The F-15E is one of the later variants that evolved from McDonnell Douglas’ well-received F-15 series. It entered as an all-weather, multirole fighter in most USAF squadrons. Development of the aircraft was actually done quietly as the idea of an interdiction fighter spin-off from the F-15 didn’t get much support from the government. McDonnell Douglas drafted the early design of the F-15E, aiming for it to replace the aging F-111 Aardvark and F-4. It wasn’t until in 1978 when the development actually gained momentum. At this time, US Air Force tapped this quiet program through its Tactical All-Weather Requirement Study. Fortunately, the study pushed to recommend the F-15E as the USAF's future strike platform. With good support, McDonnell Douglas worked with Hughes in 1979 to further develop the aircraft. The F-15E Eagle was officially introduced in 1981 when it was submitted as an entry for the USAF’s Enhanced Tactical Fighter program. After winning the contract on February 1984, construction began in 1985 with the first unit flown on December 1986. In particular, the F-15E Strike Eagle had a much sturdier airframe than the earlier Eagles. It was also painted in a darker camouflage scheme and had fuel tanks mounted along its engine intakes. An interesting feature of the Strike Eagle is its tactical electronic warfare system. This system integrated all systems and controls for countermeasures installed in the plane. This meant that the aircraft can have a more comprehensive defense against detection and tracking.
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