The F-15 Eagle is a twin-engine, all-weather tactical fighter used by the US Air Force. The F-18 Super Hornet is a twin-engine carrier-based multirole fighter used by the US Navy. While the F-15 is used as an interceptor, for air superiority, and as a multirole combat aircraft, the F-18 can also be configured as an airborne tanker.
The F-15 Eagle was developed as an air superiority fighter with both air-to-air and air-to-ground capabilities. As the planes developed by the US Navy, such as the F-14 Tomcat, were unsuitable for these purposes, the US Air Force spearheaded the F-X program, which led to the development of the F-15A. It made its first flight in July 1972. It was introduced in 1976 and was followed by other single-seat and two-seat models with extra fuel capacity and improved radar and engines.
The F-18 Super Hornet was proposed in the late 1980s as an improvement on early F-18 models and gets its name from the unique wing and tail configuration like that of a hornet. It was first ordered by the US Navy in 1992 as a replacement for the F-14 Tomcat. It first flew on 29th November 1995 and flight testing began in 1996. It was underwent US Navy operational tests in 1999 and was officially approved in February 2000.
The F-15 Eagle is 63 feet 9 inches long, with a wingspan of 42 feet 10 inches. Its loaded weight is 20,200 kilograms.
The F-18 Super Hornet is 60 feet 1.25 inches long, with a wingspan of 44 feet 8.5 inches. Its loaded weight is 21,320 kg.
Boeing employees talk about some of the features offered in Boeing's F-15 Silent Eagle and F-18 Super Hornet in this video:
The cockpit of the F-15 Eagle is mounted high in the forward fuselage. It has a one-piece windshield and large canopy.
The F-18 Super Hornet has two cockpits: front and aft. These come with multi-function displays and can be operated independently.
The F-15 Eagle uses two Pratt & Whitney F100 axial-flow turbofan engines with afterburners mounted side-by-side in the fuselage.
The F-18 Super Hornet uses two General Electric F414 turbofan engines.
Boeing is proposing a new GE-F414-EPE (Enhanced Performance Engines) for a 20% increase of thrust.
The F-15 Eagle can be armed with AIM-7F/M Sparrow missiles, AIM-120 AMRAAM advanced medium range air-to-air missiles, AIM-9L/M Sidewinder missiles and a M61A1 20 mm Gatling gun.
The F-18 Super Hornet can be armed with a 22mm M61 Vulcan nose mounted Gatling gun, AIM-9 Sidewinder and AIM-7 Sparrow air-to-air missiles, AGM-65 Maverick, Standoff Land Attack Missile-Expanded Response (SLAM-ER), AGM-88 HARM Anti-radiation and AGM-154 JSOW air-to-surface missiles, AGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missiles, JAM Precision-guided munition, laser guided bombs, unguided iron bombs, CBU-87 cluster bombs, CBU-78 Gater bombs, CBU-97 bombs and Mk 20 Rockeye II bombs.
F-15 Eagles are used by the US Air Force, Israel, Japan, South Korea, Saudi Arabia and Singapore.
F-18 Super Hornets are used by the US Navy and the Royal Australian Air Force.
Here's an amazing video of the F-18 Super Hornet flown by the US Navy Flying Eagles squad at the 2010 Miramar Air Show. At around 04:34 the Super Hornet wraps itself in a vapor cone caused by a sudden drop in air pressure as the plane approaches the sound barrier.