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Written by Sabc & Raptor   
Article Index
Loadout #1 - SCUD Hunting (Lead)
Loadout #2 - SCUD Hunting (Wing A)
Loadout #3 - SCUD Hunting (Wing B)
Loadout #4 - Tank Plinking (Lead)
Loadout #5 - Tank Plinking (Wing)
Loadout #6 - Interdiction (Wing)
Loadout #7 - Area Denial
Loadout #8 - Anti-Armor
Loadout #9 - General Purpose
Loadout #10 - The First Night
Loadout #11 - Travel
Disclaimer
Sources
Forum Discussion
Related Articles

In this article we list 11 typical F-15E Strike Eagle loadout configurations used in Operation 'Desert Storm' (ODS).

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The 4th Fighter Wing, stationed at Seymour-Johnson AFB, NC, was the first combat unit equipped with the brend new F-15E Strike Eagle. Initial Operational Capability ( IOC) was reached on 2nd August 1990. As a fateful coincidence, Saddam Hussein chose the same day to occupy Kuwait. One week later on 9th August, 48 Strike Eagles started to deploy to Saudi-Arabia with pilots and WSO's from the 336th FS (Rocketeers). At the time being these 48 jets were the only strike force to oppose the Iraqi army poised behind the borderline of Saudi-Arabia. Operation Desert Shield began with lots of training sorties over the Saudi desert. Operation Desert Shield turned into Operation Desert Storm (ODS) on 17th January 1991 when president Bush gave the order to start offensive actions in order to drive the Iraqi army out from Kuwait.

F-15E's were deep in action from the first days of ODS. They started with night attacks against fixed SCUD launch sites, but soon daylight raids followed and their target 'portfolio' had been widened as well. When Saddam Hussein started to launch SCUD missiles against Israel, it was the Strike Eagle force - especially the 335th FS (Chiefs) who were too deployed in the meantime - which received tasking to roam over Western Iraq and hunt for elusive mobile SCUD launchers by the help of their powerful LANTIRN systems, making the best use of their long range and extended patrol time.

Towards the end of the conflict (with the start of the land offensive) F-15E's flew CAS and 'tank plinking' missions. An especially skillful use of an LGB resulted in an A/A kill against a MI-24 helicopter gunship.

ODS ended on 1st March 1991. After this date jets from the 336th FS (Chiefs) flew missions supporting Operation Provide Comfort until August 1990.

Loadout #1 - SCUD Hunting (Lead)

Jets in an F-15E pair (that is flight lead and wingman) on a SCUD hunting mission used different loadout configurations. One reason behind this was that this way they had a more flexible payload at their disposal, the other reason is that LANTIRN targeting pods were in short supply, hence only the flight lead carried one. The wingman generally carried dumb bombs (note that LGB's were even declared operational on the F-15E somewhere mid-conflict). This config of the flight lead makes use of GBU-10's. Since the A/A threat was almost nil at that time, only short range Sidewinders were carried. External drop tanks were a must for the long flights into Western Iraq. Note that this config is so heavy that the jet's total weight would be above the maximum takeoff limit, so most probably some of the fuel tanks were not filled to the max before takeoff.

Loadout details:

Pcs Air-to-Ground Weapons Station Weight
5x GBU-10 Paveway II LCT-1
LCT-3
STA-5
RCT-1
RCT-3
2,562 lbs
2,562 lbs
2,562 lbs
2,562 lbs
2,562 lbs
Pcs Air-to-Air Weapons Station Weight
4x AIM-9L/M Sidewinder STA-2A
STA-2B
STA-8A
STA-8B
191 lbs
191 lbs
191 lbs
191 lbs
Pcs Miscellaneous Station Weight
1x AN/AAQ-13 LANTIRN Navigation Pod right intake 450 lbs
1x AN/AAQ-14 LANTIRN Targeting Pod left intake 549 lbs
2x 610 gal drop tank STA-2
STA-8
250 lbs
250 lbs

Weight distribution:

Item Weight % of total
Aircraft 37,000 lbs
45.7 %
Fuel
28,927 lbs
35.7%
Air-to-Ground weaponry
12,810 lbs
15.8 %
Air-to-Air weaponry
764 lbs 0.9 %
Miscellaneous load
1,499 lbs
1.9 %
Total weight (max. 81,000 lbs) 81,000 lbs
100.0 %

Photos:

No photos are available for this loadout configuration.

Loadout #2 - SCUD Hunting (Wing A)

This is one of the wingman configurations used together with ODS loadout #1. In this configuration the wingman carries 6 CBU-87 cluster bombs, which are perfect for mobile SCUD launchers or against SCUD missiles on fixed sites. LANTIRN targeting pod is missing from this config. This loadout uses 4 Sidewinders for A/A and drop tanks for extended range and patrol time.

Loadout details:

Pcs Air-to-Ground Weapons Station Weight
6x CBU-87 Cluster Bomb LCT-1
LCT-2
LCT-3
RCT-1
RCT-2
RCT-3
950 lbs
950 lbs
950 lbs
950 lbs
950 lbs
950 lbs
Pcs Air-to-Air Weapons Station Weight
4x AIM-9L/M Sidewinder STA-2A
STA-2B
STA-8A
STA-8B
191 lbs
191 lbs
191 lbs
191 lbs
Pcs Miscellaneous Station Weight
1x AN/AAQ-13 LANTIRN Navigation Pod right intake 450 lbs
2x 610 gal drop tank STA-2
STA-8
250 lbs
250 lbs

Weight distribution:

Item Weight % of total
Aircraft 37,000 lbs
49.4 %
Fuel
30,517 lbs
40.7%
Air-to-Ground weaponry
5,700 lbs
7.6 %
Air-to-Air weaponry
764 lbs 1.0 %
Miscellaneous load
950 lbs
1.3 %
Total weight (max. 81,000 lbs) 74,931 lbs
100.0 %

Photos:

No photos are available for this loadout configuration.

Loadout #3 - SCUD Hunting (Wing B)

This is one of the wingman configurations used together with ODS loadout #1. In this configuration the wingman carries 12 (!) Mk-82 general purpose dumb bombs. LANTIRN targeting pod is missing from this config. This loadout uses 4 Sidewinders for A/A and drop tanks for extended range and patrol time.

Loadout details:

Pcs Air-to-Ground Weapons Station Weight
12x Mk-82 LDGP Bomb LCT-1
LCT-2
LCT-3
LCT-4
LCT-5
LCT-6
RCT-1
RCT-2
RCT-3
RCT-4
RCT-5
RCT-6
500 lbs
500 lbs
500 lbs
500 lbs
500 lbs
500 lbs
500 lbs
500 lbs
500 lbs
500 lbs
500 lbs
500 lbs
Pcs Air-to-Air Weapons Station Weight
4x AIM-9L/M Sidewinder STA-2A
STA-2B
STA-8A
STA-8B
191 lbs
191 lbs
191 lbs
191 lbs
Pcs Miscellaneous Station Weight
1x AN/AAQ-13 LANTIRN Navigation Pod right intake 450 lbs
2x 610 gal drop tank STA-2
STA-8
250 lbs
250 lbs

Weight distribution:

Item Weight % of total
Aircraft 37,000 lbs
49.2 %
Fuel
30,517 lbs
40.6%
Air-to-Ground weaponry
6,000 lbs
8.0 %
Air-to-Air weaponry
764 lbs 1.0 %
Miscellaneous load
950 lbs
1.3 %
Total weight (max. 81,000 lbs) 75,231 lbs
100.0 %

Photos:

No photos are available for this loadout configuration.

Loadout #4 - Tank Plinking (Lead)

The GBU-12 is ideal for striking tanks even when they are on the move. Since LANTIRN targeting pods were in short supply, often only the flight lead jet was equipped with it and when the wingman was required to release a GBU-12, the flight lead 'buddy-lased' for him - that is used the targeting laser of his own targeting pod to illuminate the target for his wingman's bomb. Since the A/A threat was almost nil at that time, only short range Sidewinders were carried. External drop tanks were used for extended range and patrol time.

Loadout details:

Pcs Air-to-Ground Weapons Station Weight
4x GBU-12 Paveway II LCT-3
LCT-6
RCT-3
RCT-6
800 lbs
800 lbs
800 lbs
800 lbs
Pcs Air-to-Air Weapons Station Weight
4x AIM-9L/M Sidewinder STA-2A
STA-2B
STA-8A
STA-8B
191 lbs
191 lbs
191 lbs
191 lbs
Pcs Miscellaneous Station Weight
1x AN/AAQ-13 LANTIRN Navigation Pod right intake 450 lbs
1x AN/AAQ-14 LANTIRN Targeting Pod left intake 549 lbs
2x 610 gal drop tank STA-2
STA-8
250 lbs
250 lbs

Weight distribution:

Item Weight % of total
Aircraft 37,000 lbs
50.7 %
Fuel
30,517 lbs
41.8%
Air-to-Ground weaponry
3,200 lbs
4.4 %
Air-to-Air weaponry
764 lbs 1.0 %
Miscellaneous load
1,499 lbs
2.1 %
Total weight (max. 81,000 lbs) 72,980 lbs
100.0 %

Photos:

No photos are available for this loadout configuration.

Loadout #5 - Tank Plinking (Wing)

This is a wingman configurations used together with ODS loadout #4. In this configuration the wingman carries 8 GBU-12 LGB's for tank busting purposes. LANTIRN targeting pod is missing from this config. This loadout uses 4 Sidewinders for A/A and drop tanks for extended range and patrol time.

Loadout details:

Pcs Air-to-Ground Weapons Station Weight
8x GBU-12 Payeway II
LCT-1
LCT-3
LCT-4
LCT-6
RCT-1
RCT-3
RCT-4
RCT-6
800 lbs
800 lbs
800 lbs
800 lbs
800 lbs
800 lbs
800 lbs
800 lbs
Pcs Air-to-Air Weapons Station Weight
4x AIM-9L/M Sidewinder STA-2A
STA-2B
STA-8A
STA-8B
191 lbs
191 lbs
191 lbs
191 lbs
Pcs Miscellaneous Station Weight
1x AN/AAQ-13 LANTIRN Navigation Pod right intake 450 lbs
2x 610 gal drop tank STA-2
STA-8
250 lbs
250 lbs

Weight distribution:

Item Weight % of total
Aircraft 37,000 lbs
48.9 %
Fuel
30,517 lbs
40.3%
Air-to-Ground weaponry
6,400 lbs
8.5 %
Air-to-Air weaponry
764 lbs 1.0 %
Miscellaneous load
950 lbs
1.3 %
Total weight (max. 81,000 lbs) 75,631 lbs
100.0 %

Photos:

No photos are available for this loadout configuration.

Loadout #6 - Interdiction (Wing)

This is a wingman configuration against high value targets. The GBU-10 is big enough to be able to destroy bigger installations, while the lack of the LANTIRN targeting pod requires the flight lead (equipped by targeting pod) to 'buddy-lase' for the wingman. This loadout uses 4 Sidewinders for A/A and drop tanks for extended range and patrol time. Note that sometimes light gray WRM tanks were used instead of 'normal' drop tanks.

Loadout details:

Pcs Air-to-Ground Weapons Station Weight
4x GBU-10 Payeway II
LCT-1
LCT-3
RCT-1
RCT-3
2,562 lbs
2,562 lbs
2,562 lbs
2,562 lbs
Pcs Air-to-Air Weapons Station Weight
4x AIM-9L/M Sidewinder STA-2A
STA-2B
STA-8A
STA-8B
191 lbs
191 lbs
191 lbs
191 lbs
Pcs Miscellaneous Station Weight
1x AN/AAQ-13 LANTIRN Navigation Pod right intake 450 lbs
2x 610 gal drop tank STA-2
STA-8
250 lbs
250 lbs

Weight distribution:

Item Weight % of total
Aircraft 37,000 lbs
46.6 %
Fuel
30,517 lbs
38.4%
Air-to-Ground weaponry
10,248 lbs
12.9 %
Air-to-Air weaponry
764 lbs 1.0 %
Miscellaneous load
950 lbs
1.2 %
Total weight (max. 81,000 lbs) 79,479 lbs
100.0 %

Photos:

No photos are available for this loadout configuration.

Loadout #7 - Area Denial

This is the ultimate cluster bomb configuration, complete with not less than 12 (!) CBU-87 bombs. By the use of these a single F-15E can deny the enemy the use of huge areas. LANTIRN targeting pod is missing from this loadout configuration, however CBU-87 does not require one. 4 Sidewinders are for A/A and drop tanks are for extended range and patrol time. Note that sometimes light gray WRM tanks were used instead of 'normal' drop tanks.

Loadout details:

Pcs Air-to-Ground Weapons Station Weight
12x CBU-87 Cluster Bomb
LCT-1
LCT-2
LCT-3
LCT-4
LCT-5
LCT-6
RCT-1
RCT-2
RCT-3
RCT-4
RCT-5
RCT-6
950 lbs
950 lbs
950 lbs
950 lbs
950 lbs
950 lbs
950 lbs
950 lbs
950 lbs
950 lbs
950 lbs
950 lbs
Pcs Air-to-Air Weapons Station Weight
4x AIM-9L/M Sidewinder STA-2A
STA-2B
STA-8A
STA-8B
191 lbs
191 lbs
191 lbs
191 lbs
Pcs Miscellaneous Station Weight
1x AN/AAQ-13 LANTIRN Navigation Pod right intake 450 lbs
2x 610 gal drop tank STA-2
STA-8
250 lbs
250 lbs

Weight distribution:

Item Weight % of total
Aircraft 37,000 lbs
45.9 %
Fuel
30,517 lbs
37.8%
Air-to-Ground weaponry
11,400 lbs
14.1 %
Air-to-Air weaponry
764 lbs 0.9 %
Miscellaneous load
950 lbs
1.2 %
Total weight (max. 81,000 lbs) 80,631 lbs
100.0 %

Photos:

No photos are available for this loadout configuration.

Loadout #8 - Anti-Armor

This loadout configuration makes use of the Mk-20 Rockeye cluster bombs, which are used against area targets that require penetration to kill - that is mainly armor and vehicle concentrations. LANTIRN targeting pod is missing from this loadout configuration, however Mk-20 does not require one. Besides of 4 Sidewinders, 2 Sparrow missiles are loaded as well - making this a quite rare F-15E configuration during ODS. Drop tanks are for extended range and patrol time. Note that sometimes light gray WRM tanks were used instead of 'normal' drop tanks.

Loadout details:

Pcs Air-to-Ground Weapons Station Weight
6x Mk-20 Rockeye Cluster Bomb
LCT-1
LCT-2
LCT-3
LCT-4
LCT-5
LCT-6
505 lbs
505 lbs
505 lbs
505 lbs
505 lbs
505 lbs
Pcs Air-to-Air Weapons Station Weight
4x AIM-9L/M Sidewinder STA-2A
STA-2B
STA-8A
STA-8B
191 lbs
191 lbs
191 lbs
191 lbs
2x AIM-7F/M Sparrow STA-6C
STA-7C
510 lbs
510 lbs
Pcs Miscellaneous Station Weight
1x AN/AAQ-13 LANTIRN Navigation Pod right intake 450 lbs
2x 610 gal drop tank STA-2
STA-8
250 lbs
250 lbs

Weight distribution:

Item Weight % of total
Aircraft 37,000 lbs
50.5 %
Fuel
30,517 lbs
41.6%
Air-to-Ground weaponry
3,030 lbs
4.1 %
Air-to-Air weaponry
1,784 lbs 2.4 %
Miscellaneous load
950 lbs
1.3 %
Total weight (max. 81,000 lbs) 73,281 lbs
100.0 %

Photos:

No photos are available for this loadout configuration.

Loadout #9 - General Purpose

This is the "poor man's loadout" since it consists of one of the cheapest dumb bombs, the Mk-82. One can argue that the F-15E is too expensive and sophisticated platform to deliver 500 pound dumb bombs, however the 12-piece load is quite impressive. LANTIRN targeting pod is missing from this loadout configuration, however Mk-82 does not require one. 4 Sidewinders are for A/A and drop tanks are for extended range and patrol time. Note that sometimes light gray WRM tanks were used instead of 'normal' drop tanks.

Loadout details:

Pcs Air-to-Ground Weapons Station Weight
12x Mk-82 LDGP Bomb
LCT-1
LCT-2
LCT-3
LCT-4
LCT-5
LCT-6
RCT-1
RCT-2
RCT-3
RCT-4
RCT-5
RCT-6
500 lbs
500 lbs
500 lbs
500 lbs
500 lbs
500 lbs
500 lbs
500 lbs
500 lbs
500 lbs
500 lbs
500 lbs
Pcs Air-to-Air Weapons Station Weight
4x AIM-9M Sidewinder STA-2A
STA-2B
STA-8A
STA-8B
191 lbs
191 lbs
191 lbs
191 lbs
Pcs Miscellaneous Station Weight
1x AN/AAQ-13 LANTIRN Navigation Pod right intake 450 lbs
2x 610 gal drop tank STA-2
STA-8
250 lbs
250 lbs

Weight distribution:

Item Weight % of total
Aircraft 37,000 lbs
49.2 %
Fuel
30,517 lbs
40.6%
Air-to-Ground weaponry
6,000 lbs
8.0 %
Air-to-Air weaponry
764 lbs 1.0 %
Miscellaneous load
950 lbs
1.3 %
Total weight (max. 81,000 lbs) 75,231 lbs
100.0 %

Photos:

No photos are available for this loadout configuration.

Loadout #10 - The First Night

This loadout was used for F-15E airstrikes during the first night of the air war in Operation Desert Storm. Targets were SCUD launching sites into northwestern Iraq. It is a full loadout of Mk-20 Rockeye cluster bombs, only two Sidewinders and the usual external fuel tanks are carried.

Loadout details:

Pcs Air-to-Ground Weapons Station Weight
12x Mk-20 Rockeye Cluster Bomb
LCT-1
LCT-2
LCT-3
LCT-4
LCT-5
LCT-6
RCT-1
RCT-2
RCT-3
RCT-4
RCT-5
RCT-6
505 lbs
505 lbs
505 lbs
505 lbs
505 lbs
505 lbs
505 lbs
505 lbs
505 lbs
505 lbs
505 lbs
505 lbs
Pcs Air-to-Air Weapons Station Weight
2x AIM-9L/M Sidewinder STA-2A
STA-8B
191 lbs
191 lbs
Pcs Miscellaneous Station Weight
1x AN/AAQ-13 LANTIRN Navigation Pod right intake 450 lbs
2x 610 gal drop tank STA-2
STA-8
250 lbs
250 lbs

Weight distribution:

Item Weight % of total
Aircraft 37,000 lbs
49.4 %
Fuel
30,517 lbs
40.7%
Air-to-Ground weaponry
6,060 lbs
8.1 %
Air-to-Air weaponry
382 lbs 0.5 %
Miscellaneous load
950 lbs
1.3 %
Total weight (max. 81,000 lbs) 74,909 lbs
100.0 %

Photos:

No photos are available for this loadout configuration.

Loadout #11 - Travel

This loadout configuration is a very simple one, used for travelling. For this purpose, no A/G ordnance is carried, only two travel pods. 4 Sidewinders are for A/A and drop tanks are for extended range.

Loadout details:

Pcs Air-to-Ground Weapons Station Weight
2x Travel Pod
LCT-2
RCT-2
110 lbs
110 lbs
Pcs Air-to-Air Weapons Station Weight
4x AIM-9L/M Sidewinder STA-2A
STA-2B
STA-8A
STA-8B
191 lbs
191 lbs
191 lbs
191 lbs
Pcs Miscellaneous Station Weight
1x AN/AAQ-13 LANTIRN Navigation Pod right intake 450 lbs
2x 610 gal drop tank STA-2
STA-8
250 lbs
250 lbs

Weight distribution:

Item Weight % of total
Aircraft 37,000 lbs
53.3 %
Fuel
30,517 lbs
43.9%
Air-to-Ground weaponry
0 lbs
0.0 %
Air-to-Air weaponry
764 lbs 1.1 %
Miscellaneous load
1,170 lbs
1.7 %
Total weight (max. 81,000 lbs) 69,451 lbs
100.0 %

Photos:

Disclaimer

Please note that this list is by no means complete. If you have any solid information (or better yet: photos) of other loadouts used in this conflict, do not hesitate, please feel free to drop us an email to: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

We at F-15E.info always do our best to comply with OPSEC/COMSEC rules. All information presented here is based on public domain information and/or material previously cleared for official release by USAF.

Sources


William L. Smallwood:

Strike Eagle - Flying the F-15E in the Gulf War

2005, Potomac Books Inc, ISBN 978-1574888850

Paperback, 5" x 7.7" (12.7 cm x 19.6 cm), 230 pages

The book focuses on the 48 F-15Es and their aircrew who fought over Iraq. Flying a jet that was barely combat qualified when the war began, they had to cope with inexperience, spotty leadership, bureaucratic rigidity in higher command, fatigue of 2-3 missions per day and formidable Iraqi ground defenses. This thorough, readable account of state-of-the-art warfare is based on extensive interviews as well as documents.

F-15E.info rating: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED


Forum Discussion

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 31 May 2011
 


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