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Osprey Combat Aircraft No. 59


F-15E Strike Eagle Units in Combat 1990-2005



Tony Holmes


S u m m a r y\

Publisher and Catalogue Details: Osprey Combat Aircraft No. 59 F-15E Strike Eagle Units in Combat 1990-2005
ISBN: 1841769096
Media and Contents: Soft cover, 96 pages
Price: GB£12.99 online from Osprey Publishing
Review Type: FirstRead
Advantages: Lots of first hand stories from aircrew, detailed coverage.
Recommendation: Highly Recommended

Reviewed by Ken Bowes

Osprey's US Navy F-15E Strike Eagle Units in Combat 1990-2005
is available online from Sq




This, the latest volume in the Osprey Combat Aircraft series, No 59 covers the F-15E Strike Eagle in combat from 1990-2005. This is a broad canvas and as can be expected addresses every major combat operation from the First Gulf War to the Balkans, Afghanistan and Iraq. The author, Steve Davies, has been previously responsible for Osprey’s examination of F-15 units in Operation Iraqi Freedom and the combat history of the F-15C. Davies has developed very close links to the Eagle community in the United States, having authored a number of books and magazine articles on this aircraft. Once again this access has allowed him to draw out numerous and detailed accounts of the Strike Eagle in combat from the aircrew that took it to war.



Taking over as the principal strike aircraft of the US Air Force following the retirement of the F-111, it is no surprise to find that the Strike Eagle has been everywhere that US policy has required the application of force. However in order to set the scene for those less familiar with the aircraft, Davies first provides an overview of its development history and entry into service with the USAF. With this background knowledge the reader is then taken on a tour de force of personal experiences from the aircrew that have taken the aircraft to war.

At the same time the reader gains a new appreciation of the developing capabilities of the F-15E from the Mk 82 and 84 series iron bombs of Desert Storm to the laser and GPS guided weapons of 2005. Along the way a great deal of insight is provided into the complications of dealing with a modern Integrated Air Defence System to the difficulties of dropping 5000lb penetrators into caves and Adits deep in the valleys of Afghanistan.  

Many of the accounts included are valuable for adding a new perspective to the media coverage and stories from ground units which have flooded out from Iraq and Afghanistan. The Battle of Roberts Ridge during Operation Anaconda saw F-15Es operating on 12 hour plus missions whilst earlier the long haul from Kuwait had seen an F-15E mission over 15 hours long. Detailed descriptions from the aircrew that flew these missions give insight into the difficulty of operating into such a theatre as Afghanistan and highlights that the war there was not the walkover that it would appear in the media. Whilst some of the material from his earlier volume on OIF appears in this book, there is sufficient new material on OIF up to 2005 to make the re-visit worthwhile, with the Desert Shield/Storm chapter being a great way to compare fighting in the same theatre twelve years apart.  

As is usual for the Osprey Combat Aircraft series included in this volume is a useful appendix on all F-15E deployments in summary from 1990-2005. 24 colour profiles fill the centre pages. Accompanying this is a neat page of artwork highlighting the variations of tail and nose art applied by different F-15E units. With access to the collections of Strike Eagle veteran aircrew the included photographs are varied and rare, many never being printed before. They also include a generous amount of colour.  The rarity of the photographs is itself a reason to purchase this book.

Yet again Osprey has published an excellent volume on a topic of interest to many.

Highly Recommended.

Thanks to Osprey Publishing for the review sample

F-15E Strike Eagle Units in Combat 1990-2005
(Combat Aircraft 59)
Visit Osprey Publishing
Author: Steve Davies
Illustrator: Chris Davey
US Price: $19.95
UK Price: £12.99
Publisher: Osprey Publishing
Publish Date: November 5, 2005
Details: 96 pages; ISBN: 1841769096
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Review Copyright © 2005 by Ken Bowes
Page Created 26 December, 2005
Last updated 26 December, 2005

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