Armour Collection B11B242 USAF McDonnell F-15E Strike Eagle Fighter-Bomber - 336th Fighter Squadron, Operation Desert Storm, 1991 (1:48 Scale)
"Obsolete weapons do not deter."
- British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
It's the fighter pilot's dream. The McDonnell Douglas F-15 is fast, amazingly agile and climbs like a rocket. It can "zoom-climb" to an astonishing altitude of 98,400 feet, and reach its normal operating ceiling of 59,000 feet -- flying at two-and-a-half times the speed of sound -- in just two minutes. With the best combat radar in the world, it can detect and destroy enemies way beyond the pilot's visual range. Despite its huge size, the F-15's maneuverability makes it a ferocious dogfighter when the encounters get close and dirty. That's why nearly 100 enemy aircraft have fallen victim to the F-15, while no Eagle has ever been lost in aerial combat.
Pictured here is a stunning 1:48 scale diecast replica of a F-15E Strike Eagle assigned to the 336th Fighter Squadron. The 336th undertook tactical bombing missions in the Persian Gulf during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
Historical Account: "Strike While the Iron is Hot" - The F-15E was thrown into action when Iraq invaded Kuwait in August 1990. The 335th Tactical Fighter Squadron "Chiefs" and 336th Tactical Fighter Squadron "Rocketeers" were given orders to prepare for deployment one week after the invasion. The 336th began their flight to Seeb Air Base in Oman, a 15 hour flight. Though mission-ready, the F-15Es were not cleared to carry the needed munitions to counter a possible Iraqi attack on Saudi Arabia; they were cleared to carry only the 500lb Mark 82 bomb and 2000lb Mark 84 bomb. Cluster bombs are the preferred weapon when attacking vehicles, and these had not been fully tested from all weapon stations on the Strike Eagle.
During training operations in Oman, one F-15E (336th) was lost on September 30 in a mock dogfight against Royal Air Force Jaguar GR.1s that resulted in the deaths of the pilot and WSO.
In December, the two F-15E squadrons were moved closer to Iraq, and deployed to Al Kharj Air Base in Saudi Arabia.
On January 17, 1991, 24 F-15Es attacked five fixed SCUD sites in western Iraq and missions against SCUD sites continued through the night with a second strike package consisting of 21 F-15Es. During the war, F-15Es flew hunter missions during the night over western Iraq, searching after mobile SCUD launchers that threatened neighboring countries. These mobile SCUD launchers were very elusive; if JSTARS found a launch point, the mobile SCUD launchers most of the time would be gone when the F-15Es arrived. By conducting random bombings in suspected areas, F-15E crews hoped to deter the Iraqis from setting up for a SCUD launch.
During the war, the Strike Eagles were tracked by Iraqi MiG-23s and MiG-29s and there were two notable opportunities for the F-15E to claim its first air-to-air kill. On the opening night one F-15E tracked a MiG-29 and attempted to engage it but had difficulties in acquiring the MiG-29's thermal signature in order to target an AIM-9 Sidewinder. The missile was eventually fired but failed to hit its target. Several other F-15Es simultaneously tried to engage the lone MiG-29 but errors and bad luck prevented them from getting the kill. One F-15E was actually flying past the Iraqi jet and manoeuvred in for the kill but the pilot hesitated to take the shot both because he was unsure where his wingmen were and because he didn't get a good tone with the Sidewinder missile. Soon after, a missile of unknown origin was launched in the area and shortly after that the MiG hit the ground as the Iraqi pilot tried to engage an F-15E. Another MiG-29 was shot down by his own wingman and an F-15E was close by to yet another MiG-29, but the pilot elected not to engage as there were USN F-14s on the way to the area.