The F-15 was built following the Vietnam War, and it was created to provide a full 360 degree visibility with a large canopy covering the cockpit, and a high power-to-weight ratio, unlike its predecessor the F-4. It took full advantage of the new electronic improvements that had been developed, and it was designed to work closely with the AWACS (airborne warning and control system) aircraft. The F-15 was outfitted with the latest Doppler radar system, inertial navigation, and heads-up display (HUD) for instrumentation. Unlike the F-4, the F-15 did not leave a long trail of smoke behind it to give its position away during combat. Its first flight was in July of 1972, and it became operational in 1974 with the 58th Tactical Fighter Training Wing. It has become the backbone of the USAF fighter force.
The first flight of the F-16 was in January of 1978. It was used in combat with Israel in the strike against the Osirak nuclear reactor near Bagdad, Iraq. The round-trip flight was 1,200 miles and the attack was completed without refueling. The F-16 was also used along with the F-15 during the 1982 invasion of Lebanon and it was very successful. Eighty Syrian fighters and five helicopters were shot down without any Israeli losses.
It was an incredible victory for the F-15 Eagle and the F-16 Falcon. Many countries would like to own these planes, however, they are very expensive aircrafts. Although the F-15 and the F-16 are great planes; technology is jumping ahead so rapidly that they will eventually be out of service. However, the F-15 and the F-16, at least for now, are still the best of the best!