The F-15E is a fighter-bomber aircraft designed to replace the F-111 Aardvark as the USAF's strike fighter (another name for fighter-bomber). The plans for a ground attack Eagle were formed ever since testing began of the original F-15A Eagle. However, it was abandoned in 1975, primarily due to increasing costs, and was revived in 1982 when trials began with an modified F-15B. The production model first flew December 11, 1986, after it was chosen over its competitor, the F-16XL.
The F-15's cockpit is state-of-the-art and the pilot has a wide angle Heads-Up Display as well as 3 Multi-Function Displays, while the Weapons Systems Operator (in the back seat) has 4 MFD's. The F-15E is based on the F-15C Eagle air superiority fighter. The Strike Eagle acquired air-to-ground capability, while retaining the F-15C's outstanding air-to-air capability. The disadvantage that the F-15E had to the F-111F, which it was criticized for in its early life, was the fact that the F-15E didn't have the internal range (2,994 miles in the F-111F to 2,100 miles in the F-15E) nor the weapons payload capability (31,302 lbs to 24,471 lbs) as the Aardvark. However, despite these shortcomings, the F-15E is one of the most powerful aircraft in the Allied and Axis arsenal.