F15E Strike Eagle proven capable of carrying 15 JDAMs on single sortie

The 85th Test and Evaluation Squadron successfully flew an F-15E Strike Eagle carrying six JDAMs (Joint Direct Attack Munition) on a single side of the aircraft on Feb 22, 2021, showcasing a proof of concept for Agile Combat Employment, known as “ACE.”

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F15E Strike Eagle proven capable of carrying 15 JDAMs on single sortie F-15E Strike Eagle carrying six JDAMs on a single side of the aircraft on Feb 22, 2021 (Picture source: US Air Force)

“Currently the F-15E is authorized to carry a max of nine JDAMs, but the success of this test expands that to 15 JDAMs,” said Maj. Andrew Swanson, F-15E Weapons System Officer, 85th TES.

“Strike Eagle can now carry enough JDAMs for an active combat mission, land at a remote location, and reload itself and/or another aircraft – such as an F-35 or F-22 – for additional combat sorties,” said Lt. Col. Jacob Lindaman, commander, 85th TES.

While not all the JDAMs carried can be employed in a single mission, this proves the Strike Eagle’s ability to ferry JDAMs while simultaneously releasing them on an active combat mission – a key component to the ACE model. The combat tactic of reloading in a remote location previously took two C-130s to carry the necessary munitions and personnel. Once at the location, the JDAMs had to be assembled, taking extra time. The additional carriage on the F-15E allows fully assembled JDAMs to be transported, reducing the requirement to just one C-130 and saving eliminating onsite bomb building.

Coupling this capability with integrated combat turns increases operations tempo, getting armed fighters back in to the fight even faster, explained Lindaman.

Swanson, the director for this test, shared that establishing this new tactic filled a CAF request that originated at an annual Weapons and Tactics Conference and could be employed in theater in as little as one month.

While the 85th Test and Evaluation Squadron is ensuring the readiness and lethality of the Strike Eagle’s tactics, operational units recently practiced the ACE model at Agile Flag 21-1.

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