F-15 fuel tank washes ashore in the southern Gaza Strip: Hamas claims it is from downed Israeli plane

Nov 27 2012 - 7 Comments

On Nov. 26, a heavily damaged aircraft fuel tank washed ashore near Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip.

Hamas media outlets claim the part comes from an Israeli Air Force plane shot down by militants during operation Pillars of Defense, even if there are few details that could corroborate the allegation.

Image credit: Getty

Surely, the fuel tank looks similar to the characteristic F-15’s auxiliary fuel tanks, hence it might have been jettisoned by one of the planes involved in the 8-day offensive in Gaza.

Fuel tanks are jettisoned by combat planes to reduce weight and drag. Aircraft escaping a heavily defended area or about to engage enemy planes may decide to drop their auxiliary fuel tanks to improve speed and maneverability.

Provided it was really dropped during the recent strikes, it may come from an F-15 targeted by a surface-to-air missile or experiencing an technical failure.

Noteworthy, whereas some planes flying over Gaza flew without external fuel tanks (see image below), many others carried auxiliary tanks  in spite of the relatively short distance of their bases to the area of operation: the latter were most probably involved in long on-call strike missions against targets of opportunity spotted by drones overflying the Strip.

Image credit: Reuters


Enhanced by Zemanta
  • marco

    The F-15 taking off is an air superiority variant with air to ground payload! It’s quite a unique view

  • marco

    It has Conformal Fuel Tanks too. Never seen in US service on a F-15A/B/C/D

  • Lama glama

    There you go Marco:


    In reality the F-15 always had a credible air-to-ground capability. Even early F/15A/B variants had CCIP modes for the AN/APG-63.


  • Alwayswrong

    FAST packs (not just fuel tanks in certain variations) served with the USAF in Iceland and Alaska. IAF uses A-D models for many unconventional tasks, especially the D model. The FAST packs can be seen with jamming equipment and recon gear at times.

    Dropped due to mech issue not to dodge a MANPAD. There simply is no time. Maybe consult someone with aircrew experience instead of throwing guesses out there. Also, the IAF trains over the ocean but you propose it could be from a jet waiting for TST which is highly unlikely as this is not how the IAF operates.

  • Eagles4ever

    Intresting to note on the photo is the blue wiring possibly coming off the end point.

    If it is wiring, just a guess here, means the canon plug got ripped off. Was this an unplanned seperation?

    Need the photo to zoom in on this section to be precise.

  • marco

    Yes, they are configured, but so far I knew about their use in air to ground only when Israel hit the PLO HQ in Tunis back in the ’80ies.

    In US service they rarely fly with CFT and I never seen a pound of AG ordnance on them. With GPS aided bombs they potentially are great bomb trucks.

  • Tim

    There are no wires back there, that’s fishing net.