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McDonnell Douglas F-15I (Ra am)


Strike Fighter Aircraft


The Israeli F-15I Ra am is equivalent in form, function, and mission scope to the McDonnell Douglas F-15E Strike Eagle series of the USAF.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Edited: 7/22/2019
National Flag Graphic

Specifications


Year: 1996
Status: Active, In-Service
Manufacturer(s): McDonnell Douglas - USA / Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) - Israel
Production: 25
Capabilities: Fighter;
Crew: 2
Length: 63.81 ft (19.45 m)
Width: 42.81 ft (13.05 m)
Height: 18.54 ft (5.65 m)
Weight (Empty): 31,967 lb (14,500 kg)
Weight (MTOW): 81,571 lb (37,000 kg)
Power: 2 x Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-229 afterburning turbofan engines developing 14,600lb of dry thrust and 29,150lb of thrust with reheat.
Speed: 1,656 mph (2,665 kph; 1,439 kts)
Ceiling: 59,711 feet (18,200 m; 11.31 miles)
Range: 2,485 miles (4,000 km; 2,160 nm)
Rate-of-Climb: 55,000 ft/min (16,764 m/min)
Operators: Israel
The F-15I "Ra'am" ("Thunder") exists as an Israeli Air Force (IAF) mark of the classic Boeing (McDonnell Douglas) F-15 "Eagle" family of air superiority/multirole aircraft - in particular the F-15E "Strike Eagle" ground attack platform. The twin-seat, twin-engine Ra'am is equivalent in mission scope and capability to the United States Air Force's Strike Eagle which is focused on tactical strikes against enemy ground targets at range all the while retaining much of the classic series' air-to-air prowess - making for one formidable combat aircraft. About twenty-five Ra'am aircraft are in service as of mid-2019 and these were used to succeed an aging stock of McDonnell Douglas F-4 "Phantom II" multirole types.

The F-15I came about through a need by the IAF to feature a long-range strike platform capable of infiltrating enemy airspace and destroying critical targets threatening the country's civilian-filled sectors. This inadequacy of defense was brought to light during the SCUD attacks on Israeli cities during the 1991 Gulf War where Iraqi SCUD ballistic missiles, with regularity, rained down on Israeli territory. The IAF considered several American options including the General Dynamics (now Lockheed) F-16 "Fighting Falcon", the McDonnell Douglas (now under the Boeing parent label) F-15E "Strike Eagle", and the McDonnell Douglas (Boeing) F/A-18 "Hornet".

In the end, the Strike Eagle fit the bill and a procurement attempt was furthered.

This resulted in an initial order by the Israeli government to procure twenty-one "F-15I" strike aircraft in early 1994. A complete fleet of twenty-five was then provided by the United States that May and, in November of 1995, four additional F-15I aircraft were added by Israel to complete the sale. The aircraft were produced and delivered from the period spanning 1996 to 1998

As in the IAF's F-16I development, the F-15I relies on Israeli avionics. A Radar Warning Receiver (RWR) of local design was later added as were other Israeli originated cockpit systems and support for Israeli-developed weapons. A Helmet-Mounted Display (HMD) is standard for pilots and the nose houses an APG-70I series radar fit for all-weather functionality.

Because of its direct evolution from the Strike Eagle, the external appearance of the F-15I is nearly identical. The crew of two sit in tandem and the twin engine arrangement is side-by-side in the aft-section of the fuselage. The wing mainplanes are shoulder-mounted and have swept-lines along their leading edges. Tailplanes are all-moving surfaces. There are a pair of vertical planes bookending the twin engine installation and a tricycle undercarriage (retractable) is used for ground running.

Thrust power is from 2 x Pratt & Whitney F100-PW series afterburning turbofan engines giving the aircraft considerable performance. Maximum speeds can reach beyond Mach 2.0 and the aircraft's combat radius approached 800 miles.

The F-15I has been a steady performer for the IAF and will continue to be featured in the country's various regional campaigns against its enemies. The series provides excellent operational ranges, all-modern facilities, and a capability that is matched by only a few other platforms in service. Multiple hardpoints provide highly-variable ordnance-carrying options that can range from short- and medium-range air-to-air missiles and air-to-surface missiles to precision-guided or conventional drop bomb weapons.

Weapons-wise, the F-15I retains the Eagle's single 20mm M61A1 Vulcan internal automatic cannon and can carry up to 23,000lb of air-launched or air-dropped ordnance as well as three external jettisonable fuel tanks for increased operational ranges. Targeting pods can also be installed for precision strikes.

The series is slated to receive modernization by way of an Active, Electronically-Scanned Array (AESA) radar unit in the nose as well as broadened support for newer Israeli-made weapons. All-modern avionics also figure into keeping the F-15I a viable attack platform for the foreseeable future - this even as the service brings its new F-35A 5th Generation Fighter fleet up to operational numbers.






Armament



STANDARD, FIXED:
1 x 20mm M61A1 Vulcan Gatling-style internal automatic cannon.

OPTIONAL:
Up to 23,000lb of launched/dropped ordnance including short- and medium-ranged air-to-air missiles, air-to-surface missiles, precision-guided drop bombs, conventional drop bombs, cluster and incendiary bombs, jettisonable fuel tanks, and special-mission equipment (such as targeting pods).

Graphical image of an aircrat automatic cannon
Graphical image of an aircraft Gatling-style rotating gun
Graphical image of an air-to-air missile weapon
Graphical image of a short-range air-to-air missile
Graphical image of a medium-range air-to-air missile
Graphical image of an aircraft air-to-surface missile
Graphical image of an aircraft conventional drop bomb munition
Graphical image of an aircraft guided bomb munition
Graphical image of an aircraft external fuel tank

Variants / Models



• F-15I "Ra am" - Base Series Designation; total of 25 aircraft manufactured.
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