Boosting Strike Power U.S. F-15E Carries 5 AGM-158 Cruise Missiles for the First Time

The F-15E with five AGM-158 cruise missiles.

The U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle has an impressive payload, and a special project called Project Strike Rodeo has succeeded in bringing the F-15E A project called “Strike Rodeo” (Project Strike Rodeo) has succeeded in attaching five AGM-158 Joint Strike Missiles (JASSM) to the F-15E, originally the F-15E could only attach up to two, but now the number has increased to five, and the strike power has been increased by one and a half times.

The Aviationist reports that the F-15E is the USAF’s primary fighter-bomber, with a payload capacity of 11.5 metric tons, not far off the aircraft’s net weight of 14.5 metric tons. It can be said that the F-15E can hang almost all the ammunition, the only limitation is the size of the ammunition.

However, the F-15E has really encountered a missile that is too large, namely the AGM-158, which is the USAF’s newer air-launched cruise missile that uses GPS and infrared guidance to evade radar tracking, with a range of 370 km for the basic version and nearly 1,000 km for the extended range (ER) version. With a 454 kg charge in the combat section, it can penetrate armor and can also be highly explosive, making it a powerful tool for long-range precision strikes.

This angle allows you to see just five AGM-158s, on the wings and sides, and in the middle of the belly.

However, with such a long range, the size of the missile is not small, as the AGM-158 is 4.27 meters long, and in general, the F-15E can only mount two of them, one under each wing.

The AGM-158 ejects from the wing after launch, and the extra lift allows it to fly long distances.

However, the U.S. Air Force’s 85th Test and Evaluation Squadron, which completed a project called Project Strike Rodeo, still managed to mount five AGM-158s on the F-15.

They analyzed the main difficulty in mounting the AGM-158, the problem is in the lack of space, the height of the vehicle itself, coupled with the size of the AGM-158, will make the operating space too small. So the 85th Squadron designed a new loadout tool and wrote a new weapons loading program that allowed the lifting arm to be extended to a suitable mount so that the AGM-158 could be added to the belly of the aircraft with a modest fuel tank.

Earlier this year, the 85th Test Squadron completed a “feat” for the F-15E by increasing the F-15E’s JDAM bomb load from nine to 15, creating a veritable “bomb truck” to help transport munitions to other bases.

On April 25, the 494th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron’s F-15Es actually completed their munitions delivery in this form, with six F-15Es in “bomb truck” configuration, delivering 12 JDAMs and four SDBs to Al Dhafra Air Base in the United Arab Emirates.