Created By: Wings of Eagles Discovery Center
Type: single-seat US Air Force air superiority fighter
Wingspan: 42'10" Length: 63'9"
Gross Weight: 42,206 pounds
Power Plant: Two 23,000+ pound thrust Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-100 turbofans with afterburner
Maximum Speed: 1,650 mph at 60,000'
Service Ceiling: 63,000'
Armament: One fuselage-mounted six-barrel 20mm M61A1 Vulcan cannon. Provisions for up to 12,000 pounds of missiles, bombs, fuel or electronics pods on nine external stations.
What would eventually become the F-15 began on December 18, 1965 when the U.S. Air Force requested proposals for an air superiority fighter, then designed as the F-X, to replace the F-4 Phantom II. On January 1, 1970, McDonnell Douglas was awarded the contract, beating out designs from Fairchild-Hiller and North American.
The prototype F-15 was rolled out of the McDonnell Douglas plant in St. Louis on June 26, 1972 and flown one month later. The huge fixed-wing fighter featured a raised cockpit canopy for improved visibility and integrated system components that greatly simplified maintenance. The Eagle's armament included a rapid-fire cannon for close-in engagements and a flexible assortment of eight Sidewinder and Sparrow air-to-air missiles.
The Eagle's airframe consists of 26.7% titanium, 35.5% aluminum and 37.8% boron-epoxy composites and boasts a relatively low wing loading of 56 pounds per square foot. Its two 23,000+ lb thrust turbofan engines made it the first fighter capable of producing more thrust than its own weight, giving it the power to accelerate in a vertical climb. With this capability, an F-15 known as the "Streak-Eagle" shattered world time-to-climb records in a series of tests at Edwards AFB in 1975.
Since the 1970s the F-15 has served with the US Air Force, several Air National Guard units, the Japan Air Self-Defense Force, the Royal Saudi Air Force and the Israeli Air Force. Both fighter and F-15E "Strike Eagle" attack versions saw extensive use against Iraq during Operation Desert Storm in 1991.
The F-15A on display here, serial number 75-0026, is on loan from the US Air Force. It served with the 1st Fighter Wing at Langley AFB, Virginia between 1976 and 1982, then later with the 325th Fighter Wing at Tyndall AFB, Florida. It has been restored as an F-15C number 83-033 in honor of former 1st Fighter Wing Commander and trustee of what was the National Warplane Museum (Now Wings of Eagles Discovery Center), Lieutenant General David McCloud, who died in 1998 in a civil airplane accident while serving as a Commander at US Air Force Alaskan Air Command.
This point of interest is part of the tour: Wings of Eagles Discovery Center: Outdoor Aircraft Walking Tour