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F-15 Eagle: 1980s Chronology

Originally Compiled By:
James R. Ciborski
History Office
Aeronautical Systems Center
Air Force Materiel Command
Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio
June 2002
10 Mar 1980

An F-15 ignited on the ground at Langley AFB, Virginia.

11 Mar 1980

Headquarters Air Force revised the delivery and financial schedules of the F-15. Prior to fiscal year 1980 the McDonnell Douglas Corporation had delivered 437 production aircraft. Plans called for the USAF to receive a total of 729 operational aircraft by 1985.

15 Apr 1980

Col Ronald W. Yates succeeded Col Kenneth R. Johnson as F-15 director.

Jun 1980

As of this date, sales of the F-15 to other nations totaled 112 aircraft at a cost of $2.6758 billion.

Dec 1980

The McDonnell Douglas Corporation proposed a Strike Eagle two-seat variant of the F-15 with ground-attack capability. The proposed program involved retrofitting, with improved avionics, the 144 Air Defense Tactical Air Command F-15s, the 206 F-15As and F-15Bs, and the 304 F-15Cs and F-15Ds in the other tactical forces. Additionally, the USAF planned to procure 204 F-15Cs and F-15Ds, and 398 F-15Es, previously the Strike Eagle.

28 Apr 1981

Following a briefing on this date, the Air Council approved the F-15 multistage improvement program to increase combat capability.

Jun 1981

F-15 aircraft provided cover when eight Israeli F-16 aircraft bombed Iraq's nuclear reactor near Baghdad in a precision two-minute strike.

24 Jul 1981

Col Ronald Yates, F-15 director, became commander of the 4950th Test Wing.

17 Sep 1981

The Air Force planned on procuring 1,155 F-15 aircraft along with the previously obtained 20 development airframes.

28 Jan 1982

Air Force Systems Command directed ASD to establish a derivative fighter comparison organization to evaluate the F-15E and F-16E aircraft. The organization would evaluate proposals for a dual-role fighter with air-to-air and air-to-ground capabilities.

Aug 1982-Sep 1983

Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards AFB, California, conducted flying qualities tests of an F-15C equipped with conformal fuel tanks. In conjunction with the proposed F-15E dual-role fighter, Edwards' officials also evaluated the F-15C with various air-to-ground stores.

29 Sep 1982

Warner Robins Air Logistics Center and ASD signed the F-15 program management responsibility transfer agreement. Management responsibility for the F-15A, B, C, and D went to the Air Force Logistics Command on 1 October 1982. The F-15 program office retained responsibility for system acquisition and some 94 residual tasks.

20 Dec 1982

Col Craig O. Schaum replaced Colonel Gerald A. Blake as F-15 director.

22 Feb 1983

The USAF and McDonnell Douglas Corporation signed a letter contract, F33657-83-C0043, involving full-scale development of the multistage improvement program (MSIP). This program was designed to fulfill the roll of the tactical air forces through an integrated acquisition and modification effort.

Jan 1984

Lt Gen Thomas H. McMullen, ASD Commander, established a multi-command group under the supervision of the F-15 program deputy director, Col J. S. Smith, to study landing gear deficiencies. The group recommended further configuration changes and improved maintenance procedures.

24 Feb 1984

The Air Force chose the F-15E over the F-16E as the new dual-role fighter. Plans called for the McDonnell Douglas Corporation to integrate production modifications to the aircraft to provide the additional air-to-ground capability. The USAF planned to procure 393 aircraft with modifications amounting to $1.5 billion. The Air Force expected delivery of the dual-role F-15E in 1988.

27 Apr 1984

Headquarters Air Force issued a directive authorizing development of the F-15E aircraft.

20 Jun 1985

Rollout of first two advanced MSIP aircraft (C-304 and C-305).

28 Jun 1985

The first two advanced MSIP aircraft delivered to the 33rd Tactical Fighter Wing, Eglin AFB, Florida (C-304 and C-305).

11 Mar 1986

The program management directive (PMD) called for developing a night and under-the-weather surface attack capability.

11 Dec 1986

First flight of dual-role F-15E.

31 Mar 1987

Formal rollout ceremony for LANTIRN equipped F-15s. Lt Gen William E. Thurman, ASD Commander, stated, "For the enemy, trying to hide under the cover of darkness, the night will become a nightmare."

Aug 1987

While addressing acquisition issues, Lt Gen William E. Thurman, ASD Commander, stated, "the F-15 requires only two-thirds the maintenance man-hours per flying hour as the F-4 jet it is replacing."


Budgetary cutbacks reduced F-15E purchase projections from 392 to 278 aircraft.


Saudi Arabia and Israel purchased F-15 aircraft under the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program.


Air Force effort to certify the F-15 to carry nuclear weapons. The F-15 SPO, in conjunction with Sandia Laboratory, the Directorate of Nuclear Surety, the Air Force Weapons Laboratory, and Mcdonnell Aircraft Corporation, developed a new software package to replace existing deficient software.

early 1988

Low altitude navigation and targeting infrared for night (LANTIRN) manual terrain following testing at Edwards AFB, California, came to a successful conclusion.

May 1988

Initial "Seek Eagle" testing concluded (testing of external weapons and stores through captive carriage, separation, and ballistics verification flight tests).

7 Sep 1988

First flight of short takeoff and landing (STOL) F-15 STOL demonstrator in the skies above St. Louis, Missouri. The aircraft reached an altitude of 20,000 feet.

10 May 1989

Program Management Directive (PMD) reduced total number of F-15E aircraft to 200.

30 Sep 1989

Initial operational capability (IOC) for the F-15E unit at Seymour-Johnson AFB, North Carolina (336th Tactical Fighter Squadron), declared by Headquarters Tactical Air Command. Actually, the unit achieved limited operational capability (LOC) because certain components were lacking. Full IOC expected in 1990.

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Page last modified: 23-07-2011 18:13:34 ZULU