The McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle is the undisputed king of fighter aircraft, scoring around 105 kills for zero losses in air-to-air combat.
Originally designed as a pure air superiority machine to replace the multi-role F-4 Phantom II, the Eagle has since morphed into one of the most technologically advanced fighter-bombers in its class: the Strike Eagle.
First taking to the air in 1972 and entering service in 1976, around 1600 F-15s have been built for six air forces around the world. Fast and agile but also large and expensive, only the wealthiest nations could afford the F-15.
With almost 40 years of combat operations to its credit, the Eagle has been at the very sharp end since entering service. The Cold War saw the Eagle as the defensive tip of the spear for the Free World, while the Israelis blooded the Eagle in the Middle East when they first took delivery in 1979. Since then both fighter and strike versions have been in almost constant action, through Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom and beyond in the war against terror. The story of the F-15 Eagle continues.
Reviewer's Comments of the Contents
The book's author covers a lot of information in great detail in this publication, and rather that note every topic covered I decided to offer brief comments on he content with the intention that readers buy the publication for a true appreciation of its content. This is a very, very informative read and can only be appreciated in its original form. Well worth purchasing.
This is a brief synopsis of the content.
- Air Superiority as all costs. Here the author offers insight to the history of "air superiority" from the skies of World war I to the recent Desert Storm operation. Air superiority was driven by tactics and technology, and sometime politics. The restrictive rules of engagment during the Korean conflict and the Viet Nam wars were eventually changed and allowed fighter pilots to do their jobs and attain air superiority over their opponents. This chapter is a worthwhile read. This chapter concludes with a full page of the history of the original Eagle: the Fisher XP-75, an aircraft that never saw service. Page 20 includes a color image of a bubble canopy, natural metal finish XP-75.
- Fledging Fighter. The development of the F-15 is covered in this chapter. Starting with Robert McNamara and his influence in the development of weapons for the US Military. The TFX program, the F-111 proposed for both the Air Force and the Navy, the A-4 Skyhawk's replacement, the highs and lows, the failures and sucesses of these designs are discussed in detail. The influence of the Soviet Union's development of modern aircraft is noted. This chapter is concluded with the design and components for the F-15, the radar and weapons considerations. The design of the cockpit along with a detailed description of the control column and throttle. The engine choice is covered as are the 3/8th scale models ($250,000 cost per model) and how the model was used to test the real aircraft's abilities without risk to test pilots or the real aircraft.
- Into service. Here real life capabilities and short-comings of the initial designs were determined, addressed and resolved. The A/B and the C/D models are discussed. The Streak Eagle's mission is covered in detail.
Stories from several test pilots are included and make for interesting reading.
- Export Eagles. The all new F-15 Eagle would have been a logical choice in the export market for America's allies as a replacement for the F-4 Phantom in the late 1970's, but only a few customers could initially afford to pay for the "pure" fighter version. This chapter offers insight into how the Eagle was evaluated and purchased by Isreal and other allies. It is interesting how the Israeli Air Force (IAF) showed some initial interest in the F-14 Tomcat as their air superiority fighter. Mock combats flown by IAF pilots between the F-14 and A-4's resulted often in a draw. That fact along with the high cost of the Tomcat pointed the IAF toward the F-15. Other countries such a Japan, South Korea and Saudi Arabia also showed interest in the Eagle, resulting in purchases and license to build the aircraft and components.
- Building the Beagle. Although the F-15 Eagle was originally conceived as a single-seat air superiority fighter the need for a two-seat trainer was also in the works. If the Eagle could fight air-to-air, why not air-to-ground? This chapter offers background in the development of the F-15E Strike Eagle.
- The Eagle air-to-air. The rubber hits the road in this chapter. Air combat engagements by the IAF and USAF is provided in detail here, with combat missions described first hand, and the opposing aircraft and tactics covered in detail. Personal accounts by the pilots directly involved in the missions are included. An account with black and white images of the IAF Eagle with one wing is covered here, along with a detailed description of the accident that resulted in the damage. All that is included is pretty strong evidence that the Eagle met its design and mission requirements, and beyound.
- Air-to-ground in the Eagle. It was not long after the F-15E Strie Eagle sent into service with the USAF when the call to action was made. The F-15E had matured into perhaps the finest multirole fighter bomber ever to see combat. Again combat missions flown by the USAF F-15E Strike Eagles are presented in action-packed detail.
- The eyrie. F-15 prototypes, research, test and record breakers are covered in this chapter, including the F-15 STOL versions and the "Quiet Spike". Color images of many of the aircraft are included
- The F-15 today. The F-15 lives on today in its original models, with upgrades to the weapons, radars, avionics and airframe. The new Eagle II is entering service with the USAF in mission support to the F-22 and the F-35. This chapter is an informative read on the future of the Eagle.
This is a very nicely done, high quality publication, well written and informative. The text is comprehensive and the images are superb. This will make a very nice addition to the aircraft enthusiast's reference library. I really enjoyed the time spent on this review.
Highly recommended for the presentation and content. At $22.99 this is a great value for the money. Impressive content over all. This publication offers the reader a wealth of information and history that went behind the need for the Eagle, as well as the development and continuing upgrades of the various components. This certain wil provide incentive to build a scale model of any version of the F-15 Eagle.
Many thanks to IPMS/USA and Casemate Publisher for the opportunity to review this publication.