Witty Wings 1/72 F-15E Strike Eagle

An interesting contrast now to the air-superiority grey finish of the JASDF F-15J we looked at just a couple ofdays ago.  This time we have the dark grey and green camouflage finish of the F-15 Strike Eagle, a variant on this very capable fighter to give it a good night and ground attack performance.  Capable of long range strike missions, without the need for additional escort or Electronic Counter Measures (ECM) aircraft

When the F-15 was being developed, a phrase used was 'not a pound for air to ground' as it kept the focus of development on the aircraft being a first rate air superiority fighter.  That was reflected in the end result, a very good air superiority fighter which has proved very successful in that role ever since.

Quietly though, McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) developed the capability of the airframe into an all-weather capable ground attack aircraft, which still maintained a superior air-to air combat capability.  When a new competition in the mid 1980s was launched to fins a replacement for the aging F-111 fleet, the Strike Eagle went on to win the contract, and some 236 being delivered to the USAF, and variations on it to Israel, South Korea, Saudi Arabia and Singapore.  It became operational in 1989 and has since seen significant use, and success, in combat operations since then.  It remains the USAF aircraft of choice for 'Deep strike' missions.

The main recognition features are the darker colours used in the camouflage finish, much better for low level operations, the larger cockpit canopy and the conformal fuel tanks which are fitted on the outer sides of the fuselage, going back beneath the wings.  It is capable of carrying a heavy weapons load, along with ECM and targeting pods plus missile for self defence, along with the internal 20mm M61 Gatling cannon.  The other slightly unusual feature for such a land based aircraft is the fitting of an arrestor hook under the rear fuselage, for use in emergencies.

The model by Witty Wings is really rather excellent.  Attractively packaged and a heavy model which indicates the quality of the model itself.  Finished in the dark grey colour, it has the extra bulk of the conformal fuel tanks and a large number of stores and weapons points under the wings and fuselage.  There are 6x 500lb GP (general purpose) bombs on harpoints under the conformal fuel tanks; large drop tanks on under-wing hardpoints; a large GBU 38 JDAM (Joint Direct Attack Munition) on the centreline [JDAM is an additional fitting on a 2000lb conventional bomb which gives it a GPS directed guidance unit to take it 15 miles onto a precision target]; LANTIRN targeting pods: 4x AIM-7 Sparrow air-to-air missiles; 2x AIM-120 AMRAAM missiles: 1x AIM-9 Sidewinder plus an ECM pod.  Capable of carrying some 23000lb of stores, an impressive weapons fit.

The canopy opens, as dooes the large air-brake behind it, along with the twin rudders and the tailplane.  All very cleanly done.  It is finished as an aircraft in the markings of AF91-0309, serving with the 492 Fighter Squadron, part of the 48 Fighter Wing of the USAF, based at Lakenheath in Suffolk.  Even the multitude of tiny airframe stencils are in place, and look excellent.

Robin

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