The eagle well liked as a symbol in the USA and especially in the US air force. Thus it was quite a surprise to see it took until the late 1970's before an aircraft nicknamed 'Eagle' can into use. The F-15 Eagle was build as a dedicated fighter aircraft specializing in engaging other aircraft. 5 versions of the Eagle are made. The A and B version are the first version with 1 or 2 pilots respectively. The C and D versions are more modern reincarnations of the A and B. With the introduction of the F-15E Strike Eagle the aircraft took on a whole new career path.
The F-15E Strike Eagle is a ground assault version of the F-15 made as a replacement for the F-111. The other contender for this role was the F-16XL, a heavily modified F-16. The F-15 was chosen over the F-16XL Its lager and more powerful airframe is considered to be more robust and it was cheaper to develop. The 'standard' F-15 already had advanced electronics and is more than capable defending itself against other aircraft so the F-15E Strike Eagle is able to carry out missions deep in hostile area without the aid of electronic aircraft or fighter escorts. The most noticeable difference between the F-15E and other variants are the extra full tanks on the hull sides. Usually the F-15E is painted in a darker color and has two targeting pods under each jet intake to simultaneously laser guide multiple bombs to their target. The F-15E is in use with the United States Airforce, Saudi-Arabia, Singapore, Israel and the Republic of Korea.
A few photos, in the first one, the extra fuel tanks are not attached to the aircraft yet but can be seen on separate carts. Update 13-2-2014: I learned from Dazzio's comment below the article that these fuel tanks are made as special modules and can be attached or detached. The picture of the green F-15 is the prototype, a modified F-15B.
The Revell model (kit No. 03996)
Revell released a new model of the F-15E last year. This is a model of a specific aircraft that joint the "Tigermeet of the Americas 2005" so the targeting pods characteristic for the F-15E are not included unfortunately as they where removed from the real aircraft for this event. The model is perfect in any other sense. The cockpit fits perfectly on the rest of the hull. I haven't build an F-15 in a while but this was always a difficult part in models from other manufacturers. Because it a model of a specific 'tigermeet' aircraft there are no ground assault weapons included, only 4 sidewinders, 2 sparrows and two fuel tanks. I added bombs left over from Dragons A-10 and the Micro Ace aircraft weapons set A. I gor the targeting pods from my spare parts box but I have no idea from which model they originally came. I painted the whole aircraft in a 1/1 mixture of Revell's mat blue (acrylic paint no 36156) and dust gray (acrylic paint no. 36177) to get the 'night grey' or 'blue gray' color the Strike Eagle's had during the 1990's. In the cockpit I added belts to the ejection seats. I used the decals from the kit itself cutting out only the pieces I needed and left the tiger stripes for what the are.
On to the photo's!
This is a perfectly molded kit of the infamous F-15E Strike Eagle. The only downside is that their is hardly any ordinance and the targeting pods, so characteristic of the aircraft, is not included.