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Written by Raptor   
Article Index
Air-to-Ground Configuration
Air-to-Air Configuration
Components
Ejection/Launch Sequence
Technical Data
Sources
Forum Discussion
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ejector_launcher_imageThe F-15E Strike Eagle is equipped with four LAU-106/A ejector missile launchers to allow the installation of up to four AIM-7 Sparrow or AIM-120 AMRAAM missiles on the long inboard CFT pylons. While the lighter AIM-120 can also be installed to the aircraft´s underwing stations (LAU-128/A rail launchers), the heavier AIM-7 can only be launched from the LAU-106/A ejector launchers.

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There are two LAU-106/A units integrated to each of the aircraft´s long inboard CFT pylons. While the aft LAU-106/A launchers are always located between the center and the aft BRU-47/A bomb racks, the location of the forward LAU-106/A launcher depends on wether the corresponding pylon is used in an air-to-ground or air-to-air configuration.

Air-to-Ground Configuration

When the inboard CFT pylon is operated in an air-to-ground configuration the forward LAU-106/A launcher STA-3C (left CFT) or STA-7C (right CFT) is located in a reserved stowage area between the forward and the center BRU-47/A bomb racks.

ejector_launcher_config_ag

In this configuration all three BRU-47/A bomb racks of the inboard CFT pylon are fully operational and can be used to carry the full variety of air-to-ground ordnance.

Since the aft LAU-106/A launcher of the pylon is also operational, a mixed loadout of air-to-ground ordnance on the forward BRU-47/A bomb rack and an air-to-air missile on the aft LAU-106/A launcher is also possible. In this (very rare) case the weapon on the forward bomb rack would have to be released first in order to achieve enough clearance to launch the missile from the aft LAU-106/A launcher.

Air-to-Air Configuration

When the pylon is operated in an air-to-air configuration the forward LAU-106/A launcher STA-3C (left CFT) or STA-7C (right CFT) and the forward BRU-47/A bomb racks LCT-3 (left CFT) or RCT-3 (right CFT) change position.

ejector_launcher_config_aa

Now the distance between the forward and aft LAU-106/A launchers is wide enough to carry two air-to-air missiles on the same pylon. Again, the missile on the forward station has to be launched first in order to achieve enough clearance for the launch of the missile from the aft station.

Components

Each LAU-106/A launcher has two ejector piston assemblies which push the missile away from the aircraft during launch. The forward ejector piston is equipped with a missile specific semi-circular swaybrace which prevents the installed missile from swaying around its longitudinal axis during flight. Though the swaybrace can remain on the launcher when no missile is carried, it is normally removed when the pylon is in the air-to-ground configuration in order to achieve enough clearance to savely carry and release air-to-ground ordnance. The T-shaped ejector foot mounted to the launcher´s aft ejector piston is small enough to permanently remain on the launcher.

ejector_launcher_components

Ejection/Launch Sequence

The LAU-106/A missile launcher's ejection/launch sequence will begin with the ignition of the launcher's gas generating cartridges, which are installed in the launcher breech and provide all the energy to unlock the launcher mechanism and eject the missile.

Gas pressure, generated by the ignited cartridges, operates a series of linkages and bellcranks in the launcher which unlatch the missile hooks and release the missile.

At the same time the missile hooks are opening, gas pressure enters the top of the forward and aft ejector piston assemblies (see illustration above), forcing the pistons downwards. The ejector feet at the lower end of the pistons push the missile down and away from the launching aircraft.

At this instant, the missile is still electrically connected to the launcher through a thin motor fire cable which contains a length of encapsulated coil wire. During launch, the cable is pulled from its coiled position permitting a sufficient clearance between the launching aircraft and the missile prior to rocket motor ignition.The signal for motor ignition is controlled by the PACS and is transmitted by the motor fire cable, which shears free from the missile after ignition.

The LAU-106/A launcher also provides power and data transfer to the missile up to the instant of separation through an electrical umbilical plug, which also contains a safety feature to prevent the motor fire signal from reaching the missile prior to the ejection sequence.

The launcher's safety switch, which interrupts the electrical signal to both ejector cartridges and the motor fire assembly, is actuated as long as the missile launcher safety pin is installed. When the safety pin is fully inserted into the launcher's safety pin hole (see illustration above) the LAU-106/A launcher is both mechanically and electrically safe.

Technical Data

Parameter Value
Length
Width
Height
137.9 cm (54.3")
10.2 cm (4.0")
20.3 cm (8.0")

Sources

  • US Air Force
  • USAF Capt. Randall 'Hacker' Haskin

Steve Davies:

Boeing F-15E Strike Eagle - All-Weather Attack Aircraft

2003, Airlife Books, ISBN 1840 373 784

Hardcover, 7.7" x 10" (19.5 cm x 25 cm), 208 pages, over 250 images

It has taken over 18 months to research and write, and the author estimates that as much as 70% of the text is new information that has yet to reach the public domain. It is, without question, the most detailed, well-researched and authoritative analysis of the F-15E Strike Eagle ever written. It is an absolute must-have for all F-15E enthusiasts, many info within this site comes from this book.

F-15E.info rating: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Forum Discussion

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Last Updated on Saturday, 27 August 2011
 


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Discuss (1 posts)
Ejector Launcher
Oct 08 2014 14:50:28
A couple of minor things that are bugging me. At no time has any position on the CFT been referred to as a "pylon." All station on the CFT are numbered 1-6 and referred to as such. Additionally in regards to the ejection sequence, only the AIM-7 had a missile-motor-fire-wire which was connected to the missile for a short time after ejection. The AIM-120 does not use such a wire and received all of its electronic communication until separation from the launcher. Finally, with the CFT in A/G mode, LAU-106's may be removed from the CFT and replaced with dummy adapters. This allows for better utilization of LAU-106 resources.
#832

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