The US Air Force’s (USAF’s) 4th Fighter Wing (FW) – based at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base (AFB) in North Carolina – has received a single Boeing F-15C Eagle from Nellis AFB, Nevada, to help alleviate the training burden on its fleet of F-15E Strike Eagle multi-role fighters.
The veteran F-15C – serial 82-0018, c/n 831/C249 – was received by the 4th FW at Seymour-Johnson AFB on April 12, but its arrival was not formally announced until May 6. This particular fighter was flown in support of Operations Desert Storm, Noble Eagle, Northern Watch and Southern Watch, before it was assigned to the 433rd Weapons Squadron (WPS) at Nellis AFB.
Following its transfer to the 4th FW, the aircraft will be used to support aircraft maintenance qualification program (AMQP) and weapons load training (WLT) operations, allowing the wing to strictly retain its F-15Es for combat missions. Until now, the 4th FW’s 4th Maintenance Group would schedule non-mission capable Strike Eagles to support the AMQP, but these aircraft had to be reconfigured for training, which took time and personnel away from flightline operations. On top of this, mission capable F-15Es were required for WLT purposes, which ultimately decreased the availability of the wing’s Strike Eagle fleet.
Capt Danny Miller, the 4th Maintenance Group’s director of operations, said: “Right now, we supply an F-15E to AMQP and two F-15Es to WLT. We were pulling resources from aircraft that could potentially be flying… The F-15C is going to be a permanent weapons load trainer, so it doesn’t have to effectively fly. WLT will use it for loading and unloading inert munitions. It’s great because it gives us one more aircraft back in the fight.”
The arrival of this F-15C will help to enhance the availability of the Seymour Johnson-based F-15Es, allowing both air and ground personnel assigned to the 4th FW and its associated fighter squadrons to focus more on flightline operations and training for combat missions and deployments across the globe. The 4th FW serves as the parent wing for four F-15E-equipped units, comprising the 333rd Fighter Squadron (FS) ‘Lancers’, 334th FS ‘Fighting Eagles’, 335th FS ‘Chiefs’ and 336th FS ‘Rocketeers’.