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.
McDonnell Douglas/Mitsubishi F-15J 42-8838 was produced in 1984. The aircraft belongs to the 7th Wing, 305th Squadron at this time based at Hyakuri. The squadron’s base is near a park that has plum trees so a plum blossom on top of a Hinomaru (Red Sun Disc) is used as their emblem. To honor the 50th Anniversary of the JASDF’s formation the 305th undertook great detail in designing and painting their spectacular tribute on F-15J 42-8838. The pattern is a spectacular array of plum blossoms located over almost the entire aircraft.