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Posted by on Mar 18, 2009 in At TMV | 4 comments

Boeing Unveils Its F-15 Silent Eagle—With Fifth-Generation “Add-Ons”


Boeing yesterday unveiled the F-15 Silent Eagle (F-15SE) which, according to Boeing, “… is designed to meet our international customers’ anticipated need for cost-effective stealth technologies, as well as for large and diverse weapons payloads,” and “The innovative Silent Eagle is a balanced, affordable approach designed to meet future survivability needs.”

While not a “fifth generation” aircraft like the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning II, or Joint Strike Fighter, some experts describe this new F-15 configuration as an aircraft with such fifth-generation “add-ons” as stealthy radar absorbent coatings and treatments, and the canting of both horizontal stabilizers by 15 degrees; redesigned conformal fuel tanks (CFTs) that allow for internal weapons carriage; integrated digital avionics and a distinctive V-tail.

Boeing claims that with all these add-ons, the aircraft will match the frontal-aspect stealth profile of any fifth generation fighter in configurations cleared by the US government for export release.

According to Boeing, and depending on the specific mission, the customer can use the CFTs that are designed for internal carriage or change back to the traditional CFTs for optimum fuel capacity and external weapons carriage. The Silent Eagle will be able to internally carry air-to-air missiles such as the AIM-9 and AIM-120 and air-to-ground weapons such as the Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) and Small Diameter Bomb (SDB).

According to Flightglobal

To be fair, Boeing acknowledges the F-15SE’s stealth improvements do not help against ground-based radar systems, which are critical for waging offensive strikes against opponents armed with surface to air missile systems. Lowering the F-15SE’s thermal signature — a critical stealthy feature for the Lockheed Martin F-22 – is also not part of Boeing plans..

Boeing plans to flight-test a prototype by the first quarter of 2010, including a live missile launch. Preliminary cost estimates for the Silent Eagle are $100 million each, including spares and training.

Also, according to Flightglobal, Boeing plans to offer the F-15SE to five foreign countries—Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Israel and Saudi Arabia, all current F-15 customers—with an estimated market for 190 orders.

It should be noted that Boeing is presently addressing only foreign sales for its F-15SE, and mainly in the Middle East and Asian markets. “The F-15’s single-largest customer – the US Air Force – is not officially a sales target for the F-15SE.”

The F-15 SE could thus conceivably compete in those markets with the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II. Especially where the military can not or does not want to wait much longer to replace their aging fighter fleets, and where presently the F-15 Eagles (F-15C, F-15D, F-15SG, F-15I, F-15J, F-15K, etc.) are a significant part of their fighter fleets, and where an F-15 follow-up would be attractive in terms of training, standardization and logistics support.

We’ll follow-up with more information on the F-15 Silent Eagle as such becomes available.

Image: Courtesy Boeing

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Copyright 2009 The Moderate Voice
  • ModerateWarrior

    I’m sorry–I just can’t stand by and watch our ANG, defense press and loyal allies lied to. This “Silent Eagle” is a total crock of horse manure. It is certainly no more stealthy than say my old BMW, or perhaps that rusty steel basketball hoop in the alley behind my house. New internal weapons bays–Oh MY!! ..not to mention new untested revised load-bearing structures such as newly canted tails means billions of non-recurring R&D costs and Seek Eagle costs.. but don’t let that stop the Saint Louis spin machine–this baby is Stealth-Y. NOT! So that Su-35 can shoot a SILENT Eagle from 35 miles as opposed to 45? At what ridiculous extra cost! PLEASE STOP, MR WIZARD! For $40M per jet more you get an aircraft that is 30 times more deadly, 1000 times stealthier and has already been tested–that is the F-22. For $30M less per jet you get an aircraft that has 30% more range, is a real multi-role strike aircraft and still a 100 times stealthier–the F-35. Metal jets will die wholesale in the modern air battlespaces of the very near future.
    Boeing–ST LOUIS, you guys should be ashamed of yourselves!

    • figawitz

      Thats great unfortunately you have no idea what you’re talking about. $40 million more for an F-22, thats great, you know the F-22 can be $20 bucks each, buy one get one free it doesnt matter if no one else is allowed to buy them. Please read the article again, this aircraft is not being offered to the US Air Force. Secondly, if you really think Boeing hasnt been doing extensive R&D on the redesign of the tails your clueless. You can bet that by the time this aircraft was handed over they would have tested the “load bearing structures” thoroughly. As far as the stealth aspect is concerned, read up some more on Janes or other sites about how they will lower the RCS of the intakes before you type any more. Now think of maintainability, spares, parts availability on a jet that is based on a design that easily supported and has been around long enough to have a real good widespread knowledge of how to support it. Also, check your numbers, “For $30M less per jet you get an aircraft …the F-35.” If you really think that plane is 30M less than the proposed $100M F-15 SE you are misinformed. Peace

      • DdW

        You raise a valid point, figawitz, (and one I missed) on comparing the (projected) cost of an F-15 SE to the (projected) cost of an F-35. As you know when comparing cost/prices between aircraft one has to be sure that one is comparing apples to apples. For example,are development costs, support, training, life cycle costs, logistics, etc., etc. spread out/included?

        In the case of the F-35 it becomes even more complicated, as the final “fixed price” will depend not only on the above but also on specific variants, models and configurations; the “learning curve” (price changes as more and more aircraft are produced);and—related to this–in the case of the multinational JSF, how many countries sign contracts for how many aircraft, so that overall costs can be divided/spread out over the total number of committed-to aircraft.

        Then, there are also offset/co-production factors and considerations. While some abroad are asking for a fixed price commitment from Lockheed Martin, the company is reluctant to give such right now before knowing more hard numbers on production and other factors. According to one source,”We ourselves don’t know what the exact price will be.” Burbage [general manager of the JSF program]says it will not be until 2012 that Lockheed will agree with the Pentagon on a fixed price – and then only for the delivery of the series of JSFs that are ordered in that year.”

        Thus, while prospective customers want to know how much each of their F-35’s will cost, Lockheed Martin needs to know, how many F-35s the consortium will eventually buy—among other things. At the moment F-35 “prices” are all over the military aviation map. It almost becomes a case of what came first, the chicken or the egg.

  • DdW


    As ususal, to the point, with no mincing of words

    Thanks for your opinion


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