Aviation of World War II

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RF-61 (F-15) "Reporter"

Photo Reconnaissance Aircraft


F-15A # 38335 Reporter

RF-61 (F-15) . In July 1944, the development of a long-range high-altitude high-speed reconnaissance aircraft for aerial photo reconnaissance began on the basis of the P-61. The Pratt & Whitney R-2800-65 Double Wasp air-cooled radial twin-row 18 cylinder air-cooled engines were replaced by the more powerful R-2800-C, which, together with a streamlined fuselage nacelle, gave a speed increase of 118 km / h. Up to 6 cameras of various types were installed in the nose cone of the aircraft.

XP-61E, F-15A

The photo reconnaissance aircraft, which received the designation F-15 under the new specification, had a cockpit for two crew members, located in tandem under a large common canopy. The rear workstation also had controls, however, the main job of the rear-seated operator was camera control and navigation. Since both crew members had both flight training and additional training in aerial reconnaissance, duties usually alternated during the flight.

A total of 36 aircraft were built - 9 were transferred to the US Air Force Logistics Command, the remaining 27 were sent by sea to the 8th photo reconnaissance squadron of 71 reconnaissance group (Fukuoka, Japan). Difficulties in maintenance and a lack of spare parts led to the fact that the F-15 rarely took to the skies.

Northrop P-61A-5 RF-61C
Crew 3 2
Wing span, m 20.13 20.12
Wing area, m² 61.77 61.53
Length, m 14.92 15.34
Height, m 4.32
2 × PE radial Pratt Whitney R-2800
Power, hp 2 × 2,250 2 × 2,800
Weight, kg:
Empty weight 9,518 9,684
Gross weight 14,710 16,869
Maximum speed, km/h 590 708
Cruising speed, km/h 421 568
Service ceiling, m 10,100 12,486
Service range, km 6,650 6,437

Photo Description
Drawing F-15

Drawing F-15A


F-15 Test


  • American Warplanes of World War II /under cor. David Donald/
  • RF-61 (F-15) Northrop /Air War #56/