The F-15N Sea Eagle – The F-14’s Rival

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The F-15 Eagle is a truly great aircraft that was developed over the lessons of air combat learned in Vietnam. 

In the 1970s, McDonnell Douglas proposed a navalized version of the F-15, the F-15N Sea Eagle. 

Most Capable Air Superiority Aircraft

The Sea Engle was built to be the most capable air superiority aircraft possible at the time. 

It has expanded from its original design parameters becoming not just a formidable fighter, but a first-class strike aircraft. 

F-14 Tomcat

Perhaps one aircraft that can truly match the Sea Engle is the F-14 Tomcat. This epic aircraft is a naval contemporary to the F-15. 

The Tomcat used the most powerfully advanced sensors and weaponry available with a two-man crew to maximize efficiency in long-haul missions. 

Impressive Performance

The Tomcat also managed to combine this with an impressive dogfight performance that can outmatch just about anything before it, and in the right circumstances match that of the new F-15 Eagle that was in advanced development at the same time for the USAF. 

F-15N Sea Eagle

The F-15N Sea Eagle was a comparatively straightforward navilization of the F-15A. Additional features added to the naval F-15 were folding wing tips, allowing it to more efficiently onboard carriers, and a stronger tail hook. 

It would have utilized the same AN/APG-63 radar as its land-based kin, and the standard weapon fit of four Sparrow and four Sidewinder missiles, with a 20mm Vulcan cannon. 

A “What If” Aircraft

Unfortunately, the Sea Eagle remained a design study and proposal only. Although it was a much faster, lighter, and cheaper alternative to the F-14, modifying the F-15 with folding wings, and a much sturdy landing gear for carriers negated its advantages.