threats, a real-time moving map, target selection, electronic warfare, radar and various other aircraft systems.
The Strike Eagle is fitted with the powerful APG-70 series radar system. The system allows the pilot to engage any air threats while the weapons system officer concentrates on locating and homing in on ground targets of opportunity - all occurring at the safety of long range. A Global Positioning System allows for real-time navigation and situational updates to be processed into a central onboard computer. Both cockpits have access to the digital onboard map.
LANTIRN (Low-Altitude Navigation and Targeting Infrared for Night) system is what allows the Strike Eagle the ability to fly in low altitudes through adverse weather and at night. This system also allows the aircraft to still target and engage enemy targets regardless of the interference being presented by the amount of daylight or the weather. The LANTIRN system is made possible by the use of two underfuselage pods consisting of a targeting system and a navigational system. The targeting system naturally handles the targeting of designated targets and relays this information to the other onboard computer systems, (including armaments). The navigational pod utilizes a terrain-following system allowing for assisted low level flight.
Strike Eagles are powered by a pair of Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-220 or 229 series engines of about 25,000lbs and 29,000lbs thrust each respectively with afterburner capability. The engines provide for a combined power output of 50,000lbs of thrust with the 220 series engines and 58,000lbs of thrust with the 229 series engines. The engines were integrated with advanced technology to the rest of the aircraft through a digital electronic engine control system. The base F-15 design featured a high engine thrust-to-weight ratio, allowing the aircraft to accelerate even in a steep climb. This capability is retained in the E-model.