Military Factory logo
Icon of a dollar sign
Icon of military officer saluting
Icon of F-15 Eagle military combat fighter aircraft
Icon of Abrams Main Battle Tank
Icon of AK-47 assault rifle
Icon of navy warships

Northrop F-15 Reporter

Long-Range Photographic Reconnaissance Aircraft

Northrop F-15 Reporter

Long-Range Photographic Reconnaissance Aircraft

OVERVIEW
SPECIFICATIONS
ARMAMENT
VARIANTS
HISTORY
MEDIA
OVERVIEW



The Northrop F-15 Reporter was an offshoot of the successful P-61 Black Widow fighter line of World War 2.
National Flag Graphic
ORIGIN: United States
YEAR: 1945
STATUS: Retired, Out-of-Service
MANUFACTURER(S): Northrop - USA
PRODUCTION: 36
OPERATORS: United States
SPECIFICATIONS



Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Northrop F-15 Reporter model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.
CREW: 2
LENGTH: 49.57 feet (15.11 meters)
WIDTH: 66.01 feet (20.12 meters)
HEIGHT: 14.76 feet (4.5 meters)
WEIGHT (EMPTY): 23,446 pounds (10,635 kilograms)
WEIGHT (MTOW): 36,200 pounds (16,420 kilograms)
ENGINE: 2 x Pratt & Whitney R-2800-65W "Double Wasp" radial piston engines developing 2,250 horsepower each.
SPEED (MAX): 441 miles-per-hour (710 kilometers-per-hour; 383 knots)
RANGE: 1,901 miles (3,060 kilometers; 1,652 nautical miles)
CEILING: 34,777 feet (10,600 meters; 6.59 miles)
RATE-OF-CLIMB: 2,540 feet-per-minute (774 meters-per-minute)




ARMAMENT



None. Mission systems centered on photography equipment.
VARIANTS



Series Model Variants
• F-15 - Base Series Designation
• X-15 - Initial prototype designation from XP-61E
• XF-15A - Preproduction designation; based on P-61C airframe.
• F-15A - Production model designation
• RF-61C - Redesignation of F-15A in 1947


HISTORY



Detailing the development and operational history of the Northrop F-15 Reporter Long-Range Photographic Reconnaissance Aircraft.  Entry last updated on 7/13/2018. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com.
The original Northrop P-61 "Black Widow" proved itself an exceptional heavy night fighter for its time in the air during World War 2 (1939-1945). It was the United States' first aircraft specifically designed for the night-fighting role and made its career in the Pacific Theater against the Empire of Japan. Total production yielded 706 examples before war's end but the line was rather quickly given up in the post-war years with the arrival of the jet age - though some saw service in the ensuring Korean War of 1950-1953 in other roles.

Northrop attempted several major and minor conversions and modifications of its P-61 design. Among these were long-range and high-altitude models of which some saw operational service and others were simply discarded entries. One of the adopted offshoots became the F-15A "Reporter", a dedicated unarmed, two-seat, photo-reconnaissance variant converted for the role.

The F-15's development stemmed from modification of one of the two existing XP-61E prototypes. This pair was originally designed around a daytime long-range escort requirement which seated its crew of two in tandem under a new canopy. The dorsal turret was deleted and an additional fuel store was added at the radar operator's former position in the rear fuselage pod to help increase range. The nose was revised to house a battery of 4 x 12.7mm heavy machine guns and the ventral cannon battery of 4 x 20mm was retained. The first XP-61E recorded its first flight on November 20th, 1944.

Form this beginning, the F-15 was formed from the basic framework established through the XP-61E - a design offering inherent power, speed and high-altitude performance. Further work on the type saw the aircraft stripped of all of its armament and a new nose section added (manufactured by Hughes Tool Company) which housed six trainable cameras of various makes and models. The aircraft was powered by 2 x R-2800-65 series engines and each of these drove a four-bladed propeller unit. A base metal finish completed the look of what became the prototype "XF-15" and a first flight was recorded on July 3rd, 1945.

In the XF-15 prototype, the crew of two sat in tandem under an all-new, forward-sliding (blown) canopy and flight controls replicated at both positions allowing either crewman to take control of the aircraft. For long range sorties, the crew seats were also given a reclining feature for resting. Externally, the wings were given provision for jettisonable fuel stores which further increased range.




The XF-15 impressed Army authorities enough to warrant additional development and this work produced the "XF-15A" - though now based on a converted P-61C production model. The XF-15A would reflect pre-series quality and performance and the Army then commissioned for some 320 of the type under the operational designation of F-15A "Reporter". The engines were 2 x R-2800-73 types and a natural metal finish was, again, used. It would become the highest-performance reconnaissance-minded mount for the service to date.

Northrop received the initial contract for 175 units in June of 1945 and these were to be built atop the existing P-61C models still on the assembly lines. In-service aircraft were outfitted with 2 x R-2800-73 series turbocharged engines (the same as fitted to P-61C models).

Despite its promising nature, the F-15A Reporter would have a limited and short career in Army service for the war with Japan ended in August of 1945 and the Army moved quickly to cancel outstanding on-going projects with many American concerns including Northrop. The XF-15A prototype did not complete its first-flight until after the war in October 17th, 1945. In 1947, the official cancellation came for the F-15A after thirty-six airframes had been completed. These remained in circulation after the United States Air Force (USAF) was formed in 1947 and, in 1948, the F-15A was redesignated to become the "RF-61C". These soldiered on into the Korean War and were heavily relied-upon to provide much-needed aerial data of the North Korean territory.




MEDIA









Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.

Image of collection of graph types

Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 500mph
Lo: 250mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (441mph).

    Graph average of 375 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
NYC
 
  LDN
LDN
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MSK
MSK
 
  TKY
TKY
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Graph showcases the Northrop F-15 Reporter's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units
36
36

  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.


Altitude Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Supported Roles
A2A
Interception
UAV
Ground Attack
CAS
Training
ASW
Anti-Ship
AEW
MEDEVAC
EW
Maritime/Navy
SAR
Aerial Tanker
Utility/Transport
VIP
Passenger
Business
Recon
SPECOPS
X-Plane/Development
A2A=Air-to-Air; UAV=Unmanned; CAS=Close Support; ASW=Anti-Submarine; AEW=Airborne Early Warning; MEDEVAC=Medical Evac; EW=Electronic Warfare; SAR=Search-Rescue
Commitments / Honors
Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for pioneering aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon representing modern aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur War
Military lapel ribbon for experimental x-plane aircraft
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.