The F-15I "Ra'am" ("Thunder") exists as a trademark for the Israeli Air Force (IAF) classic Boeing (McDonald Douglas) F-15 "Eagle" family of air superiority/multi-role aircraft - in particular F-15E "Strike Eagle" ground attack platform. Comparing the US Air Force's Strike Eagle in mission range and capabilities, the two-seat twin-engine Ra'am focuses on tactical strikes against enemy ground targets within range while retaining much of the air of the classic series. Anti-air capability - making it a formidable fighter.
As of mid-2019, approximately 25 Ra'am aircraft were in service to replace the aging McDonnell Douglas F-4 Mirage II multirole aircraft fleet.
The F-15I arose out of the IAFs need for a long-range attack platform capable of infiltrating enemy airspace and destroying critical targets threatening the countrys civilian sector. This lack of defense was exposed when the Scuds attacked Israeli cities during the 1991 Gulf War, when Iraqi Scud ballistic missiles regularly rained down on Israeli soil.
The IAF considered several U.S. options, including the General Dynamics (now Lockheed) F-16 Fighting Falcon, the McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing parent company label) F-15E Strike Eagle, and the McDonnell Douglas Douglas (Boeing) F/A-18 Hornet.
In the end, Strike Eagle passed and sourcing attempts were encouraged.
This led the Israeli government to order 21 "F-15I" attack aircraft in early 1994. In May, the United States provided 25 complete fleets, and in November 1995, Israel added 4 more F-15Is to complete the sale. The aircraft was produced and delivered from 1996 to 1998
Like the IAF's F-16I development, the F-15I relies on Israeli avionics. A locally designed Radar Warning Receiver (RWR) was later added, as well as other cockpit systems originating in Israel and supporting Israeli-developed weapons.
A Helmet Mounted Display (HMD) is standard for pilots and the nose is fitted with the APG-70I series radar for all-weather functions.
The appearance of the F-15I is almost identical since it is directly derived from the Strike Eagle. The two crew members sat side by side with the twin engines arranged side by side in the rear of the fuselage. The wing main aircraft is shoulder mounted and has a curve along its leading edge.
Stabilizers are all moving surfaces. There are a pair of vertical planes to support twin-engine mounting, and three-wheeled undercarriage (retractable) for ground operations.
The thrust comes from 2 x Pratt & Whitney F100-PW series afterburning turbofan engines, which provide considerable power to the aircraft. Top speeds can exceed Mach 2.0, and the aircraft has a combat radius of nearly 800 miles.
The F-15I has been a steady performer for the Indian Air Force and will continue to be used in the country's various regional campaigns against its enemies. The series offers outstanding range, state-of-the-art facilities and a level of performance unmatched by few other platforms in the field.
Several hardpoints offer very different ammunition carrying options, ranging from short- and medium-range air-to-air missiles and air-to-surface missiles to precision-guided or conventional bomb-delivery weapons.
In terms of armament, the F-15I retains the Eagle's only internal 20mm M61A1 Vulcan automatic cannon, which can carry up to 23,000 lbs of air-launched or air-dropped ammunition, and three externally ejectable fuel tanks for greater range. Also Targeting pods can be installed for precision shooting.
The series will feature a nose-mounted Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar unit and expanded support for new Israeli-made weapons. State-of-the-art avionics also help make the F-15I a viable strike platform for the foreseeable future even as the service puts its new fleet of 5th-generation F-35A fighter jets into service.
1,656 mph (2,665 km/h; 1,439 knots)
59,711 ft (18,200 m; 11.31 mi)
2,485 miles (4,000 km; 2,160 nautical miles)
55,000 ft/min (16,764 m/min)
1 x 20mm M61A1 Vulcan Gatling built-in automatic cannon.
Up to 23,000 lbs of ammunition launch/drop, including short- and medium-range air-to-air missiles, air-to-surface missiles, precision-guided drop bombs, conventional drop bombs, cluster bombs, and incendiary bombs, droppable fuel tanks and special mission equipment (eg B. Target Capsule).
F-15I "Ra am" - designation of the basic series; 25 aircraft were built.