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F-15 Weapons Systems The Gun:  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 standard load. Today's Weapons:  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 cannon.
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.
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