In 1967 the U.S. became aware of the Soviet MiG-25 Foxbat. This made it necessary to develop a new aircraft to counter the MiG-25. The USAF rejected the USN F-14 Tomcat and issued its own requirements. The solution came in the form of the McDonnell-Douglas (now Boeing) F-15 Eagle. The F-15A made its inaugural flight in July 1972 and in January 1976 the first Eagle entered service. The "E" entered service in 1989. The F-15 was the first dedicated USAF air superiority fighter since the F-86 Sabre.
Presently Japan operates approximately 155 F-15J aircraft assigned to four wings consisting of seven operational squadrons. These wings are located at Chitose, Komatsu, Nyutabaru and Naha. Also the 23rd Training Squadron has five F-15s that act as aggressors. A JASDF annual TAC Meet (Tactical Air Combat) is held to hone the skills of air crews as well as ground and support crews. In 2003 the 303rd TFS’ (Fighting Dragon) entry was F-15J 72-8963 wearing a spectacular scheme of a White Dragon (Hakuryu) meant to strike fear into anyone who looked upon it.