Today, 48 years ago, the McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle takes flight for the first time

In the hype of the Cold War, both the USA and USSR were designing as many weapons as they could. The USSR had introduced the MiG-25 a few years earlier. This was USSR’s top secret fighter.
A MiG-25. Credit.

The US had only seen this fighter with satelite images and had no idea of what was its specific porpouse. The large wings and engines made US intelligence think it was a highly manouverable, very fast air superiority fighter (when in reality it was a very fast interceptor. The large wings were needed because the aircraft was very heavy).

The fear of the MiG-25 lead the US to develop a completely new generation of fighters, now known as 4th geneartion fighters. The first of these was the Grumman F-14 Tomcat. The Tomcat was designed to be US Navy’s supreme fighter. Equipped with a powerful AWG-9 radar, it could detect bombers at long distances.

USAF didn’t want to lag behind and be stuck with aging F-4s and quickly followed the Navy. The result is the highly sucessful F-15 Eagle. Unlike its Navy counterpart, that was exported only to Iran, the Eagle was exported to many countries, such as Saudi Arabia, Japan and Israel. The F-14 left the Navy in 2006, but the Eagles will fly with the USAF well into the 2030s, when they’ll be slowly replaced by F-35s.


Interesting read, thanks for posting! Before this I didn’t know too much about the F-15.

I feel quite sad that few people here are interested in military

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I didn’t know it was built to counter the Mig 25. Thats not a surprise though I guess considering the Mig 25 was basically built around the engines. Basically a rocket.

The US obviously wouldn’t want to lose on the fighter market. Interestingly the USSR would later on build the Su-27, which is basically their F-15.

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