US Air Force suspends most F-15 operations following crash
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
The United States Air Force suspended non-mission critical F-15 flight operations on Nov. 3 following the crash of a Missouri Air National Guard F-15C aircraft Nov. 2. The F-15 will continue to fly in some emergency situations and a few others according to Air Force spokesperson John Elolf.
The crash was 125 miles south of St. Louis on private property surrounded by the Mark Twain National Forest in Dent County, Missouri during dogfight training by four 131st Fighter Wing craft. The pilot ejected and suffered minor injuries.
The cause of that accident is still under investigation, however, preliminary findings indicate that a possible structural failure of the aircraft may have occurred. The suspension of flight operations is a precautionary measure.
The Air Force has stated that it will ensure that mission requirements will be met for worldwide operations normally accomplished by the F-15. Currently, F-15s operate out of bases in the continental United States, Alaska, England, Hawaii, Japan and the Middle East.
The F-15 Eagle is an all-weather tactical fighter designed to permit the Air Force to gain and maintain air supremacy over the battlefield. There are more than 700 F-15s in the Air Force inventory. The F-15 reached initial operational capability for the Air Force in September 1975.File:FA-22 Raptor.jpg
The F-15C, D and E models were deployed to the Persian Gulf in 1991 in support of Operation Desert Storm where they proved their superior combat capability. F-15C fighters accounted for 34 of the 37 Air Force air-to-air victories. The F-15E’s were operated mainly at night, hunting SCUD missile launchers and artillery sites using the LANTIRN system.
They have since been deployed for air expeditionary force deployments and Operations Southern Watch (the no-fly zone in Southern Iraq), Provide Comfort in Turkey, Allied Force in Bosnia, Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Iraqi Freedom in Iraq.
The Air Force is replacing its aging F-15 fighters with the F-22 Raptor. The F-22 is an advanced stealth fighter aircraft combining stealth for in both air-to-air and air-to-ground missions. However, budgetary concerns have caused the Air Force to reduce their total order of F-22s.