F-15 vs. F/A-18

What's the Difference?

The F-15 and F/A-18 are both highly capable fighter jets used by the United States military. The F-15, also known as the Eagle, is a twin-engine, all-weather tactical fighter designed for air superiority missions. It is known for its exceptional speed, range, and maneuverability, making it a formidable force in aerial combat. On the other hand, the F/A-18, also known as the Hornet, is a versatile multirole fighter designed for both air-to-air and air-to-ground missions. It is known for its ability to operate from aircraft carriers, making it a crucial asset for naval operations. While the F-15 excels in air superiority, the F/A-18 offers greater flexibility with its ability to perform various missions.


Photo by George Nifakos on Unsplash
ManufacturerBoeingMcDonnell Douglas (now Boeing)
RoleAir superiority fighterMultirole fighter
First FlightJuly 27, 1972November 18, 1978
IntroductionJanuary 9, 1976January 7, 1983
Wingspan13.05 m (42 ft 9.75 in)11.43 m (37 ft 6 in)
Length19.43 m (63 ft 9 in)17.07 m (56 ft)
Height5.63 m (18 ft 6 in)4.66 m (15 ft 3.5 in)
Maximum SpeedMach 2.5 (1,650 mph)Mach 1.8 (1,190 mph)
Range3,450 km (2,140 mi)2,346 km (1,458 mi)
Crew1 or 21
Armament20mm M61 Vulcan cannon, air-to-air missiles, air-to-ground missiles, bombs20mm M61 Vulcan cannon, air-to-air missiles, air-to-ground missiles, bombs
Photo by Berend Verheijen on Unsplash

Further Detail


The F-15 and F/A-18 are two iconic fighter jets that have played significant roles in military aviation. Developed by McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing), the F-15 Eagle entered service in 1976, while the F/A-18 Hornet, also developed by McDonnell Douglas, made its debut in 1983. Both aircraft have undergone various upgrades and variants over the years, showcasing their adaptability and effectiveness in combat. In this article, we will compare the attributes of the F-15 and F/A-18, exploring their performance, capabilities, and roles in modern warfare.


When it comes to performance, both the F-15 and F/A-18 are exceptional aircraft, each with its own strengths. The F-15 is known for its outstanding speed and altitude capabilities. With its twin engines and aerodynamic design, the F-15 can reach speeds of up to Mach 2.5 and fly at altitudes exceeding 65,000 feet. This allows the F-15 to engage in high-speed intercepts and perform air superiority missions with ease.

On the other hand, the F/A-18 is a versatile multirole fighter that excels in maneuverability. Its design, featuring a delta wing and leading-edge extensions, enables it to perform tight turns and execute complex aerial maneuvers. The F/A-18's agility makes it well-suited for air-to-air combat engagements and close air support missions, where it can quickly adapt to changing battlefield conditions.


Both the F-15 and F/A-18 possess advanced capabilities that contribute to their effectiveness in combat scenarios. The F-15 is primarily an air superiority fighter, designed to gain and maintain control of the skies. It is equipped with a powerful radar system, long-range missiles, and a high weapon payload capacity. The F-15's radar can track multiple targets simultaneously, allowing it to engage multiple threats effectively. Additionally, its long-range missiles provide it with the ability to engage enemy aircraft from a distance, reducing the risk to the pilot.

On the other hand, the F/A-18 is a true multirole fighter, capable of performing a wide range of missions. It can engage both air and ground targets, making it a valuable asset in both air-to-air and air-to-ground operations. The F/A-18 can carry a variety of weapons, including air-to-air missiles, air-to-ground missiles, and bombs. Its ability to switch between different mission profiles quickly makes it a flexible and adaptable platform for various combat scenarios.

Roles in Modern Warfare

The F-15 and F/A-18 have distinct roles in modern warfare, reflecting their different design philosophies and capabilities. The F-15's primary role is air superiority, focusing on gaining and maintaining control of the airspace. It is often deployed to protect friendly forces, conduct intercepts, and engage enemy aircraft. The F-15's speed, altitude, and long-range capabilities make it a formidable opponent in aerial combat, ensuring air superiority for friendly forces.

On the other hand, the F/A-18's versatility allows it to perform multiple roles. It can conduct air-to-air combat, air-to-ground strikes, close air support, and reconnaissance missions. The F/A-18's ability to carry a wide range of weapons and its agility make it a valuable asset in supporting ground forces and engaging both aerial and ground targets. Its adaptability and multirole capabilities have made it a popular choice for many countries around the world.


In conclusion, the F-15 and F/A-18 are two remarkable fighter jets that have made significant contributions to military aviation. While the F-15 excels in speed, altitude, and air superiority missions, the F/A-18's versatility and multirole capabilities make it a valuable asset in various combat scenarios. Both aircraft have proven their effectiveness and adaptability over the years, and their continued upgrades and variants ensure their relevance in modern warfare. Whether it's the F-15's dominance in the skies or the F/A-18's ability to perform multiple roles, these aircraft continue to play vital roles in defending nations and maintaining global security.

Comparisons may contain inaccurate information about people, places, or facts. Please report any issues.