F-15E Strike Eagles took part in the first air strikes in Syria along with stealth F-22 Raptor Jets

Sep 24 2014 - 11 Comments

Not only F-22 Raptors conducted the air strikes on ISIS in Syria. F-15E Strike Eagles took part to the first coalition strike package.

According to the U.S. Air Force, F-15E Strike Eagles were part of the large coalition strike package that was the first to strike ISIS targets in Syria.

The attack planes, that were already taking part in the offensive against terrorist in Iraq, must have been those of the 48th Fighter Wing, from RAF Lakenheath, currently deployed to Al Udeid, Qatar Al Dhafra, UAE.

Although it could be guessed, the opening wave of the air strikes in Syria included a mix of stealth and conventional planes. Among them, there were also F-15E Strike Eagles that, although far from being radar-evading, can carry more weaponry than the F-22s that, according to official sources, employed only two 1,000-lb GBU-32 GPS-guided JDAMs (Joint Direct Attack Munitions).

So, were the F-22s really necessary?

Yes and no.

For sure the air strikes take place well inside an airspace still guarded by Syrian air defense radars and surface to air missile batteries, where Syrian planes involved in their domestic war against rebels, usually operate. Moreover it’s quite difficult to assess the current state of the Syrian air defenses (some equipment was seized by rebels, other systems were probably restored or being restored, others may be in the hands of some groups, etc.) and, considered that it seems these first strikes were not aimed at the Syrian anti-aircraft equipment, it’s safe to say they can still theoretically pose a threat to U.S. and allied airplanes. Do you remember what happened to the Turkish RF-4E shot down by Syrian anti-aircraft artillery fire a couple of years ago?

Even if any sort of reaction by some of these Syrian air defenses was and still is quite unlikely, stealth planes, supported by EW (Electronic Warfare) platforms, could be used to attack targets close to SAM batteries and other dangerous spots.

Hence, the F-22 Raptor stealth fighters were useful because of their ability to enter, mostly undetected, an anti-access target aerea, gather details about the enemy systems with their extremely advanced onboard sensors, escort other unstealthy planes and, last but not least, attack their own targets with JDAMs.

In recent exercises, F-22s flew dual missions that they will probably fly over Syria as well: HVAAE (High Value Air Asset Escort) and air-to-surface, providing the capability to perform an immediate restrike on the same target (or one nearby), if needed.

Moreover, the U.S. has invested a lot in the F-22 Raptor and the U.S. Air Force has worked so much in the last few years to turn the troubled, expensive interceptor into a real multi-role platform that could be eventually used in a real operation.

And it must not be forgotten that recent conflicts have always been a marketing opportunity” to “advertise” and/or test old and new weapons systems; in this case it was also the chance to appease those who criticised the costly stealth plane and the fact it was never used in combat (until yesterday).

Image credit: U.S. Air Force

 

  • Shahryar Hedayati

    another false flag operation…….

    listen kids……. this time is for ISIS

    and as a reminder ….. it was part of good old FSA(freedom fighters OR good terrorist)

    and funded by US-KSA

  • daniel

    Learning how to use this potent weapon is good. Can sneak through the door before it’s knocked down, a heads up for the follow on force .

  • sferrin

    NICE picture. If only it was wallpaper sized. :-(

    • FoilHatWearer

      I went looking all over the net for a larger/higher-rez pic, I couldn’t find one. It’s a bummer. One one website, it gave credit to a military guy in USAF, so I went looking on their official website. No dice there, either, the pic only seems to be on a few news sites. Guess I’ll try back in a few days, maybe the USAF site just hasn’t caught up yet.

  • Locum

    Recently, we have seen that were ISIS is pushed back, with assistance of air strikes. Iranian backed militias are taking over. FSA is rapidly desintegrating, so Assad and Iran will be the winners. Beware of the reaction from the Sunni Gulf states, Saudi Arabia and ISIS.
    Operation Allied Force in 1991 was a phyrrus victory.
    Operation Unified Protector in 2011 too.

  • Petrovic Dusan

    Well,hardly ISIS is of any threat to F-22.And Syrian army has no reason to engage much stronger US which is fighting Syria’s army enemy.
    So they sent F-22 to war which is 150% sure to be won and safe.
    Isn’t it exaggeration to call dropping bombs on terrorists without any serious air defenses “first use in war” of billion dollar super-tech airplane?
    Not the thing to be so proud about,I think.

  • FoilHatWearer

    Seriously, Dave, you’re letting terrorists post on your blog? And my computer just intercepted a virus and an intrusion attempt. Get a handle on your website, dude.

    • cencio4

      There must be either a problem on your side or a false positive; we are protected by a professional Web Application Firewall managed by a dedicated team. This is not an amateurish website…therefore your main risk here is to be banned/blacklisted for your comments rather than getting a virus.

      • FoilHatWearer

        Thanks!