The F-15's an absolute marvel that's patrolled the skies since the 1970s. And in those 40+ years, there's never been an incident of one being shot down. It's true. What's also true is that the jet can hit an altitude of 100,000 feet in less time than it'll take you to read through this article.
Here are 17 things you didn't know about the F-15.
1. The F-15 can fly at Mach 2.5
That’s roughly 1,900 mph.
2. With its afterburners on, it has nearly 60,000 pounds of thrust
The engine is the same as you'll find in the F-16, but the F-15 uses two of them.
3. The F-15 can take off almost vertically
It has more thrust than weight, so it can fly straight up basically at will, from the moment it achieves lift.
4. Which makes it one hell of a climber In 1975, it established a world record by going from a standstill on the ground to an altitude of nearly 100,000 feet in under three and a half minutes.
5. The “mafia” was involved in the politics surrounding its design
A group called the Fighter Mafia was essentially an insider military lobby that desperately wanted Uncle Sam to develop powerful, small, and maneuverable jet fighters in the 1960s.
6. It was the ultimate air superiority weapon The fundamental principles around which it was designed are light weight and tons of power, so it could handle any aircraft the Soviets threw at it.
7. Over 100 F-15s were made in Japan
Mitsubishi was allowed to build ‘em as part of an agreement with Japan.
8. The F-15's on-board cannon can fire up to 6,600 rounds per minute
The M-61 Vulcan has actually been on a lot of US warplanes. Doesn't matter, still badass.
9. However, it doesn't really need a cannon because it was one of the first planes that can kill you before you see it
The radar can track multiple enemies well over 100 miles away.
10. The F-15 is the only aircraft to shoot down a satellite
True story. In the mid 1980s, an anti-satellite missile was tested using the F-15 as a high-altitude launching point. It actually did take one out, but the program was discontinued.
11. It can also launch satellites DARPA is currently testing a plan to send small satellites into orbit using the F-15 to get a launching system to high altitude.
12. The first official kills the F-15 had came from the Israelis
Israeli Air Force pilots took down a slew of Soviet-built MiG-21s and a couple MiG-25s over Lebanon in 1979.
13. Its lifetime record is over 100-0 Most of the planes it’s shot down have been Russian/Soviet in origin, and over half of those were by the IAF. No one's ever shot one down, though.
14. A quartet of F-15s were instrumental in taking out Iraq’s nuclear reactor in 1981
The F-15 was so good at air superiority that Israel used four of them as cover, to protect four F-16s assigned to dive bomb Iraq’s Osirak reactor.
15. During the first Gulf War, an F-15 managed to bomb a chopper straight out of the sky
The exact plane shown here used a laser-guided bomb to hit an Iraqi helicopter mid-air. Kinda brings a new dimension to the phrase “death from above."
16. The F-15E can fly mere feet off the ground, even at night
It's equipped with special ground sensing radar/infrared units that enable pilots to fly at night at ultra-high speeds and startlingly low altitudes.
17. The F-15 can fly with one wing if it absolutely has to
A mid air collision over Israel knocked the wing clear off of pilot Zivi Nedivi’s plane, and he still somehow managed to land the damn thing. It was apparently still so stable he didn't realize the wing was completely gone until after he landed. See him talk about it here.