Plane Elements in Tactical Surface Fighters; F-15 Eagle

The F-15 Eagle was designed to be successor to the F-4. As such, the F-15 needed to be an all-weather, high manoeuvrable fighter that would keep the US Air Force at the top in air superiority. The F-15 had a legacy to stand up to.

F-15A made its first flight in 1972, and two years later the first USAF F-15B Eagle was delivered for service. Early 1976 saw the first front-line combat squadron delivery, and things carried on from there. However, the F-15’s first fight was not with USAF, but with exporter Israel who shot down four Syrian MiG-21s in June 1977.

The F-15 is probably fighter with the best combat record, with 100.5 victories over zero losses. This record is mostly due to the fighter’s maneuverability combined with high acceleration, work range, advanced avionics and range of weapons.

With two Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-100 turbofans that allow 11 340kg of afterburner thrust, the F-15 is a nimble and relatively low profile fighter with maximum take-off weight at 25 402kg, achieving maximum speed of 2 655km/h rather easily. Mainly armed with the N61A1 20mm Vulcan cannon in the fuselage, the F-15 can carry four AIM-7 Sparrows, AIM-9 Sidewinder AAMs and loads of other options up to 7 267kg ranging from rockets, missiles and bombs with its five hardpoints. With a range of 966km and ceiling of 19.2km that can be climbed in 15.25km/s, the F-15 was extremely well equipped.

It also helped that the F-15 had a low wing load and with the low weight-to-thrust ratio, the fighter is capable of doing sharp turns without losing airspeed. Another thing that helped was that the D-15’s avionics were superb for their time and are still serviceable. HUD on the windscreen displayed all necessary information and was visible in any light conditions. Due to its position, the fighter had no need to look down to the instruments for additional information. The radar that would provide the information was a versatile pulse-Doppler radar capable of doing pretty much any sort of tracking the fighter needs. The electronic warfare with the F-15 provided both threat warning as well as automatic countermeasures against selected threats.

The F-15 was initially a single-seat fighter with a TF-15 as the twin-seat variant, and these designations were changed to F-15A and F-15B after the first flight. In 1978, single-seat F-15C and two-seat F-15D models entered production. Furthermore, F-15 Multistage Improvement Programme was enacted in early 1983, with first F-15Cs produced in 1985. Upgrades included a new central computer for new versions of AIM-7, AIM-9 and AIM-120A missiles, and expanded radar functions. Existing Eagles were retrofitted with these improvements, unifying the fleet as a whole.

During the Gulf War, the F-15 Eagles were the deadliest thing in the air. When Operation Desert Shield was put into action, U.S. Central Command deployed F-15C/D Eagles into air within hours, and forty-eight Eagles made the longest fighter deployment in history between 14-17 hours of nonstop flight from Langley to Dhahran. When the situation went from defence to offence to remove Saddam Hussein’s forces from Kuwait, the air was effectively dominated by Colonel Richard Parsons’ 58th Tactical Squadron The Gorrillas, which were running on Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-220 low-bypass turbofans at this point, further pushing the fighter’s speed. On the first night of the war, USAF F-15s kept shooting down numerous MiGs, including MiG-29 Fulcrums. It bears to repeat; during all of Gulf War’s operations, F-15 simply dominated the air.

The F-15 saw an upgraded version with F-15E Strike Eagle. The F-15E was envisioned to be a replacement to F-111 Aardvark and to support the existing F-15. To oppose the F-15 role as air superiority fighter, the F-15E was a ground attacker. Its basic airframe is the same with internals changed for what is essentially a multi-role fighter. It can fight its way into enemy lines, bombs its target and fight its way back. Just like how the F-15 has been imported, the F-15E has seen exported by the different countries.

It would seem that the story of F-15 is about to end. In 2015, the F-15C faces cuts or retirement due to sequestration, and the willingness to push the F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning II as its successor. It is proposed that the F-15C fleet would remain at 51 aircraft even with the introduction of the aforementioned advanced fighters. Here’s a list what F-15 might need to go through in order to be completely viable in the future.

In Muv-Luv, the F-15 is dubbed the strongest 2nd generation TSF due to its performance and track record.

The initial need for superior TSF to fight the BETA comes from the failure of Operation Palaiologos, where NATO and Warsaw Pact tried to attack the Minks Hive, but after numerous attempts at capturing it during the following months, the BETA amassed a counter attack after Soviet’s failed 43rd Tactical Armoured Division’s failure to assault the Hive, leading both NATO’s and Warsaw Pact’s lines to be completely broken and allowing the BETA to advance further into Europe. The combat data and Volk Data gathered from this didn’t just launch the F-15 series, but also the Rafale and EF-2000.

The US department saw that the largest threat to the TSFs was the Laser-class, as over half of the units were lost to their fire. Increasing armour would not be an option, as the rest of the strains would simply destroy the units if they were heavier. Mobility and manoeuvrability   became the goals of the new TSF-X project as opposed to F-4’s armour. The F-15 mirrors its real world counterpart in having great weight-to-thrust ratio, advanced avionics and pioneered Operation by Wire further. It’s build is simple with optional hardpoints or weapon bays allows it to care spare ammo magazines or CIWS-1As in Blade Sheaths.

Unlike the real world counterpart, TSF F-15A entered service in 1984, which was rushed out rather than wait for the technology to mature. Only few years later the F-15 series saw its proper performance with upgraded fuel cells and Jump Unit engines, and upgraded avionics with F-15C. It wouldn’t take much to assume all existing F-15s went through these upgrades, much like how they did in real life.

Japan has its own F-15 variant in the F-15J, or Type-89 Kagerou. On the outside, nothing changed, but under the hood, the Kagerou saw large changes in order to accommodate Japan’s close combat doctrine.

F-15E on the other hand essentially an upgrade to F-15C instead a supplementing fighter. F-15E had completely overhauled insides, meaning that it looks the same from the outside, but out-performs its previous variants to the point of standing up to a Type-94 Shiranui without any problems.

Generally speaking, F-15s have basic armaments that all TSFs carry in their respective armies during respective time periods. This includes the Type-74 PB Blade for the Japanese variant. Outside the F-15 ACTV Active Eagle, all F-15 variants share the same basic outer frame (i.e. they all share the same sprites and CG resources), and as such in this comparison will use TSF F-15E Strike Eagle and base F-15 Eagle fighter. If we ever see the base F-15, then I’ll just rework this one.

Let’s get to the meat. You’re not here to read my ramblings on fighter history, you’re here for the design comparison.

 

F-15 EAgle
And the image board variant as per usual. We’re starting to run out of these. Click for larger size

The F-15 seems to be a repetition of the Tomcat in terms of what was lifted from the fighter itself is lacking. There are no real soft and curved shapes like on the fighter’s back, as most of the shapes in the torso and shoulders are straight. The nozzles on the shoulders would’ve been an excellent spot to curve things up a bit, but straight lines were used to make a hexagon casing. You can see that they have a slight slope to them on the back-view image, but most of the time it’s almost like they just straightened it out.

The torso really is a missed opportunity, as nothing has been lifted from the fighter itself. It is largely original, and the only thing that remotely resembles anything from the fighter are those round bits near the shoulder joints. Their general position looks like that of the fans in the intakes, relative to the head if it was the cockpit.

The arms have a softer look to them, but re really just straight lines. They’re generic TSF arms with no real elements from the fighter. Just like the legs, they’re more or less inspired by the fighter in some ways. The strangest bit out of them all is the vaguely hourglass shaped knees under the kneeguards. Unlike the sideskirt armour that’s just the top of the intake, the knees have no place in the fighter. Most likely they were done for the sake of the design.

Speaking of the legs, they display simplicity the fighter also carries. There’s nothing out-of-place or special about them. Just straightforward legs with no bells and whistles. The F-15 is supposed to be no-bullshit design after all, so maybe this sort of slightly angular simplistic look is supposed to drive that idea in. And of course, you have the fighter’s nose as the ischium, as per usual.

However, the must unusual thing about this is the Jump Units. They’re run-of-the-mill most of the time, but the nozzles it has looks like they’re from a pre-production F-15 STOL/MTD that has 2D nozzles. The usual nozzles are round, but these are flat. This would’ve been a really nice spot to use further from the base F-15, especially with the round shapes, but no dice.

There’s nothing much else to say. It’s the idea and role that carried over the real life F-15 rather than its sleek and aggressive shapes. This TSF just went lanky instead of those. It would seem that America’s TSFs are governed by straight lines most of the time and it shows. Maybe I’ll change to Japanese TSFs next time and go over how Mitsubishi F-2 served as a sort of inspiration for XJF-01a Shiranui 2nd Phase 2.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s