PROGRAMME: First flight of YF-15 27 July 1972; first F-15C (78-468) 26 February 1979; first F-15D 19 June 1979; P&W F100-PW-220 standard since 1985; last of 894 F-15A/B/C/Ds delivered 3 November 1989; production restarted during 1991 to produce five for Israel and 12 for Saudi Arabia; production now concentrated on F-15E (as of 1991).
VARIANTS: F-15A: Initial single-seat version.
F-15B: Initial two-seat operational training version; first flight 7 July 1973.
F-15C: Became standard single-seat production version from June 1979.
F-15D: Standard two-seat production version from June 1979.
F-15E: See separate entry.
F-15J and DJ: Single- and two-seat versions for JASDF; former built by Mitsubishi in Japan.
MSIP: Multi-staged improvement programme, first funded 1983; testing began December 1984; first production MSIP F-15C unveiled 20 June 1985; all other F-15Cs retrofitted. MSIP included AN/APG-70 radar with memory increased to 1,000K and processing speed trebled; central computer capacity multiplied by four and processing speed three times as fast; original armament control system panel replaced by single Honeywell colour video screen which, linked to computer, allows for advanced versions of AIM-7, AIM-9 and AIM-20 AMRAAM. Other improvements include Northrop enhanced AN/ALQ-135 internal countermeasures set, Loral AN/ALR-56C radar warning receiver, Tracor AN/ALE-45 chaff/flare dispenser, and Magnavox electronic warfare warning system. JTIDS Class 2 terminals to be installed from 1992.
Conformal fuel tanks: All F-15Cs fitted to carry two 2,839 litre (750 US gallon; 624 Imp gallon) conformal fuel tanks (CFT) attached to fuselage sides aft of engine intakes; same load factors as main airframe and removable in 15 minutes; CFT can contain reconnaissance sensors, radar detection and jamming equipment, laser designator and low light TV as well as fuel; tangential carriage system includes rows of stub pylons carrying up to twelve 1,000 lb or four 2,000 lb class weapons or AIM-7F Sparrows.
Reconnaissance pod: Centreline conformal reconnaissance pod developed as private venture by McDonnell Douglas and tested during Summer 1987; can transmit imagery via data link to ground stations in near real time.
Follow-on Wild Weasel: Proposed replacement for USAF F-4G Wild Weasel.
CUSTOMERS: Including prototypes, 1,017 F-15A/Bs and C/Ds produced up to November 1989, when production temporarily halted; 366 F-15As, 58 F-15Bs, 409 F-15Cs and 61 F-15Ds for US Air Force; 19 F-15As (plus four ex-USAF), two F-15Bs, 24 F-15Cs and two F-16Ds for Israel Defence Force; 47 F-15Cs and 15 F-15Ds for Royal Saudi Air Force; and two F-15Js and 12 F-15DJs for Japan ASDF. Further 17 to be built in 1991-92, of which nine F-15Cs and three F-15Ds for Saudi Arabia, beginning June 1991 (in addition, USAF transferred 22 F-15Cs and two F-15Ds as emergency aid August 1990); Israel to receive five F-15Ds in 1992. Total production 1,034 (not including Japanese manufacture), plus F-15Es; including FY 1991 contracts, 191 JASDF F-15s ordered from Mitsubishi and McDonnell Douglas.
COSTS: $55.2 million, flyaway, Mitsubishi production in 1990.
DESIGN FEATURES: NACA 64A aerofoil section with conical camber on leading-edge; sweepback 38° 42' at quarter-chord; thickness/chord ratio 6.6 per cent at root, 3 per cent at tip; anhedral 1°; incidence 0°. Twin fins positioned to receive vortex flow off wing and maintain directional stability at high angles of attack. Straight two-dimensional external compression engine air inlet each side of fuselage. Air inlet controllers by Hamilton Standard. Air inlet actuators by National Water Lift.
FLYING CONTROLS: Plain ailerons and all-moving tailplane with dog-tooth extensions, both powered by National Water Lift hydraulic actuators; rudders have Ronson Hydraulic Units actuators, no spoilers or trim tabs, Moog boost and pitch compensator for control column, plain flaps; upward-opening airbrake panel mounted on fuselage between fins and cockpit.
STRUCTURE: Wing based on torque box with integrally machined skins and ribs of light alloy and titanium; aluminium honeycomb wingtips, flaps and ailerons; airbrake panel of titanium, aluminium honeycomb and graphite/epoxy composites skin.
LANDING GEAR: Hydraulically retractable tricycle type, with single wheel on each unit. All units retract forward Cleveland nose and main units, each incorporating an oleo-pneumatic shock absorber. Nosewheel and tyre by Goodyear, size 22 x 6.6-10, pressure 17.93 bars (260 lb/sq in). Mainwheels by Bendix, with Goodyear tyres size 34.5 x 9.75-18, pressure 23.44 bars (340 lb/sq in). Bendix carbon heat-sink brakes. Hydro-Aire wheel braking skid control system.
POWER PLANT: Two Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-220 turbofans, each rated at 105.7 kN (23,770 lb st) with afterburning for take-off. Internal fuel in eight Goodyear fuselage tanks, total capacity 7,836 litres (2,070 US gallons; 1,724 Imp gallons). Simmonds fuel gauge system. Optional conformal fuel tanks attached to side of engine air intakes, beneath wing, each containing 2,839 litres (750 US gallons; 624 Imp gallons). Provision for up to three additional 2,309 litre (610 US gallon; 508 Imp gallon) external fuel tanks. Max total internal and external fuel capacity 20,441 litres (5,400 US gallons; 4,496 Imp gallons).
ACCOMMODATION: Pilot only, on McDonnell Douglas ACES II ejection seat. Stretched acrylic canopy and windscreen. Windscreen anti-icing valve by Dynasciences Corporation.
SYSTEMS: AiResearch air-conditioning system. Three independent hydraulic systems (each 207 bars; 3,000 lb/sq in) powered by Abex engine driven pumps; modular hydraulic packages by Hydraulic Research and Manufacturing Company. Smiths Industries generating system for electrical power, with Sundstrand 40/50kVA generator constant speed drive units and Electro Development Corps transformer-rectifiers. The oxygen system includes a Simmonds liquid oxygen indicator. Garrett APU for engine starting, and for the provision of electrical or hydraulic power on the ground independently of the main engines.
AVIONICS: General Electric automatic analog flight control system standard. Hughes Aircraft AN/APG-63 X-band pulse Doppler radar (upgraded to AN/APG-70 under MSIP), equipped since 1980 with a Hughes Aircraft programmable signal processor, provides long-range detection and tracking of small high-speed targets operating at all altitudes down to treetop level, and feeds accurate tracking information to the IBM CP-1075 96K (24K on early F-15C/Ds) central computer to ensure effective launch of the aircraft's missiles or the firing of its internal gun. For close-in dogfights, the radar acquires the target automatically and the steering/weapon system information is displayed on a McDonnell Douglas Electronics AN/AVQ-20 head-up display. A Teledvne Electronics AN/APX-101 IFF transponder informs ground stations and other suitably equipped aircraft that the F-15 is friendly. It also supplies data on the F-15's range, azimuth, altitude and identification to air traffic controllers. A Hazeltine AN/APX-76 IFF interrogator informs the pilot if an aircraft seen visually or on radar is friendly. A Litton reply evaluator for the IFF system operates with the AN/APX-76. A Honeywell vertical situation display set, using a cathode ray tube to present radar, electro-optical identification and attitude director indicator formats to the pilot, permits inputs received from the aircraft's sensors and the central computer to be visible to the pilot under any light conditions. Honeywell also developed the AN/ASK-6 air data computer and AN/ASN-108 AHRS for the F-15, the latter also serving as a backup to the Litton AN/ASN-109 INS which provides the basic navigation data and is the aircraft's primary attitude reference. In addition to giving the aircraft's position at all times, the INS provides pitch, roll, heading, acceleration and speed information. Other specialised equipment for flight control, navigation and communications includes a Collins AN/ARN-118 Tacan; Collins HSI to present aircraft navigation information on a symbolic pictorial display. Collins ADF and AN/ARN-112 ILS receivers; Magnavox AN/ARC-164 UHF transceiver and UHF auxiliary transceiver. The communications sets have cryptographic capability. Dorne and Margolin glideslope localiser antenna, and Teledyne Avionics angle of attack sensors. Northrop (Defense Systems Division) Enhanced AN/ALQ-135(V) internal countermeasures set provides automatic jamming of enemy radar signals; Loral AN/ALR-56C radar warning receiver; Magnavox AN/ALQ-128 electronic warfare warning set; and Tracor AN/ALE-45 chaff dispenser. Bendix/King tachometer, fuel and oil indicators; Plessey feel trim actuators.
ARMAMENT: Provision for carriage and launch of a variety of air-to-air weapons over short and medium ranges, including our AIM-9L/M Sidewinders, four AIM-7F/M Sparrows or eight AIM-120 AMRAAM, and a 20 mm M61A1 six-barrel gun with 940 rounds of ammunition. General Electric lead-computing gyro. A Dynamic Controls Corporation armament control system keeps the pilot informed of weapons status and provides for their management. Three air-to-surface weapon stations (five if configured with conformal fuel tanks) allow for the carriage of up to 10,705 kg (23,600 lb) of bombs, rockets or additional ECM equipment. AN/AWG-20 armament control system.