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F-15 Eagle Engaged

by Steve Davies and Doug Dildy

Osprey Publishing


S u m m a r y

Publisher and Catalogue Details: F-15 Eagle Engaged
by Steve Davies and Doug Dildy
Osprey Publishing
ISBN: 9781846031694
Media and Contents: Hard cover, 288 pages
Price: GB£25.00 online from Osprey Publishing
Review Type: FirstRead
Advantages: Detailed coverage of subject, good first hand accounts.
Recommendation: Highly Recommended

Reviewed by Ken Bowes

Osprey's F-15 Eagle Engaged is available online from Squadron.com




Please note that the images below are from Ken Bowes' personal collection, not from the book under review.

The F-15 Eagle has a lot of mystique surrounding it, not the least due to what is probably its unrivalled combat record, with 105 kills and no losses it leaves all potential rivals far behind. Having first got up close and personal with the type in 1986, and enjoyed many a handling display over the years I can understand the affection many hold for it. Being shaken out of my cot in Camp Andy every two minutes as a pair of Beagles roared off North to provide support to advancing forces in Iraq made it a somewhat love hate relationship, but definitely more on the love than hate side of the balance sheet. With the advent of the F-22A Raptor in USAF service the Eagle will undoubtedly fade in prominence so now seems a good time for a weighty tome on the aircraft to be published. F-15 Eagle Engaged from Osprey Publishing is just such a volume. Written by long time Osprey author Steve Davies (responsible for many of the F-15 books in the Combat Aircraft Series) and former F-15 pilot Doug Dildy, this is a quality book.



In this book the authors have traced the development and history of the F-15 from the inception of the F-X program during the Vietnam War to the present day, looking along the way at the influences on the eventual design as varied as the performance of the F-4 in Vietnam, Boyd's Energy-Maneuverability theories and the appearance of the MiG-25 Foxbat in the Soviet Union. This followed by a look at the basic MacAir 199-B design philosophy and the test and evaluation of the early F-15As. A chapter on service entry follows, then the excellent "Happiness is…Geasles and a Sweaty G-Suit", in which Doug Dildy passionately describes the joy of flying the Eagle. Operations are then described in three chapters focusing on Eagles during the Cold War, Homeland Defense of the US and Alaska and National Guard units give, all interspersed with the pilots perspective all serve to highlight the crucial role played by the F-15 in the USAF.



The Eagle of course not only flies with the USAF, but also the air forces of Israel, Saudi Arabia and Japan. Foreign Military Sales looks at the programs and rationale for all three operators and how they came to acquire their airframes under the Peace Fox, Peace Sun and Peace Eagle programs. Included are many anecdotes from the aircrew of these nations. The next area addressed regards the improvements made to the Eagle over the years including the integration of new weapons, radars and other systems to keep the combat edge sharp. Having got the design philosophy and history out of the way the fun now really begins. "When Eagles Fly, MiGs Die!" is self explanatory, looking in detail at the contribution made to Operations Desert Shield and Storm by USAF Eagle Units. Having comprehensively defeated the Iraqi Air Force, the next chapter looks at the draining slog of No-Fly Zone enforcement over Iraq that was to continue from 1992 until 2003. Following is a chapter on Allied Force operations over Bosnia where again the Eagle proved more than equal to any air to air opponent. All these chapters are filled with the recollections of aircrew involved in the incidents which highlight the human factor, as stated in the forward, the pilot being the soul of the Eagle from start-up to shut down. 

The final chapter of course looks at the future of the Eagle in the shadow if the F-22. With Raptor procurement slashed, it now looks like the F-15 will soldier on in a HI/LO mix alongside its planned replacement at least beyond 2025, with 178 "Golden Eagles" due to be upgraded to the very latest standards to retain a capability edge and be able to integrate into a package with the Raptor. No book this detailed will be free of appendices and to round out the book there are several useful ones including one listing all past and current Operational Units across the four countries with the Eagle, one that lists all accidents until May 2007 for all operators, a third covering all Eagle kills of the US and Israeli Air Forces, and one listing the full production of F-15 A through D airframes by MacAir and Mitsubishi. The final three appendices are a historical timeline, specifications and a look at the one of a kind sub-variants such as the Streak Eagle and NASA trials aircraft.





Overall, this is an impressive and well produced volume, as should be expected from the authors and publishers. The 288 pages contain a wealth of information and many interesting photographs. It appears to be the definitive history of the air superiority Eagle from inception to date and will be enjoyed by history buffs and enthusiasts alike. If there is one minor criticism it is that it has fewer photos than one might expect and as such will be limited in value to a modeller looking for references. That said it succeeds as a coffee-table quality history and will help add a dimension to the modellers understanding of the subject.

Highly Recommended

Thanks to Osprey Publishing for the review sample

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Review and Images Copyright © 2007 by Ken Bowes
Page Created 29 October, 2007
Last updated 24 December, 2007

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