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McDonnell Douglas F-15I (Ra am)

Strike Fighter Aircraft

Israel | 1996

"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 | Last Edited: 07/30/2020 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
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.

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Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one aircraft design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the McDonnell Douglas F-15I Strike Fighter Aircraft.
2 x Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-229 afterburning turbofan engines developing 14,600lb of dry thrust and 29,150lb of thrust with reheat.
1,656 mph
2,665 kph | 1,439 kts
Max Speed
59,711 ft
18,200 m | 11 miles
Service Ceiling
2,485 miles
4,000 km | 2,160 nm
Operational Range
55,000 ft/min
16,764 m/min
City-to-City Ranges
Operational range when compared to distances between major cities (in KM).
The nose-to-tail, wingtip-to-wingtip physical qualities of the McDonnell Douglas F-15I Strike Fighter Aircraft.
63.8 ft
19.45 m
O/A Length
42.8 ft
(13.05 m)
O/A Width
18.5 ft
(5.65 m)
O/A Height
31,967 lb
(14,500 kg)
Empty Weight
81,571 lb
(37,000 kg)
Design Balance
The three qualities reflected below are altitude, speed, and range. The more full the box, the more balanced the design.
Available supported armament and special-mission equipment featured in the design of the McDonnell Douglas F-15I (Ra am) Strike Fighter Aircraft .
1 x 20mm M61A1 Vulcan Gatling-style internal automatic cannon.

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).
Notable series variants as part of the McDonnell Douglas F-15I (Ra am) family line.
F-15I "Ra am" - Base Series Designation; total of 25 aircraft manufactured.
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the McDonnell Douglas F-15I (Ra am). Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 25 Units

Contractor(s): McDonnell Douglas - USA / Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) - Israel
National flag of Israel

[ Israel ]
Relative Max Speed
Hi: 1700mph
Lo: 850mph
Aircraft Max Listed Speed (1,656mph).

Graph Average of 1,275 MPH.
Era Crossover
Showcasing Aircraft Era Crossover (if any)
Max Alt Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Production Comparison
Entry compared against Ilyushin IL-2 (military) and Cessna 172 (civilian) total production.
MACH Regime (Sonic)
RANGES (MPH) Subsonic: <614mph | Transonic: 614-921 | Supersonic: 921-3836 | Hypersonic: 3836-7673 | Hi-Hypersonic: 7673-19180 | Reentry: >19030
Aviation Timeline
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Image of the McDonnell Douglas F-15I (Ra am)
Image from the United States Department of Defense DVIDS imagery database; released to the public.

Mission Roles
Some designs are single-minded in their approach while others offer a more versatile solution to airborne requirements.
Some designs stand the test of time while others are doomed to never advance beyond the drawing board; let history be their judge.
Developments of similar form-and-function, or related, to the McDonnell Douglas F-15I (Ra am) Strike Fighter Aircraft.
Going Further...
The McDonnell Douglas F-15I (Ra am) Strike Fighter Aircraft appears in the following collections:
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