Tag Archives: F-15C

USAF F-15C Eagle Down Off Kadena, Japan: Pilot Rescued.

Condition of Pilot Unknown Following Rescue. It’s the sixth USAF crash since the beginning of 2018.

A USAF F-15C Eagle belonging to the 18th Wing at Kadena AB, Okinawa has crashed into the ocean off Okinawa, Japan, at approximately 0640 Hrs. Monday morning, June 11, 2018 Okinawa local time. According to the Japan Times the aircraft went down about 80 km south of Naha, capital of the Okinawa prefecture.

Reports indicate the pilot ejected from the aircraft prior to impact. The pilot was rescued at sea following his ejection by a Japanese Self-Defense Force helicopter. The condition of the single aircrew onboard the F-15C Eagle has not been released.

The 18th Wing at Kadena AFB is home to two F-15C/D Eagle fighter squadrons, the 44th Fighter Squadron, the “Vampire Bats” and the 67th Fighter Squadron, the “Fighting Cocks”. It is unclear which squadron the F-15C involved in Monday’s crash came from.

In an earlier incident five years ago on May 28, 2013, another USAF F-15C Eagle crashed off Kadena. In that crash, an investigation revealed that;

“The cause of the accident was the aircraft failing to respond to the pilot’s flight control inputs due to a failure in the aircraft’s hydro-mechanical flight control system. Additionally, the Pitch Roll Channel Assembly provided inputs to the flight control surfaces not commanded by the aircraft pilot. The investigation also found by a preponderance of evidence that the pilot had limited time for malfunction analysis and a lack of simulator emergency procedure training for the malfunction in the hydro-mechanical flight control system also substantially contributed to the accident.”

In the 2013 accident the pilot also ejected from the aircraft and survived. Obviously there is currently no evidence that the two crashes are related. The cause of the accident Monday morning in Okinawa is unknown pending an official USAF investigation.

In November of 2007, all USAF F-15 aircraft were grounded after a Missouri Air National Guard F-15C came apart in flight and crashed on November 2, 2007. The 2007 accident was found to be a result of a defect in the aircraft’s upper right longeron. The upper right longeron is a structural component in the fuselage that provides strength to the area where the cockpit and the fuselage meet. Following the November, 2007 crash, a January 10, 2008 report indicated that nine additional F-15s were found to have similar structural problems. The failure of the upper right fuselage longeron originated from a defect in manufacturing according to the official report.

At the time of the 2007 incident, a story filed by USAF Staff Sgt. J.G. Buzanowski quoted USAF (then) Col. William Wignall, head of the accident investigation as saying that, “We’ve had great involvement from Boeing during the investigation. In fact, they’re the ones who determined the longeron was the problem. This was then confirmed by the Air Force Research Laboratory.”

But USAF General John D.W. Corley, then-commander of Air Combat Command, went on to report in 2007 that, “The difficulty is that issues have been found with F-15s built between 1978 and 1985, across A through D models at several bases, so no one source of the problem can be isolated. This isn’t just about one pilot in one aircraft with one bad part. I have a fleet that is 100 percent fatigued, and 40 percent of that has bad parts. The long-term future of the F-15 is in question.”

In April of 2018, Boeing was awarded a modification to an existing contract for F-15 modernization that includes an upgrade to the Raytheon AN/APG-82(V) radar. According to a Defense Industry Daily report the contract called for, “Work on 29 Group A and Group B kits, spares, fuel tanks and other equipment and services.” The upgrade contract was valued at $187M USD. It is unclear if any part of the new contract applies to structural elements of the F-15 Eagle.

The McDonnell-Douglas/Boeing F-15C Eagle is a twin-engine, single seat air superiority fighter first flown in 1972. The aircraft is in service with several air forces including the U.S., Japan, Saudi Arabia and Israel. The F-15C Eagle and the two-seat variants including the F-15E Strike Eagle, have been extremely successful combat aircraft with an impressive record in operational use.

The F-15C crash on Jun. 11 is the sixth U.S. Air Force (eleventh U.S. military aviation) since the beginning of the year. The most recent ones involved a WC-130H from the 156th Airlift Wing from Puerto Rico ANG that crashed near Chatham City, Georgia on May 2, 2018, causing 9 deaths and a T-38 that crashed 9 miles north of the city of Columbus on May 23, 2018. In the latter event, the pilots managed to eject.

Top image: File Photo of an F-15C Eagle as it releases flares. (Credit: Tom Demerly/TheAviationist)

 

Here Are The First Photos Of The U.S. Air Force F-16C And F-15C Jets And KC-135 Tankers Returning To Aviano After Tonight’s Mission

U.S. Air Force jets provided cover to both the bombers and the warships involved in the first wave of air strikes on Syria. Here are some interesting shots of the aircraft returning home after their “escort” mission.

As already explained, the “limited air strikes” launched early in the morning on Apr. 14 were supported by several tankers and also by fighter aircraft whose task was likely to cover the fighter bombers and the warships firing their Tomahawks from the eventual threat of Russian aircraft launched from Khmeimim air base, near Latakia, in western Syria.

The aircraft tasked with ensuring air superiority and DCA (Defensive Counter Air) were 31FW F-16Cs, from Aviano AB, Italy, and 48FW F-15Cs, based at RAF Lakenheath but deployed alongside the Vipers at Aviano. They were supported by KC-135R tankers with the 100th ARW from RAF Mildenhall. The shots in this post, taken by photographer Claudio Tramontin outside Aviano today, show the aircraft loaded with AIM-120C AMRAAM and AIM-9X air-to-air missiles along with external fuel tanks. Interestingly, the Vipers carried also a AN/ALQ-131 ECM pod as well as the Sniper ATP (Advanced Targeting Pod). Pilots worn the JHMCS (Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing Sight) and NVG mounts.

An F-16C from 555th FS recovers to Aviano AB.

493rd FS F-15C about to land after taking part in the raids providing air cover.

The first package included 4x F-16Cs, 4x F-15Cs and 2x KC-135s (plus other tankers along the way); the second one included 3x F-16Cs and 4x F-15Cs.

Image credit: Claudio Tramontin

Six U.S. Air Force F-15C Eagle jets have just arrived in Turkey

The U.S. Air Force has deployed air superiority planes near Syria.

Six F-15C Eagle jets, belonging to the 493rd Fighter Squadron of the 48th Fighter Wing, from RAF Lakenheath, UK, have just deployed to Incirlik airbase, in Turkey.

According to the U.S. Air Force, the air superiority planes were moved close to Syria “in a demonstration of the United States unwavering support for Turkish sovereignty and the collective security of the region.”

Furthermore, the USAFE-AFAFRICA F-15s, pure air superiority aircraft not used for ground attack missions, “were deployed after the Government of Turkey requested support in securing the sovereignty of Turkish airspace.”

Although the Eagles will theoretically be used to secure the Turkey-Syria border that is violated by Syrian and Russian planes every now and then, the decision to move 6 or more (according to some sources, up to 12) F-15s near Syria seems to be aimed at flexing the muscles against the Russians that have been quite active in western Syria since Moscow launched its first air strikes against terrorists at the end of September.

Some media outlets speculated the F-15Cs, world’s most successful combat-proven dogfighters (that have recently taken part in an exercise in Israel and earlier this year in Turkey), will be used against the Russian combat planes if these fly a bit too close with the U.S. and coalition aircraft conducting air strikes in Syria but this seems to be a bit far-fetched at this stage: they will probably provide air cover to the A-10s, Special Forces support assets etc, without interfering with their Russian counterparts to avoid risky close encounters. Unless this is strictly required.

Image credit: U.S. Air Force