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F-15C Eagle Hot Takeoff Marks the End of an Era

Caught up in plans to revamp the aging fleet of airplanes it uses, the U.S. Air Force still has to rely on decades-old machines to conduct its business. One of these machines is the four decades-old F-15C Eagle.
F-15C Eagle taking off from the Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada 18 photos
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Born in the McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) hangars close to five decades ago, the F-15 is one of the most present fighter planes in the skies of the world, with over 1,100 of them being deployed at the moment in several variants.

The F-15C, a family the plane we have in the main pic of this piece is part of, is of the battle-tested variety, having been deployed, among others, during Operation Desert Storm in the 1990s, being responsible for 34 of the 37 air-to-air wins against Iraqi forces.

For them to be able to achieve this, pilots need to be properly trained, of course, and that’s partially the job of the USAF Weapons School. Based at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada and assigned to the 57th Wing, the unit teaches graduate-level instructor courses.

The F-15C we have here, depicted at it was taking off from one of the runways of the said airbase, afterburners burning hot to the point they make a mess of the air behind, was on its way to “conduct its final defensive counter air vul during Weapons School Integration” at the beginning of December.

According to the military branch, “this class marks the final F-15C Weapons Instructor Course to be taught at the United States Air Force Weapons School,” making this image one of the last to show the plane on such a mission.

At the time of writing, the American military is pondering the retirement of the F-15, with no direct successor planned. Word is the USAF will instead focus on using the F-16, which provides pretty much the same capabilities, but costs less to operate.

As usual when it comes to military hardware, phasing out the plane will probably take years, so expect to see more of these in action in the near future.

Editor's note: Gallery shows various F-15 variants.

 
 
 
 
 

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