Monday, October 5, 2015
Book Review: Israeli F-15 Units in Combat
Israeli F-15 Eagle Units in Combat
Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing, 2006
Category: Israel Air Force - History
Since its introduction into Israeli service in 1975, the F-15 has tallied 50 air-to-air kills against various aircraft, without a single loss of an Israeli F-15. The F-15 Eagle has set a new standard for what an air superiority fighter can truly be.
Drawing on first-hand interviews and unique access to official documents, Shlomo Aloni has delivered the story of the F-15 in Israeli service as no other author has been able to do before.
As many of us know, the F-15 was developed out of the bitter experience that the United States suffered during the Vietnam War. It was designed to be superior to its predecessors, such as the F-4E, not just in terms of its armament or thrust-to-weight ratio, but in every corner of the flight envelope - within visual range or beyond. Aloni was able to add to this the inside perspective of the Israeli test pilots who first appraised the aircraft during the 1970s. In the words of pilot Assaf Ben-Nun, "Performance-wise, the F-15 was a revelation, with superb acceleration and maneuverability." In back-to-back comparisons with similar flight test experience in the F-14 Tomcat, the Eagle easily won the day.
Aloni was able to add to this first-hand accounts from many of the pilots who would later fly the F-15 into combat. This includes the first air-to-air kills scored by an F-15 in combat - on June 27, 1979, when a total of four Syrian MiG-21s were claimed by Israeli F-15s in a single afternoon (a fifth kill was accorded to a Kfir pilot on that same day). Rounding-out the text, Aloni closes with the an appendix listing every confirmed kill by an Israeli F-15 between 1979 and 1985, including the names of the pilots involved. Once again, Shlomo Aloni delivers the kind of detailed interviews and inside access that he has been renowned for.