F-15 vs. F-35

What's the Difference?

The F-15 and F-35 are both advanced fighter jets, but they have distinct differences. The F-15, introduced in the 1970s, is a twin-engine, all-weather tactical fighter designed for air superiority missions. It is known for its speed, agility, and long-range capabilities. On the other hand, the F-35, a fifth-generation stealth fighter, was developed in the 2000s and is designed for multirole operations. It features advanced stealth technology, enhanced situational awareness, and the ability to perform ground attack, air defense, and reconnaissance missions. While the F-15 is renowned for its proven track record and air-to-air combat capabilities, the F-35 offers a more versatile and technologically advanced platform for modern warfare.


Photo by George Nifakos on Unsplash
ManufacturerBoeingLockheed Martin
RoleAir superiority fighterMultirole fighter
First FlightJuly 27, 1972December 15, 2006
IntroducedJanuary 1976July 31, 2015
Unit Cost$30-40 million (F-15C)$77.9 million (F-35A)
Max SpeedMach 2.5+Mach 1.6
Range3,450 miles (F-15C)1,200 miles (F-35A)
Max Takeoff Weight68,000 lbs (F-15C)70,000 lbs (F-35A)
Crew1 or 21
Armament20mm cannon, missiles, bombs25mm cannon, missiles, bombs
Photo by Arturo Alvarez on Unsplash

Further Detail


The F-15 and F-35 are two prominent fighter jets that have played significant roles in modern military aviation. While both aircraft are designed for air superiority, they possess distinct attributes that set them apart. In this article, we will delve into the various features and capabilities of the F-15 and F-35, exploring their performance, technology, weapons systems, and overall effectiveness.


The F-15, introduced in the 1970s, is a twin-engine, all-weather tactical fighter known for its exceptional speed and maneuverability. It can reach speeds of up to Mach 2.5 and has a combat range of over 1,000 miles. The F-15's powerful engines and aerodynamic design enable it to perform high-G maneuvers, making it highly agile in dogfights.

On the other hand, the F-35, a fifth-generation stealth fighter, prioritizes stealth capabilities and versatility. It has a top speed of Mach 1.6 and a combat radius of approximately 600 miles. The F-35's advanced stealth technology allows it to evade enemy radar detection, making it harder to track and engage. Additionally, the F-35's advanced avionics and sensor fusion provide pilots with enhanced situational awareness.


When it comes to technology, the F-15 and F-35 differ significantly. The F-15, being an older aircraft, lacks the advanced stealth features of the F-35. However, it compensates with its robust radar systems, which provide excellent long-range detection and tracking capabilities. The F-15's radar can track multiple targets simultaneously and engage them with a variety of air-to-air missiles.

On the other hand, the F-35 incorporates state-of-the-art technology, including advanced stealth coatings, radar-absorbent materials, and a low-observable design. These features significantly reduce its radar cross-section, making it harder for enemy air defenses to detect and engage the aircraft. The F-35's advanced sensor suite, including its Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar, provides unparalleled situational awareness, allowing pilots to gather and process vast amounts of information in real-time.

Weapons Systems

Both the F-15 and F-35 are equipped with a wide array of weapons systems, enabling them to engage various targets effectively. The F-15 can carry an impressive payload of air-to-air missiles, including the AIM-120 AMRAAM and AIM-9 Sidewinder, as well as air-to-ground munitions like the AGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missile and JDAM guided bombs. Its internal cannon, with a rate of fire of 6,000 rounds per minute, provides additional firepower.

Similarly, the F-35 possesses a diverse weapons arsenal, including air-to-air missiles like the AIM-120 AMRAAM and AIM-9X Sidewinder, as well as air-to-ground ordnance such as the Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) and Small Diameter Bomb (SDB). The F-35's internal weapons bays allow it to maintain its stealth characteristics while carrying a significant payload. Additionally, the F-35 can employ advanced electronic warfare systems to disrupt enemy communications and defenses.


Both the F-15 and F-35 have proven their effectiveness in various combat scenarios. The F-15 has an impressive combat record, having achieved numerous air-to-air victories without a single loss in aerial combat. Its speed, maneuverability, and powerful weapons systems make it a formidable adversary in air-to-air engagements.

On the other hand, the F-35's effectiveness lies in its stealth capabilities and advanced technology. Its ability to penetrate enemy airspace undetected and gather real-time intelligence provides a significant advantage. The F-35's multi-role capabilities, including air-to-air, air-to-ground, and electronic warfare missions, make it a versatile asset on the battlefield.


In conclusion, while the F-15 and F-35 share the goal of air superiority, they possess distinct attributes that cater to different operational requirements. The F-15's speed, maneuverability, and robust radar systems make it a formidable air-to-air fighter, while the F-35's stealth capabilities, advanced technology, and multi-role capabilities provide it with a unique edge in modern warfare. Ultimately, the choice between the F-15 and F-35 depends on the specific mission objectives and the operational environment in which they are deployed.

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