Forty Years of Soaring Eagles

The Air Force marked the 40th anniversary of the first F-15 flight. At Edwards AFB, Calif., on July 27, 1972, an F-15A took to the skies on the type’s inaugural flight, according to an Aug. 1 Edwards release. Prime contractor McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) assembled the airplane at its manufacturing plant in St. Louis. In July 1973, the first flight of the two-seat F-15B variant occurred, states the release. The F-15, the Air Force’s then-new air superiority fighter, entered service some two years later. Over the years, it has evolved from being strictly an elite air-to-air platform into a multirole aircraft with the advent of the F-15E version. Boeing has built more than 1,600 Eagles for the United States, Israel, Japan, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, and Singapore, states the release. Air Force F-15s have served in combat since 1991 in places like Afghanistan and Iraq.