A USAF F-15 jet fighter maneuvers as another F-15 takes off from the NATO airbase in Aviano, Italy, on March 21. This aircraft, based at Lakenheath, England, later crashed in Libya after what was believed to be a mechanical failure, the US Africa Command said both crew members were safe. One was picked up by a rebel force and the other by a Marine Corps Osprey search and rescue aircraft. Luca Bruno/AP
An F-15 jet fighter takes off from the NATO airbase in Aviano, Italy, on March 21. Italy is warning that it will review the use of its bases by coalition forces for strikes against Libya if the mission doesn't pass to NATO's command. Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini issued the ultimatum Monday after Turkey blocked NATO from approving a military strategy that would allow NATO's participation in the operation. Italy has allowed seven military bases to be used, and six Italian Tornadoes took part in operations over Libya on Sunday. Luca Bruno/AP
Women run as two F-15 jet fighters are seen in the background, at the NATO airbase of Aviano, Italy, on March 22. Luca Bruno/AP
Amanda Chronister of Jacksonville, Fla., flips on the bungie jump as a formation of Air National Guard F-15 Eagle aircraft pass in the background on Nov. 5, 2005, in Jacksonville, Fla. Bob Mack/The Florida Times-Union/AP/File
A Japan Air Self Defense Force F-15 fighter waits for airborne refueling from a KC-135R Tanker (not shown) of US Airforce 909th Air Refuelling Squadron, based in Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Southern Japan, during a Joint US and Japan air refuelling training over the East China Sea on April. 21, 2005. Itsuo Inouye/AP/File
A US Air Force F-15 fighter jet does a low-level flyby in eastern Afghanistan in this Jan. 1, 2009 file photo. Bob Strong/Reuters/File
A US Air Force F-15 fighter jet formation approaches a refueling plane May 2, 2007 during joint exercises with Romanian air force teams at the Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base in Romania. Hundreds of US and Romanian pilots and ground staff are taking part in the two-week joint air exercises near the Black Sea port city of Constanta ahead of the opening of a US base in the area. Daniel Mihailescu/AFP/Newscom
A US Air Force F-15 fighter jet approaches a refueling plane on May 2, 2007, during joint exercises with Romanian air force teams at the Mihail Kogalniceanu air base in Romania. Daniel Mihailescu/AFP/Newscom
A US F-15 jet fighter flies on March 14, 1999 during a normal patrol as part of Operation Northern Watch over northern Iraq. Newscom
A US F-15 Eagle fighter jet is seen during its first flight on July 17, 1972. Newscom/File
An F-15E Strike Eagle from the 391st Expeditionary Fighter Squadron at Bagram Air Base, launches heat decoys on Dec. 15, 2008 during a close-air-support mission over Afghanistan. Aaron Allmon/U.S. Air Force via CNP/Newscom
A US service member checks a F-15 jet fighter at the US airfield in Bagram, north of Kabul, Afghanistan on Sept. 12, 2009. Mohammad Kheirkhah/UPI/Newscom/File
A third of the U.S. Air Force's active-duty force of combat planes — including fighters and bombers — will be grounded due to federal budget cuts, a top general said Tuesday.
ByBrock Vergakis, Associated Press
Rob O'Neal / Florida Keys News Bureau / AP / File
A third of the U.S. Air Force's active-duty force of combat planes including fighters and bombers will be grounded due to federal budget cuts, and only the units preparing to deploy to major operations, such as the war in Afghanistan, will remain mission-ready, a top general said Tuesday.