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The McDonnell Douglas F-15A (later C) Eagle is a large single seat twin-engine air superiority fighter that was developed during the 1970's to replace the F-4 Phantom in the US Air Force in response to the advent of the MiG-25. Since entering service, the F-15 has dominated air combat in the conflicts it has fought in and is credited with 104 air to air kills yet not a single F-15 has been lost. The Eagle was also developed into a potent multi-role strike aircraft for the USAF known as the F-15E Strike Eagle. This version has since formed the basis of a number of bespoke export models for a number of nations. Boeing have recently developed the F-15EX Eagle II which has been acquired by the USAF to replace many of it's aging F-15C Eagles and to supplement the F-22 and F-35 fleets.
The USAF ordered a total of 236 F-15E Strike Eagles as a replacement for the F-111 Aardvark with first deliveries commencing in 1989, the type would see its first combat during the Gulf War two years later. The only F-15Es based outside of the USA are part of the 48th Fighter Wing at RAF Lakenheath. The 48th FW operate two squadrons of Strike Eagles, the 492nd Fighter Squadron who have two nicknames - the Madhatters or the Bolars, plus the 494th Fighter Squadron known as the Panthers.
RAF Lakenheath will be sending at least one F-15E to participate in this year's static display from the 492nd Fighter Squadron.
Photo Credit: Rich Cooper