The McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) F-15E Strike Eagle is an American all-weather ground attack strike fighter. It was designed in the 1980s for long-range, high speed interdiction without relying on escort or electronic warfare aircraft. The Strike Eagle, a major derivative of the McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle air superiority fighter, was deployed in Operation Desert Storm and Operation Allied Force, carrying out deep strikes against high-value targets, combat air patrols, and providing close air support for coalition troops. It has also seen action in later conflicts and has been exported to several countries. United States Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles can be distinguished from other U.S. Eagle variants by darker camouflage and conformal fuel tanks mounted along the engine intakes.
The F-15E was deployed when Iraq invaded Kuwait in August 1990. The 335th Tactical Fighter Squadron "Chiefs" and 336th Tactical Fighter Squadron "Rocketeers" were given orders to prepare for deployment one week after the invasion. The 336th began their flight to Seeb Air Base in Oman, a 15 hour flight. Though mission-ready, the F-15Es were not cleared to carry the needed munitions to counter a possible Iraqi attack on Saudi Arabia; they were cleared to carry only the 500 lb (230 kg) Mark 82 bomb and 2,000 lb (910 kg) Mark 84 bomb. Cluster bombs are the preferred weapon when attacking vehicles, and these had not been fully tested from all weapon stations on the Strike Eagle. During training operations in Oman, one F-15E (336th) was lost on 30 September in a mock dogfight against Royal Air Force Jaguar GR.1s that resulted in the deaths of the pilot and WSO. In December the two F-15E squadrons were moved closer to Iraq, and deployed to Al Kharj Air Base in Saudi Arabia.