Steve Davis is a freelance aviation journalist and photographer with strong links to the F-15 community. He is the author of four F-15 books and numerous magazines and journal features and is a leading expert on the aircraft. He has also worked for the History Channel providing consultancy for numerous military aviation documentaries.
The book consists of 96 pages with many colored and black and white photographs, each followed by a caption which describes the aircraft, pilots and it’s involvement during their combat sorties. Also there’s a page dedicated to the F-15E ‘s operational deployments, year and date, Squadron/Wing and location between 1990 and 2005.
The color plates are made up of 9 pages with a nice selection of profiles. Each profile is explained with captions at the end of the book that give a very informative detail of the Squadron/Wing and description of the units markings and nose art.
The text is spread logically over 6 chapters, beginning with an overview of the F-15E and progressing through the various conflicts in which the aircraft has been involved, ending, inevitably, with Operation Iraqi Freedom.
The first production models of the F-15E’s were delivered to the 405th Tactical Training Wing at Luke AFB in Arizona in April 1988, and were among the first airframes tasked to react to events in the Persian Gulf in August 1990. The 4th Fighter Wing deployed two F-15E squadrons to Southwest Asia in August and December of that year, and spearheaded an attack on Iraqi forces Jan. 17, 1991 in which five Scud sites in western Iraq were attacked by 24 Strike Eagles on the first night of the war.
Right after the first Gulf war a no fly zone was imposed under the authority of the Security Council, Resolution 688, as a means to protect Iraqi Kurds (in the north) and Iraq’s Shi’a population (in the south). In January of 93 the 4th FW (P) led a small package to hit Iraqi targets that broke the rules of the ceasefire by deploying below the 32nd parallel. The F-15’s specifically targeted an SA-3 Goa SAM site with success.
Following the events of No Fly Zones in Iraq, the U.S. became involved in a series of conflicts in the Balkans that followed the disintegration of Yugoslavia. Deployments to Aviano AB in Italy in 1993 the F-15E’s began operating and flying sorties over the Balkans. In 1994-95 the Strike Eagles conducted attacks against Serbian targets. Despite the repeated warnings in 1999, NATO asked the President Milosevic to withdraw his forces from Kosovo in which he ignored. A five phase plan was put into effect in which 12 more F-15E’s from the 492nd FS were sent to Italy in early 99 as part of a bombing operation code named “Noble Anvil” On March 24th of that year, operation “Noble Anvil” commenced with all 26 F-15E’s concentrating on striking SAM, AAA and GCI Early Warning (EW) assets.
On September 11th 2001, Islamic terrorists hijacked U.S. airliners and flew them into the World Trade Towers in New York, the Pentagon in Washington and into a field in Pennsylvania killing just under 3,000 people. Following, F-15’s and 16’s flew combat missions under “OPERATION NOBLE EAGLE” to protect American cities from similar attacks.
A terrorist infrastructure in Afghanistan became to be known as "al-Qaeda", under rule of the Taliban, an Islamic religious extremist group, were soon to be found responsible for the 911 attacks on U.S. soil. After refusing the United States demands that the Afghan government hand over Osama bin Laden, the U.S. began an air campaign against Afghanistan in preparation for ground force actions. The entire campaign, with Strike Eagles playing a significant role in the attacks, became know as “Operation Enduring Freedom”.
Soon after the U.S. set sights on Saddam Hussein and threatening invasion if his "weapons of mass destruction (WMD)" program were not immediately destroyed. In the spring of 2003 the U.S. led a multinational force into the invasion of Iraq under the code name Operation Iraqi Freedom, (OIF). Author “ throughout the conflict, the Strike Eagle was the only airframe with the range, self protection and target detection capabilities to enable it to roam freely over both northern and southern Iraq.”, “the Strike Eagle is credited with destroying over 60 percent of the estimated total force of the Iraqi Medina Republican Guard. F-15E’s also scored direct hits on more than 65 MiGs on the ground.
In the future, the US Air Force has plans to add the F-22 Raptor and the F-35 Strike Fighter to their inventory. Though expensive, particularly the F-22, they won’t be pressed into service for several years making the F-15 an asset to the Air Force up to 2020 and possibly beyond.
The author does a fascinating job of documenting the entire wartime history through 1990-2005, giving a good overview of the different operations the F-15E was involved in. What I really enjoyed was the time frame the author described in great detail the during the Squadron/Wing units deployments with year and date.
I highly recommend this book for it’s historical facts, references or just learning more of the aircraft in its self. As a modeler, the book really won’t be much of help. There are no walk around or cockpit photos, most of the photos cover the aircraft in-flight. It will help you to build the aircraft in its right place and time, you can also use the color plates for reference as to help with markings, nose and tail art and tail numbers.
I found the book a little tough to read, it mostly covers the pilots from their day to day and combat activities. Personally I would have loved to read more about the aircraft in itself, but I really enjoyed the time frame the author described in great detail during the Squadron/Wing units deployments with year and dates.
PO Box 140
Northants, NN8 2FA
(01933) 443 863
Thank you to Osprey Publishing for kindly supplying the review sample.