As the most successful 4th generation fighter, the American F-15 Eagle heavy fighter not only had great tactical features, it was also being transformed into a real weapon workhorse.

According to the concept of “Agile Combat Employment” (ACE) of the US Air Force, transport aircraft such as C-5, C-17 or C-130, can form a rapid response team when combined with some fighters and quickly deployed to remote airports.

ACE is an operational concept that leverages networks of well-established and austere air bases, multi-capable airmen, pre-positioned equipment, and airlift to rapidly deploy, disperse and maneuver combat capability throughout a theater. Paired with aircraft fueling, arming and limited maintenance activities, ACE expands the number of bases from which air forces can generate combat sorties.

The F-15F can carry up to 8 tons of payload, even the latest version, the F-15EX can carry 14 tons of weapons, which is a huge advantage. In recent US Air Force tests, an F-15E can carry 15 JDAMs to remote airports, then unload them for mounting on 5th generation fighters such as F-22 or F-35.

The F-15E was previously allowed to mount only six 227 kg GBU-38/B JDAM bombs on hard points under the wings. Modification of the auxiliary fuel tanks to a boat shape mounted at the wing roots; so it can carry twice the amount of ammunition. An F-15E can carry a total of 15 JDAM bombs.

Compared to using the C-130 Hercules to transport bombs, using the F-15E has many advantages: First, the JDAM guide can be fully assembled on the bomb and transported directly to the combat site by the F-15E; Therefore, it does not need much assembly time.

Second, the F-15E is faster and can quickly approach combat areas. And finally, in addition to supplying weapons to other fighters, the F-15E can also directly engage in combat, dropping a series of six JDAMs on the target; Then land to unload the bombs remaining in transport hard points.

The only downside of the F-15E in its ammunition transport mission is that the fighter has a limited range compared to the C-130. Carrying a large payload of weapons will dissipate the life of the aircraft faster.


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