PilotPhotog Podcast

F-15 EX the Eagle II - The Ultimate Eagle?

November 15, 2021 PilotPhotog Season 1 Episode 38
PilotPhotog Podcast
F-15 EX the Eagle II - The Ultimate Eagle?
Show Notes

Let's take a look at what makes the F15EX Eagle II the Ultimate Eagle:
The F-15 Eagle is the embodiment of the air superiority fighter, having been in continuous service with the US Air Force for nearly 50 years.  A fighter with an unprecedented 100+ to zero kill ratio, the F15 was made even better by the introduction of the two seat long range strike fighter version known as the F15E Strike Eagle.  Today the F15E is the most requested asset for Middle East Combat operations - the reason? Loiter or on station time: The Strike Eagle can carry as much fuel as its empty weight.  To put that in context the F15E can carry as much fuel as the total weight of a fully fueled F16!  Along with this, the Strike Eagle has a Weapons System officer or WSO which acts as another brain and set of eyes in the cockpit.  The WSO has various dedicated standardized roles, for example during close air support missions, the WSO exclusively uses the targeting pod, freeing up the pilot and minimizing the time to kill chain.  Another example is when a Strike Eagle pilot is busy refueling, the WSO can receive and copy an interdiction message from a JTAC controller on the ground, something that would be impossible in a single pilot cockpit.  The Strike Eagle also makes use of one of the best Active Electronically Scanned Array or AESA radars in service.  The F15E's AN/APG-82 AESA radar represents a continuous evolution of the F15's sensor suite, providing unprecedented situational awareness, jamming capabilities, and range.  The F15's large size is an asset here, allowing it to fit a much larger and more potent radar sensor package than would be possible to fit in smaller fighters. Additionally the Strike Eagle makes use of a built-in satellite radio, allowing it to communicate over the horizon to critical nodes or assets.
Keep in mind everything mentioned so far has been about the existing F15E Strike Eagles, now let's get into what makes the EX version so special, and why it's a win-win for the USAF.

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