Atlantic Resolve 2015

You are here: Home>>Reports>>Atlantic Resolve >>2015

Part 1 - Air National Guard F-15s at Leeuwarden Air Base, The Netherlands

FF 2015-2016 F-15s


2nd Quarter 2015 "Eagles op Ljouwert" by Marinus Dirk Tabak


The surprise at Frisian Flag 2015 was the participation of US F-15 Eagles. The Eagles are present for a period of half a year in Europe as part of a theater Support Package, in the context of Operation Atlantic Resolve. In the context of this operation the USAF will increase presence in Europe, as a reaction to the events in Ukraine. The aircraft arrived in two groups of six on the 31st of March and the 1st of April. Six from the Florida ANG and six from the Oregon ANG. The arrival on March 31 was an adventure. Because of the weather, the arrival of the first group was delayed one day. On March 31 there was a western storm, the crossing was still made with the insertion 'we 'll see where we can land'. Along the way it turned out that it was blowing hard in Leeuwarden, but the on possible diversion airports in Britain and Germany it was as bad or even worse. Although it was a tuff case for the pilots the commander decided to land at Leeuwarden, finally with a happy ending. 

Responsible for the deployment is the 159th EFS, Expeditionairy Fighter Squadron. This is a composite unit led by the Florida ANG, 90% of the staff is from the Florida ANG, the remaining 10% has been completed by staff from the Oregon ANG and other ANG F-15 units and from the USAFE. After three months, the Oregon ANG takes over the leadership.

In the past Leeuwarden was regularly visited by American fighters. These were USAFE aircraft including F-15s from Bitburg AB, Spangdahlem AB and RAF Lakenheath. US-based airplanes were rare. In the period 1985-1990 various A-7Ds  made tankstops during their deployment. The 4th TFW with their SJ F-4Es landed in June 1989 during a deployment at Karup in Denmark several times for a fuel stop. A nice F-16A visitor was the commander of the 474th TFW, a diversion aircraft from a deployment at RAF Bentwaters in England. Earlier there was a detachment with six F-4Ds of the 417th TFS with KB tail code in February 1969. These were in West Germany as part of a Reforger deployment.

Although the F-15s are on average of about 30 years old, it is still a very capable airplane. Recently they were equipped with a new radar, with long distance advantages. Following an article with attention for the air-defense Eagles, the current units, the histories of the Florida and Oregon ANG Air Guard, and the histories of the present Eagles. Click on blue text to see full Introduction.

F-15 Eagle

The F-15 is the winner of the USAF F-X competition. In the late sixties the USAF formulated the specifications for an air superiority fighter. Following the experiences in Vietnam the F-X design had to cope with maneuverable aircraft and with the new generation of Soviet aircraft, the MiG-23 and MiG-25. On December 23, McDonnell was the declared winner with the F-15. The first F-15A made its first flight on July 27, 1972. In addition to the single-seat F-15A the two-seat TF-15A was put into production. The dual made its first flight in July 1973. On January 1, 1977, the two-seater was designated as F -15B.

In November 1974 the first F-15s were delivered to the 58th TFTW at Luke AFB. The first operational unit, the 1st TFW was at Langley AFB. A total of 365 F-15As and F-15Bs were delivered to the USAF.

In 1979 the improved F-15C and F-15D two-seater followed. These variants are equipped with the Production Eagle Package (PEP 2000) package, with 900 lb. additional internal fuel, and they can also be provided with conformal fuel tanks.

The F-15 Multi-stage Improvement Program (MSIP) started in February 1983 and the first production MSIP F-15C followed in 1985. Improvements included an upgraded internal computer, a programmable weapon control system (Programmable Armament Control Set) for improved versions of the AIM-7 Sparrow, AIM-9 Sidewinder and AIM-120A AMRAAM missiles, an expanded Tactical Electronic Warfare System with improved ALR-56C radar warning receiver and the ALQ-135 ECM countermeasures set.

The USAF received a total of 408 F-15Cs and 62 F-15Ds. Some of the F-15A / Bs were also improved with MSIP modifications. Among others, the 32nd FS at Soesterberg AFB in The Netherlands was equipped with these modified aircraft in 1991-1994.

Improved Radar

The latest produced 43 F-15Cs are equipped with the Hughes APG-70 radar. This radar was developed for the F-15E. These aircraft were also referred to as Enhanced Eagles. The radars of the previously delivered F-15s were then modified to the APG-63 (V) 1, including the 43 aircraft with the APG-70 radar received the enhanced APG-63 (V) 1.

Eighteen F-15s from the 3rd Wing at Elmendorf AFB, Alaska, were from 2000 quipped with the APG-63 (V) 2 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar. The original

F-15 radar, the APG-63 (V) 0 version, is a classic radar with mechanical moving dish. The AESA has a fixed antenna where the radar beam (beam) is electronically controlled. The AESA is more sensitive due to reduced mechanical noise, constant track updates and enhanced capabilities to track multiple targets simultaneously. The AMRAAM AIM-120 missiles can be fully deployed with the AESA where multiple targets can be attacked simultaneously. The APG-63V (2) is in fact a pilot-version (0 or test series-series). The 3rd Wing is now equipped with the F-22 and the 18 Eagles went to the 1st FW and finally to the 18th Wing. The production version of the radar is the APG-63 (V) 3. This version was delivered from October 2007 and the planning is to equip a total of 178 Eagles with this radar. Also new is the Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System (JHMCS).

In the period 2008-2010, nearly 500 USAF jets were taken out of service, including 250 of the 449 F-15s. The majority was put into storage at the 309th AMARG at Davis-Monthan AFB. The remaining 250 Eagles will stay in service until 2020-2030.

F-15s in The Netherlands with the 32nd TFS at Soesterberg AB/Camp New Amsterdam

Soesterberg AFB F-15s

The first two F-15As for the 32nd arrived in September 1978. In 1979 the squadron was at full strength with 18 F-15As and two F-15Bs. During the conversion period the 1st TFW Eagles were temporarily stationed at Soesterberg AB.

From June 1980 to November 1980 eighteen F-15Cs and two F-15Ds were delivered. The older F-15A / Bs went to the 49th TFW/HO.  In February-March 1983 the strength was increased with the arrival of six FY81 aircraft, five Cs and one D. During the first Gulf crisis around Kuwait the majority of the 32nd TFS Eagles was delivered to the Air Force of Saudi Arabia in 1990 and partly replaced by airplanes from Bitburg AB in West-Germany.

In October 1991 the first F-15A/B MSIP Multi-stage Improvement Program (MSIP) Eagles arrived, an MLU version of A and B. These Eagles were better equipped than the C / Ds which they replaced. After the end of the Cold War it was decided to lift the 32nd FS. The last F-15s left on January 13, 1994.

In the period 1978-1992 there were several Eagle deployments in The Netherlands, both at Soesterberg AB and at Gilze-Rijen AB.


At this moment the following USAF-units are equipped with the F-15C/D. USAFE - The 493rd FS/LN from the 48th FW based at RAF Lakenheath in the UK will be disbanded in FY2017 (as of October 1, 2016). PACAF - Received the first F-15 in October 2000 with the APG-63 (V) 3 radar. It was planned that all 54 Eagles should have new radars at the end of 2014. ACC - Nellis AFB, 57th Wing, USAF Fighter Weapons School, WA yellow-black checkered tail bands, 433rd WS (Weapons Squadron) F-15C / D, F-22A, to provide training for instructors weapon. Elgin AFB, 53rd Wing, 422nd TES (Test & Evaluation Squadron), OT green-black checkered tail bands A-10C, F-15C/D/E, F-16C/D, F-22A, F-35A and HH-60G, 85th TES (Test & Evaluation Squadron), OT checkered tail bands F-15C/D/E, F-16C/D. AFMC - Elgin AFB, 96th TW (Test Wing), 40th FLASH ET, the F-15s with white tail bands containing five red diamonds. F-15C/D/E, F-16C/D, A-10C. 

ANG - The US defense is almost entirely in the hands of the ANG. The main fighter is the F-15. The units are as follows:

The Air National Guard units report directly to the Governor of the State and are financed by the state. If the unit will be mobilized than they are under the command of the USAF Command to which they are assigned. The aircraft will come from the USAF. Within the Florida ANG currently serves 1/3 regular (full-time) staff, the rest have a job in the civil society. Once a month there is a weekend where all the staff come together and their is flying. If there is staff available during the week than they may fly also.The USAF and the ANG want that every pilot will join a Flag exercise on a average of once a year. For example, Red Flag, Maple Flag and Red Flag Alaska. This year (2015) it will be Frisian Flag and Anatolian Eagle at Konya,Turkey, in June.

Following experiences in Vietnam, where the mobilized units had difficulty to fit into the operations, the employability of the ANG was improved and they got access to modern equipment. The Expeditionary units were deployed in the first Gulf War, mainly with tanker and transport units. Since then, the EFS squadrons are frequently deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Florida ANG, 125th Fighter Wing, 159th Fighter Squadron, Jacksonville IAP 

The squadron has its origins in the 352nd FS of the 353rd FG, part of the 8th Air Force stationed in England, from June 1943 equipped with the P-47 and later with the P-51. It was disbanded in the of fall 1945 and was assigned to the Florida National Guard on May 24,1946. Formally accepted by the Governor of Florida on August 30,1946, and was federally recognized on 9 February 1947. The Florida ANG was equipped with the P-51D Mustang at Imeson Airport. Renamed as the 159th FSJ (Jetpropelled) on August 1, 1948, and was equipped with the P-80 (later referred to as the F-80). The Florida ANG was mobilized on October 10, 1950, and was with two other ANG squadrons stationed at George AFB, CA as part of the 116th Fighter Group (Fighter Bomber Group as of 1 Oct. 1950) and equipped with the F-84E Thunderjet. The 116th went by ship to Misawa AB  in Japan in July-August 1951, and was responsible for the air defense and flew several combat missions over Korea. It was demobilized on July 9,1952, and on July 10 it became the 159th Fighter Bomber Squadron. The Thunderjets and equipment remained in Japan. Click on blue text to see full history.

It became Imeson again equipped with the P-51D. Received six months later the F-51H Mustang and became  the 159th Fighter Bomber Squadron Augmented (FBSA). Besides  the Mustangs the Florida ANG also had the B-26 (Photo) on strength for target towing and the C-45 and C-47 for transport. In 1954 it would be equipped with the F-86, but the squadron received only four Sabres. The 159th was actually equipped with the F-80C Shooting Star. During the conversion period they had no less than nine types on strength, the F-51D, F-51H, F-80C, F-86A, T-6, T-33, C-45, C-47 and C-54. In July 1955 it became an air defense squadron named the 159th FIS (Fighter Interceptor Squadron). Group status was granted on July 1,1956, as the 125th FG. It received in August 1956 the F-86D, a version of the Sabre radar, a fighter for all weather conditions. From June 1959 followed the MLU version of the D, the F-86L. From January 1, 1957, the squadron took on the Air Defence Command alert task for the area around Jacksonville.

A major step was on July 1,1960, the conversion to the Convair F-102A Delta Dagger, a supersonic fighter for all weather conditions with a then advanced and complex weapon system. On October 24,1968, the Florida ANG moved to newly built facilities at Jacksonville International Airport, and the Delta Daggers were replaced in 1970 by better equipped ex USAFE 32nd FIS ones that had flown a short period with the Maine ANG. The FG became the 125th FIG on October 1,1972. In the fall of 1974 the F-106A / B Delta Dart was the successor of the Dagger, the Florida ANG received thirteen F-106As and two B trainers. When the 194th FIS of the California ANG received their F-4Ds, they moved six singles and a dual in late 1983 to the Florida ANG which came on strength with 22 aircraft. In the period from about 1968 the Air Defence Command was sharply reduced. As a result of that the Air Defense task went to the Tactical Air Command on October 1, 1979, and the ADC was disbanded. The Florida ANG was added to TAC. 

On September 5,1986, the first F-16s arrived and in January 1987 the conversion to the F-16A / B followed. The Florida ANG with their F-16s was the first F-16 unit that accepted the Air Defence Alert task which started on April 1,1987. And in 1989-90 equipped with the Air Defence (ADF) version of the F-16. In the fall of 1990 a stylized (oblique) FL tail code was applied to the Vipers.

On the 15th of March 1992 the designations of the units were changed from 159th and 125th FIS to FIG 159th FS and 125th FG and on August 1, 1995 from Group to Wing.

In 1995-1996 the Georgia ANG received the B-1B. Their F-15s (MSIP?) went to Florida ANG, and the last ex George ANG F-15A arrived on June 27, 2005. In January 1996 the last F-16 went to the AMARG. The paint is still the same as it was applied to the F-15s. In 1995-1996 they had small individual numerical codes on the nose, 01-16 for the 

F-15As and 16-17 for the F-15Bs. The individual rating codes were applied to the Florida ANG aircraft  since 1970. Later received additional F-15As became 18-20. In 2007 the he Florida ANG received the first F-15Cs. The conversion was long and finally in September 2010 the last F-15As departed. One year later than the F-15A of the 123rd FS Oregon ANG, what was the last F-15A according to the USAF. In 2010, the Florida ANG received a total of fourteen other F-15Cs and one F-15D from the disbanded 390th FS. The better-equipped ones replaced the older F-15Cs and the last F-15As. On April 12, 2010, the Florida ANG presented their first with the APG-63 (V) 3 radar-equipped F-15C. On September 23, 2010, it received the last two former 390th FS F-15Cs.

The F-15s from the Florida ANG participated many times in deployments and detachments. Known are:

-April-May 1998 an alert detachment at Keflavik, Iceland;

-May-July 1999 to Incirlik, Turkey for Northern Watch;

-Agile Archer 2000 deployment in April-May 2000 to Laage, Germany, to practice with the based MiG-29s;

-In late 2000 Prince Sultan AB, Saudi Arabia, Southern Watch;

-In September-October 2002 the Florida ANG hosted at NAS Key West, Florida, Agile Archer 2002. Along with 16 US Navy squadrons of F / A-18 and F-5Es they practiced with

 German MiG-29s;

-June 2014 participation during a block of 14 days in Red Flag Alaska.

Transport and support

For transport the Florida ANG had C-45, C-47 and C-54s. Until 1987 a C-131 with the task of transporting the governor.  A few T-33A were on strength until 1988 for training, dropping chaffs and as a target aircraft. In February 1990 the Florida ANG received a C-130H Hercules. Some C-130H were borrowed from the 105th AS Tennessee ANG. Also some time a C-130E was on strength. It is unclear what the role of the Hercules was. One of the C-130s had a dark tail band including JACKSONVILLE. In 1992 a C-26 Merlin followed, later modified and designated as RC-26B for anti-drug operations. The Merlins left and went to the Puerto Rico ANG, and were on detachment.

325th FW Associated

The Florida ANG also provided instructors and personnel to the 325th FW at Tyndall AFB, Flordia. In this context, the Florida ANG became an associate unit and was activated at Tyndall AFB on October 1, 1999, designated as Detachment 1, Southeast Air Defense Sector (SEADS). The 325th Fighter Wing Air National Guard Fighter Associated Unit was officially activated at Tyndall Air Force Base on October 1,1999. The unit was officially designated by May 1, 2007 as Detachment 1, Florida Air National Guard Headquarters. In 2010, the 325th F-15 training was terminated and the detachment of the Florida ANG was lifted.

F-102A 56-1357 on the ramp of Jacksonville in July 1968. This aircraft was lost on 2 December 1969. [Collection Marinus Dirk Tabak]

F-102A 56-1367/04, on the ramp, is ex ADWC at Tyndall AFB. This aircraft replaced F-102A 56-0986/04 which was dropped from the inventory as to museum status. Jacksonville June 1971.  [Collection Marinus Dirk Tabak]

F-102A 56-0987/05, at his homebase in June 1971. 21 Daggers departed Soesterberg AFB in The Netherlands  in Julyy 1969 for the USA for further service with the ANG. Most went to the 132nd FIS Maine ANG. In November 1969 they were replaced by the F-101 Voodoo, and passed on to the Florida ANG. [Collection Marinus Dirk Tabak]

TF-102A 54-1363/19, The Florida ANG was not lucky with their duals. This aircraft was lost in on 13 December 1973, and 54-1370 on 10 March 1971. [Photo Jacksonville July 1971 - Collection Marinus Dirk Tabak]

F-106A 58-0760 was received in July 1974 from the Michigan ANG and was painted in a Bicentennial scheme to commorate 200th years of USA. It was named ‘City of Jacksonville’. [Photo Jacksonville 20 February 1976 - Collection Marinus Dirk Tabak]

F-106A 58-0786/14 at Jacksonville in October 1982.[Collection Marinus Dirk Tabak]

On final during Frisian Flag 2015 on April 20, F-15A 86-0161 [©Ton van Schaik.]

F-15C 85-0096/EG 60FS-Commander. As 159FIS aircraft present at Leeuwarden AB. [Collection Marinus Dirk Tabak]

The 159FIS had two F-106Bs. One of them 57-2509 photographed on the taxiway of Tyndall AFB during WTM1982 in October 1982.[©Volkert Jan van den Berg]

On September 5, 1986, the first F-16s arrived and in January 1987 and conversion to the F-16A/B followed. [Collection Volkert Jan van den Berg]

William Tell Meet 1986. The 159 FIS was invited back as range patrol aircraft and targets as necessary and were painted with a solid color tail as a Visual ID Target during some of the mission profiles. None of these ID Targets competed. These markings were some kind of press on material that was just pulled off upon return at Jacksonville and reverted to normal markings. Six F-106As participated. [Photos ©Volkert Jan van den Berg]

Oregon ANG, 142nd Fighter Wing, 123rd Fighter Squadron, Portland ANGB

Was founded on April 18, 1941 as the 123rd Observation Squadron at Swan Island Airport, Portland. Equipped with the R-47 and R-49 the squadron was mobilized on September 15, 1941. Moved ten days later to Gray Field, Ft. Lewis, WA and flew anti-submarine patrols over the Pacific Ocean. It was stationed in 1942-1944 in several states and among others equipped with the A-20, B-25, P-38 and P-39. On April 2, 1943, the designation was changed to the 123rd Reconnaissance Squadron (Bombardment) and on August 11 1943, to the 35th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron, equipped with the P-38F-5, the photo reconnaissance version of the P-38. After training in the USA the 35th participated in the war from September 1944 and was stationed in China. It returned back to the USA in September 1945 and the 35th PRS was deactivated in New Jersey on November 7, 1945. After the war, the nameplate was assigned as the 123rd Fighter Squadron to the Oregon National Guard on May 24, 1946. Click on blue text to see the full history.

It received federal approval on August 30, 1946 as the 123rd Fighter Squadron (SE) at Portland Municipal Airport equipped with the P-51D Mustang. It was mobilized on March 1, 1951, most of the staff was spread across the Western Air Defense Force. One part went to Chicago O'Hare and was temporarily part of the 142nd Fighter Wing equipped with the F-84C Thunderjet. On December 1,1952, the 123rd came again under the command of the governor of the state of Oregon and was first again equipped with the P-51D. In the summer of 1953 the 123th switched to the F-86A Sabre. This was followed by:

F-4C 64-0776 has a typical history for F-4Cs which served in South East Asia in the 1960s. Flyaway 29 july 1965, accepted 20 Aug 1965, delivered 2 November 1965 to the 33rd TFW at Eglin AFB, to Dan Nang, Vietnam initially with the 35th TFW from 28 March 1966, then the 366th TFW 20 october 1966 - 7 March 1968, 389th TFS coded AK (May 1967). On 23 April 1967 a MiG-21 was shot down with an AIM-7 by R. Anderson and F. Kjer. Followed on 22 May 1967 2 MiG-21s were shot down by R.Titus/M.Zimmer with an AIM-9 and 20 Mm. gunfire. The F-4C were replaced by the F-4D and 776 went on 7 march 1968 to the 347th TFW at Yokota AB, Japan, coded GG for the 35th TFS. 7 April 1971 to 18th TFW at Kadena AB, Okinawa, coded ZG, for the 67th TFS 20 April 1975 to the 170th TFS Illinois ANG, had in 1976 a bicentennial fin scheme for 200 years  USA, standard markings from 1977 with a yellow fin tip. 26 september 1980 to the 123rd FIS Oregon ANG, in SEA camouflage with a yellow fin tip. AD Gray in 1983, named Miss Piggy with artwork. Had a hard landing, temporarily withdrawn, and repaired with the wings of an other F-4C stored at MASDC. Boeing, Whichita for rework January-February 1986, painted in Hill Gray II (F-16) scheme. Withdrawn 24 October 1989 stored Portland, and later displayed camp Whiytycombe. Went to Seattle for the Museum of Flight, restored in its 366th TFW markings coded AK . Photo Collection Marinus Dirk Tabak.

F-4C 63-7672 in full colors. Collection Marinus Dirk Tabak.

On final at Leeuwarden AB on 20 April 2015 F-15C 84-0031. [©Ton van Schaik]

F-15A 76-0099 Oregon ANG full low viz. [Goose Bay, 2 June 1992, Piet Glas]

F-15A 76-0106 Oregon ANG with grey Redhawk and without fin-tip colors. [Goose Bay, 3 June 1992, Piet Glas]

F-15C 86-0151/MO 390FS 'Wild Boars' was at Leeuwarden with the Oregon ANG. [October 1992, collection Marinus Dirk Tabak] 

F-101B 58-0339/18 on his way for a new mission at Tyndall AFB in Florida during the William Tell Meet 1978. The individual number code 18 was applied in 1974-1975. [Photo October 1978, ©Volkert Jan van den Berg]

F-4C 63-7468 in Hill Gray (F-16 scheme) with low viz markings on the taxiway of Tyndall AFB, Florida, during William Tell Meet 1986. [©Ton van Schaik]

F-101B 58-0342 on the flight line of Tyndall AFB in Florida during the William Tell Meet 1976. [Collection Ton van Schaik]

F-101B 58-0322. During 1978 the squadron markings were changed to the Red Hawk. (Photo Portland January 1979). 322 was retired to the Boneyard in February 1981, and went by September 1986 to Zweibrucken for Battle Damage Repair Training, painted in European One and coded ZR. In 1991 to Kleine Brogel from where in to Vissenaken the restoration site of the Royal Museum of the Armed Forces in Brussels.[Collection Marinus Dirk Tabak]

F-89J 53-2555. [Collection Marinus Dirk Tabak}

T-33A 53-5943. A visitor during the William Tell Meet, Tyndall AFB, November 1976.

By 1988 it was painted Hill Gray in line with the F-4Cs. The T-33As were used for training, support, aerial targets and chaff bombers. Portland 1987. [Collection Marinus Dirk Tabak}


Scramble Special Edition F-15 Eagle by Jurgen van Toor.