And military units found it appealing as well. One that’s using it for a name today is the American 494th Fighter Squadron, currently deployed with its fleet of F-15E Strike Eagles to Europe, at RAF Lakenheath in the United Kingdom.
We’ve seen this Panthers unit flying its Eagles before, and we’ll probably continue to do so even more in the coming months, given the increasing tensions over in Europe and America’s need of looking ready for anything.
The first public outing of the Panthers this year comes courtesy of a pic snapped over the North Sea earlier in January, during “routine refueling operations” performed there with the goal of increasing “the readiness and operational capabilities of Royal Air Force Lakenheath’s aircrew.”
The Strike Eagle is one of the U.S. Air Force’s best and most widespread assets currently in use. Some 500 of them have been made since the 1980s (about half are left in active duty with the USAF), and the family is presently being modernized with the arrival of the mighty F-15EX Eagle II.
The Strike Eagle is powered by a pair of Pratt & Whitney turbofan engines that gives it a top speed of 1,875 mph (3,017 km) and makes it one of the fastest military aircraft in existence.
Weapons-wise, the Strike Eagle can carry a six-barrel cannon and an assortment of AIM-9 Sidewinder and AMRAAM missiles.
The price of a single F-15E Strike Eagle is of close to $50 million.