McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle

Overview

The McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) F-15 was developed in response to the F-X Fighter Program, for an air superiority fighter primarily to replace the F-4E.

Whilst it would maintain the role of the F-4 as an air-to-air fighter it would advance virtually every other aspect. Range, manoeuvrability and sensors would all be vastly improved and ensure it could beat any current and foreseeable fighter. After a ‘paper-based’ competition the contract was awarded to McDonnell with its twin tail design and designated the F-15.

In 1972 the first YF-15A prototype rolled out and first flew in 1973. Although the design was much like other American and Soviet aircraft  (the F-14 Tomcat and Soviet MiG-25 ‘Foxbat’) of the time, there were many technical advances. The cockpit design was light-years ahead of comparable aircraft; it incorporated the new Hands-On Throttle and Stick (HOTAS) and Head-Up-Display (HUD) technology along with a revolutionary bubble canopy giving the pilot improved visibility. All this allowed the pilot to concentrate more on combat operations. This complemented the advanced APG-63 radar that provided the ability to acquire and shoot down targets at Beyond Visual Range (BVR), which in itself was a leap forward in dog fighting tactics.

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