The F-15 was developed as an air-to-air weapon. Conceived in the 1960s, it was built by McDonald Douglas. The first jet came off the production line in 1972. But the first aircraft was not delivered to the United States Air Force until 1974, too late to be a factor in the Viet Nam War.
Designated "Eagle", this fighter was designed to achieve air superiority by "mixture of maneuverability and acceleration, range, weapons and avionics". Only one person is necessary to fly and fight the aircraft. Besides its sophisticated radar and communications systems, it has heads-up display that allows the pilot to see where he is going even as he tracks enemy targets and operates the weapons systems.
The F-15 Eagle has a two jet engines that provide a tremendous amount of thrust in comparison with the weight of the craft. Also the wing area is designed to easily maneuver the craft in a hostile environment. The jet can carry air-to-air missiles and is mounted with a 20 millimeter Gattling gun that carries over 900 rounds. Besides its speed and maneuverability, the F-15 can use decoys to defend against incoming missiles.
In the early 1990s the F-15 Eagle ended its tour in the active duty U.S. Air Force and was transferred to reserve status where it has done yeoman's duty as an air defense platform. The F-15 has been built in several different configurations. The F-15A and F-15B are air to air fighters. The F-15C was an upgrade of the aircraft. The F-15D was given an extra seat and became a training aircraft. The F-15E is a modified version used for air-to-ground operations.
The F-15C, D and E were all used during Dessert Storm in Kuwait and Iraq in 1991 and were thought to be a very effective fighting tool. The aircraft scored 26 kills without a single loss. This weapon has proved so effective that the U.S. government has been very sparing in allowing other nations to order the aircraft. Currently, it is in the arsenal of Japan, Israel and Saudi Arabia.
Interesting Link: F-15 Eagle Woodkit