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US Top Gun pilot flies the Welsh dragon in cockpit of F-15E Strike Eagle

The F-15 Eagle is an American twin-engine, all-weather tactical fighter aircraft designed by McDonnell Douglas, now Boeing, in 1972. 

It entered service in 1976 and is among the most successful fighter jets in production today, with no losses in aerial combat. 

The F-15 has a laser designator which can lock in a target 10 miles away, while also having LANTIRN (Low Altitude Navigation and Targeting Infrared for Night) which is beneficial for attacking on the ground.

It has space for a pilot and weapon systems manager. In the rear cockpit there are four screens displaying information from the radar, infrared sensors and weapons status, along with others. 

The aircraft is predominantly used by the US Air Force as well as the air forces of Saudi Arabia, Israel and Japan.

Each model costs around £21million ($28million) and the aircraft has been modified and improved over the years with different variants now used around the world, including the faster F-15E Strike Eagle. 

A pair of United States Air Force F-15 Strike Eagle fighter jets are pictured over the English Channel

As of 2018, the aircraft is being produced in different variants with production set to end in 2022.

At a glance:

Crew: One pilot

Length: 63ft 9ins (19.43m)

Wingspan: 42ft 10ins (13.05m)

Height: 18ft 6ins (5.63m)  

Max takeoff weight: 68,000lbs (30,845kg) 

Engines: 2 Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-100 or −220 afterburning turbofans 

Max speed: Mach 2.5+ (1,650mph) 

Max altitude: 65,000ft (20,000m) 

Armament: One 20mm (0.787in) M61A1 Vulcan 6-barrel Rotary cannon, four AIM-7 Sparrow missiles, four AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles, eight AIM-120 AMRAAM missiles 


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