The image was captured by Senior Airman Taylor Solberg, and shows the Eagle shortly after takeoff at Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota. The plane, deployed with the 333rd Fighter Squadron, was taking part in mid-July in a Combat Raider exercise meant to “train various aircrews in high-end, realistic scenarios supporting a full range of operations.”
Born more than four decades ago as the F-15 Eagle, the (now) Boeing-made fighter aircraft is described in its most recent configuration, Strike Eagle, as an affordable, low-risk solution meant to deliver “more payload to the fight, more speed to target and more range than any fighter in the world.”
In numbers we can all understand, the Eagle comes with speeds of up to 1,875 mph (3,017 kph), achieved thanks to the pair of Pratt & Whitney engines it is equipped with.
The plane can generally carry a wide range of weapons, to be used depending on the role of the winged machine (air-to-air or air-to-ground). These weapons can be missiles, bombs, cannons, and all sorts of other ammunitions.
As for the unit flying the star plane of this piece, the 333rd Fighter Squadron was established 1957. The unit’s main role is to conduct advanced fighter training, and over the years it fielded North American Super Sabres, Republic Thunderchiefs, and even A-10 Thunderbolts. The squadron’s main toy today is the F-15E Strike Eagle.