The F-15 Eagle is one of the best military aircraft produced; on September 13, 1985. One was flown by Maj. Wilbert D. "Doug" Pearson dubbed "Celestial Eagle" F-15A lobbed an anti-satellite missile more than 300 miles up high.
Most ambitious F-15 Eagle mission
It took out a Solwind P78-1 satellite at 345 miles (555 km) in the atmosphere with an ASM-135 ASAT weapon. Flying out 200 miles from west of Vandenberg Air Force Base to engage in anti-satellite warfare, reported Task and Purpose.
Even before the F-15 had been planned to mount large hypersonic missiles, the AGM-135 in1985 was a feat in itself, showing then it had the power in its older A versions. Vought designed the Prototype Miniature Air-Launched System (PMALS) based on the Short Range Attack Missile, armed with a nuclear warhead found on the B-52.
PMALS had a second stage booster that powered the satellite killer to push into space, picking up a satellite with an infrared-guided sensor package homed into its target. This was a rare satellite killer that was plane mounted, compared to stationary ones used by the U.S. military.
Using the Eagle, twin-engine, heavy fighter AGM-135 could hit any non-American satellite anywhere and anytime.
That time in 1985, the Air Force planned to buy 112 AGM-135s and have 48 F-15 Eagle fighter jets adapted as mobile launchers, and they would be parked in Washington and Virginia. It was stopped as it was in the cold war; the USSR would interpret any untoward actions as an act of war.
In 1988, a source said U.S. Congress stopped the ASAT buy with limitations on testing, budget restrictions, and concerns that it will be a match to bring another arms race into outer space, which the soviets would not back off from. Cold War concerns were hair-trigger, and both the U.S. and Russian had thumbs on the red button precociously.
Despite the reservations of America in starting a rush to space-based equipment, it only stopped the placement of global positioning satellites, like the American GPS, Russian GLONASS, or Chinese Beidou. That would be less of a threat had ASAT F-15s been deployed before. Now, the U.S. has competition with space-based weapons like China, Russia, and India have in use now.
The AGM-135 is considered the predecessor to current missile systems made to kill satellites from any platform, whether mobile or stationary. U.S. SM-3 cab shoots down long-range or short-range ICBMs and takes out satellites.
In 2008, the SM-3 was able to shoot at U.S. military reconnaissance satellite that had malfunctioned that destroyed it on re-entry. SM-3 missile system protects the U.S. from missile attacks; a similar AGM-135 missile type is armed on MiG-31 Foxhound fighter. China tested its first ASAT weapon in 2007, while India had its own ASAT in 2019.
Other military actions to develop their satellite killers are naturally a great power competition, with China and Russia in the 2020s. It seems the U.S. is not revealing if the AGM-135 satellite killers in development. The Pentagon might have it or not, playing its hand when ASAT weapons on the F-15 Eagle Cs heir apparent Eagle II will have one.