F-15 Weapons Systems
All F-15 variants (A/B/C/D/E) are equipped with the General Electric M-61A1 20mm Vulcan
cannon located in the starboard wing root. The M-61 is a six-barrel Gatling gun capable of
two rates of fire. At the discretion of the pilot, he or she can fire either 4,000 or 6,000
rounds per minute. The air-superiority F-15s A-D carry 940 rounds while the F-15E Strike
Eagle carries 450.
The Early Years:
Originally the armament package for the F-15A consisted of four AIM-7F Sparrow radar-
guided missiles and four AIM-9E or 9L Sidewinder heat-seeking missiles. Today there have
been many modernizations and the updated AIM-7M and the AIM-9M have become the
During the 1990's the pilots now had a more capable "stand-off" weapon than the less than
desirable AIM-7 Sparrow. The new AIM-120A AMRAAM (Advanced Medium Range Air to Air
Missile) was introduced. The pilot had the ability to "fire and forget." The Eagle driver could
now engage multiple targets at once or engage a target without having to utilize the radar
to guide the weapon after launch. This allowed the pilot to select a new target or disengage
from the flight.
In addition to the AMRAAM, a new generation of Sidewinder has also come into service in the
USAF. This "Super Sidewinder" or AIM-9X, allows targeting with the use of a helmet mounted
sight. The F-15 pilots can simply "look" at the target they want to kill and launch the
Sidewinder. Today the standard weapons fit for both active duty and ANG F-15 operators is
six AIM-120 AMRAAMs and two AIM-9M or AIM-9X Sidewinders in addition to the 20mm
An F-15E from Elmendorf AFB, AK based 90th
F.S. "Pair "O Dice" launches a Sparrow during
a PACAF exercise. The missile is in the "drop-
launch" configuration, meaning the weapon
was mounted on the fuselage.
Seen over Iraq during O.I.F., a Strike Eagle
from the 4th F.W. releases a decoy flare to
counter the threat of a heat-seeking
missile. The aircraft is loaded with AIM-120
missiles and a centerline 1,000 lb JDAM
bomb. The white external fuel tanks
depicted are "WRM" (War Reserve Material)
stock, and are a cheaper alternative to
"stock" or standard issue tanks.
T2, the second of two Category 1 test aircraft, is seen during the mid 1980's while serving as the
Strike Eagle demonstrator. The aircraft's oficial designation is TF-15A (F-15B-4-MC) 71-0291. It
completed against the General Dynamics F-16XL "F16E" during the 1984 USAF competing for a long-
range interdiction airstrike fighter to replace the aging F-111 Ardvark'291 is depicted while loaded
with an impressive warload of twenty MK-20 Rockeye Cluster Bombs, and four AIM-9L Sidewinders.
Interestingly, it carried the newly developed "Type-3 CFTs or Conformal Fuel Tanks, but was not
equipped with the internal M-61A1 20mm gun. Also seen is its "Europe One" paint scheme, which was
not adopted by operational F-15Es. The external ordinance is painted to blend in with the aircraft.