The U.S. Air Force have announced that an F-15C Eagle crashed at approximately 0940 today in the North Sea.

“The aircraft was from the 48th Fighter Wing, RAF Lakenheath, United Kingdom. At the time of the accident, the aircraft was on a routine training mission with one pilot on board. The cause of the crash as well as the status of the pilot are unknown at this time, and U.K. Search and Rescue have been called to support.”

Royal Air Force Lakenheath is located 70 miles northeast of London and 25 miles northeast of Cambridge.

According to the U.S. Air Force:

“The Liberty Wing consists of more than 4,500 active-duty military members, over 1,000 British and U.S. civilians and includes a geographically-separated unit at nearby RAF Feltwell. RAF Lakenheath is the largest U.S. Air Force-operated base in England and the only U.S. Air Forces in Europe (USAFE) F-15 fighter wing. As the USAFE’s only F-15 fighter wing, we bring unique air combat capabilities to the fight, such as the most advanced Joint Direct Attack Munitions employed by the F-15E. We provide all-weather, day-or-night air superiority, air-to-ground precision combat capability and multi-staged improvement program avionics.

The F-15E Strike Eagle employs Precision Guided Missiles (PGMs) using the Low Altitude Night Targeting and Infrared Navigation (LANTIRN) system and Sniper Advanced Targeting Pod technology. The F-15C Eagle employs advanced technology including the AIM-9X munitions and the Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System providing the most advanced technology, capable of eliminating enemy air threats anytime, anywhere. When teamed together, the F-15E and F-15C provide air combat capability never before seen in the history of airpower.”

UPDATE 16/06/2020

One pilot was killed when their U.S. Air Force F-15C Eagle crashed at approximately 9:40 a.m (BST) June 15, in the North Sea. The name of the deceased pilot is being withheld until 24 hours after the next of kin have been notified. The aircraft, from the 48th Fighter Wing, RAF Lakenheath, United Kingdom, was on a routine training mission with one pilot on board at the time of the crash. U.K. search and rescue were called to support. The cause of the crash is under investigation.

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Hope the Pilot is safe and unhurt.

Sceptical Richard

They’ve just found a body. bad news


Terrible news.


Sad news indeed.


Hope the pilot is OK.
As an aside. During lockdown, I dug out an old copy of Flight International. In 1995, MDC was offering a “big wing” F-15E with 36% more internal fuel capacity, a 60% greater combat radius and increased weapon carriage capability. The normal F-15E has a combat radius 25% less than that of the F-111, while the proposed big wing F-15E would have had a combat radius 10% greater than the F-111. I think it a shame that the big wing F-15E was never built. Even better if it was built with the stealthy “silent eagle” features.


Big wing should have been developed further But it would of been pretty pointless to mix it with the silent eagle as all the conformal tanks were replaced with conformal weapons bays and they also had to reduce the wing Chord to reduce the RCS and to allow for the aerodynamic shift from canting the tailplanes over. The Advanced Eagle does carry a lot of the SE’s structural development and continues with the same cockpit improvements especially for the back seat. Although Qatar opted for a massive single touchscreen in theirs, I believe that’s also what the US have gone… Read more »


I was sort of thinking of the big wing for extra range plus the canted tailfins & a bit of RAM here & there, to reduce RCS. One of those might have beens. I still hope for a big wing, long range F-35E to emerge in time.
Sorry to hear about the F-15C pilot.

Daniele Mandelli

Oh. I thought the 48th only had the F15E. Interesting.

No RAF SAR any more. No Nimrod. 2 Poseidon.

Where’s the nearest HM Coast Guard flight?

Gary Stedman

Hi, 493rd FS out of Lakenheath, 48th FW has three sqns, 492nd and 494th on E models, 493rd on C/Ds. The F-15Cs have been there since 1994. Nearest SAR Coastguard flight is at Humberside whose S-92s have responded. Mildenhall KC-135s and MC-130s are on scene SAR coordinators with other USAF assets also involved.

Robert Blay

Humberside Airport, equipped with 2x S92 SAR Helicopters, Bridlington RNLI unit also very close by. Also vessels from offshore wind farm construction also helping with search.


A UK SAR team found the wreckage but no sign of the pilot… Fingers crossed.



I love the F15, why would you buy an f18 when you could but the f15! It’s superior in speed and has a almost double the range.


The F18 was designed as a low cost alternative to the F14 for carrier operations. It didn’t win many exports outside of Australia, Canada and Finland who wanted 2 engines incase 1 failed over the ocean.

Dave Wolfy

Spain had a slack handful, I think that Swiss order was small.
Not bad really, the F18L was a missed opportunity.


5 countries and full commitment from USN and USMC is not bad business for “not many export orders”


Yeah and the US Marines alone have bigger airforces that most nations. And actually the US Marines after testing the f18 didn’t want it atall, they wanted nothing to do with it! but they were forced into buying it for other reasons. And it turned out good for them after upgrades ect in the end.


You might be surprised how many Classic Hornets have been manufactured.

There were 1480 F/A-18A, B, C and D models produced and operated by Australia, Canada, Finland, Kuwait, Malaysia, Spain, Switzerland, USN and USMC.

As for the Super Hornet, 608 F/A-18E and F, have so far been manufactured (still in production) and also approx. 150 EA-18G Growlers. So far more than 2200 of all variants.


Sounds about right


Thoughts with the pilot, their colleagues and those conducting the search. I hope they’re found safe and well.


Just found the pilot – deceased, sadly. Ad Astra, mate. Keep flying.


Sad news. My thoughts with their family, and I am thankful that the pilot has at least been found and recovered.

Four Canadian personnel are still missing after their helicopter went down off Greece – only two crew were found, deceased. I can’t imagine what they’re going through right now.

Sceptical Richard

Unfortunately they’ve just found a body. Sad news

Barry Larking

Very sad. They know the risks yet still they go.


Pilot found deceased. Very sad.

Nigel Collins

Very sad news. My thoughts go out to all family, friends and colleagues at this time.
A true hero helping to keep us all safe, something we tend to forget as we go about our daily lives.


Rest In Peace Brother…