Author Topic: The full story of how an F-15E scored its only air-to-air kill… with a bomb  (Read 1123 times)

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The full story of how an F-15E scored its only air-to-air kill… with a bomb

Alex Hollings | October 15, 2021

America’s F-15 Eagle has long since secured a position in the pantheon of the world’s greatest fighters. With an incredible air combat record of 104 wins and zero losses, the fourth generation powerhouse we call the F-15 remains America’s fastest air superiority fighter, beating out even the venerable F-22 Raptor. But the F-15E Strike Eagle, the F-15’s multi-role sibling, was never really intended to serve as a dedicated air-to-air platform. Instead, the F-15E’s goal was to leverage the speed and payload capabilities of an F-15 Eagle for ground attack missions — making it one of the most capable multi-role attack fighters of its generation.

In 1991, Air Force Capt. Tim Bennett was serving as a flight leader for the 335th Tactical Fighter Squadron out of Al Kharj Air Base in central Saudi Arabia, in support of Operation Desert Storm. The U.S.-led coalition had opted to begin the war with airpower, flying hundreds of sorties per day from land and carrier-based fighters throughout the region. Al Kharj, where Bennett flew out of, was home to five squadrons of F-16s and F-15Es, so flight operations were continuous.

    “We were slightly undermanned in our unit and, if you were a flight leader or an IP [instructor pilot], you flew a lot,” Bennett would later write for Air Force Magazine.

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Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

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