Biden Praises F-15E Aircrews Who Took Down Several Iranian Drones During Attack On Israel

F-15E Iran
Image created for illustration purposes showing an F-15E firing an AIM-120 AMRAAM (The Aviationist using U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Madeline Herzog)

F-15E Strike Eagles from the 494th and 335th Fighter Squadrons downed several Iranian drones during the recent attack on Israel.

As reported, the Israeli air defenses faced 170 one-way “kamikaze” drones, 120 Medium-Range Ballistic Missiles, and 30 Land-Attack Cruise Missiles during the unprecedented attack launched from Iran alongside Houthi terrorist group in Yemen as well as Iranian-backed proxies in Iraq, on Apr. 14, 2024.

According to the Israeli Defense Forces the surface-to-air air defenses and fighter aircraft achieved a 99% success rate against +300 incoming threats, including Shahed 136 one-way attack drones, Paveh land attack cruise missiles and Emad intermediate range ballistic missiles.

The Israelis were supported by U.S., UK and Jordan, to stop the attacks before they could strike their targets.

Among the U.S. assets that helped defend Israel there were the F-15E Strike Eagles from the 494th Fighter Squadron, from RAF Lakenheath, UK, and the 335th Fighter Squadron, from Seymour Johnson AFB, North Carolina.

The combined “kill score” of the two Strike Eagle squadrons is 70 Iranian drones, according to senior U.S. officials who talked to the media on Apr. 14.

While the Israeli Air Force released photos and videos of its fighter jets returning after successfully intercepting targets showing the F-15I with a mixed loadout which included AIM-7 Sparrow semi-active radar homing missiles and Python 5 and AIM-9L Sidewinder IR-guided missiles, no additional details about the type of weapons used by the F-15Es have been disclosed besides the units they belong to. President Joe Biden posted on X that he spoke with members of the two squadrons to “commend them for their exceptional airmanship and skill in defending Israel from an unprecedented aerial attack by Iran”.

The U.S. Air Forces Central confirmed the deployment of the 494th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron’s F-15E Strike Eagle fighters from RAF Lakenheath in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility on Oct. 13, 2023, to bolster the U.S. posture and enhance air operations throughout the Middle East.

The aircraft deployed to Muwaffaq Salti/Al-Azraq Air Base in Jordan, one of the usual deployment locations for US aircraft in the area. No details about the deployment of the 335th FS were disclosed.

Images of the F-15Es deployed to the CENTCOM area of operations always show the Strike Eagles carrying two AIM-120 AMRAAMs (Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles) and two AIM-9X Sidewinder AAMs (Air-to-Air Missiles) along with a Sniper ATP (Advanced Targeting Pod) and various JDAMs (Joint Direct Attack Munitions), although it is possible that the aircraft were launched with a different/specific loadout considering the need to counter a significant amount of incoming drones.

The F-15E is also equipped with an M61A1 gun on its starboard wing root, aft of the engine inlet that might also been used to shoot down some of the drones.

A U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle soars over an undisclosed location in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility, Nov. 23, 2023. The increased U.S. and coalition force posture throughout the region ensures the U.S. can maintain critical operations to counter terrorist threat networks and potential adversaries while providing support to regional allies and partners during an evolving security situation in the Middle East. (U.S. Air Force Photo)
About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.