US Air force unveils its new improved F-15 silent eagle that is designed to maintain air supremacy over Russian air force forth generation aircraft. The Boeing F-15SE Silent Eagle is a proposed upgrade of the F-15E strike fighter by Boeing using stealth features, such as internal weapons carriage and radar-absorbent material.

Role Multi-role fighter/strike fighter Manufacturer Boeing First flight demonstrator aircraft: 8 July 2010[1] Status In development Number built.  Unit cost F-15SE: US$100 million (planned average cost, 2009) Developed from F-15E Strike Eagle.

Design and development[edit] A demonstration version of the F-15SE was first displayed by Boeing on 17 March 2009. The F-15SE will use fifth generation fighter technologies to reduce its radar cross-section (RCS). Distinguishing features of this version are the conformal weapons bays (CWB) that replace the conformal fuel tanks (CFT) to hold weapons internally and the twin vertical tails canted outward 15 degrees to reduce radar cross section. Weapons storage takes the place of most of each CWB fuel capacity. This variant will also have radar absorbing material where needed. The Silent Eagle was aimed at current F-15 users such as Israel, Saudi Arabia, Japan, and South Korea, among others.

The F-15SE is to have the level of stealth allowed for export by the U.S. government.[6] Boeing has stated that this stealth will only be in the range of fifth generation aircraft such as the F-35 Lightning II from the frontal aspect. The F-15SE will have a Raytheon AESA radar, and a new electronic warfare system from BAE Systems. This stealth will be optimized for air to air missions (against X-band radars) and much less effective against ground based radars (which use other frequencies.)

In March 2009, Boeing formally launched the F-15 Silent Eagle and began to offer it for international sales. The aircraft is capable of carrying both internal weapons and external weapons mounted on hardpoints under each wing. The F-15SE's lower cost compared to fifth generation fighters is intended to aid the aircraft's appeal to the export market. The aircraft would require export licenses similar to the F-35.

Unit cost has been estimated by Boeing at approximately US$100 million, including spares and support.[9] The company has been seeking other companies to be risk sharing partners to reduce its development costs. Studies of different possible levels of reduction in radar cross-section (RCS) are underway. In June 2009, Boeing stated it planned for a demonstration flight of the Silent Eagle in the third quarter 2010.

During August and September 2009, Boeing performed radar cross section testing on an F-15E with different radar absorbent coatings to select a coating for the Silent Eagle.

Although Boeing had been in tentative talks with South Korea since 2009 regarding the purchase of the Silent Eagle, it was unable to market the aircraft to international customers before it received an export license from the United States government. The company filed for an export license in early 2010,[15] and received it in July 2010. In August 2010, clearance was granted to export the radar cross-section treatments and electronic warfare suite of the Silent Eagle to ROK.

The first production F-15E (86-0183) was modified to the F-15E1 configuration to serve as a Silent Eagle demonstrator. It first flew on 8 July 2010 with a left-side conformal weapons bay and on 20 July 2010 launched an AMRAAM from the CWB.

New build Silent Eagles will be lighter and more fuel efficient than Strike Eagle conversions because of the canted tails, fly-by-wire controls, and digital EW equipment. This allows them to mount two additional weapons stations on the wings.

In November 2010, Boeing signed an agreement with Korea Aerospace Industries for KAI to design, develop, and manufacture the conformal weapons bay for the F-15SE.

KAI had previously produced wings and forward fuselages for F-15K and F-15SG. A report in the Korea Times in January 2012 indicated that only 10% of the design work on the conformal weapons bays had been completed, the same report indicated that development of the canted vertical tails had been suspended in 2010.

However, Boeing had stated that development continued with scale model wind tunnel tests scheduled for the spring of 2012.

Failed export bids.

Diplomatic sources reported that on 6 July 2010, in a face to face meeting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked U.S. President Obama to expedite the export of the "stealth F-15E" but received no reply.

Israel had held a number of initial discussions regarding the plane and its capabilities, considering it an alternative to the F-35 Lightning II. A decision on which aircraft to buy was to be made by the end of summer. In August 2010, Israel chose to buy the F-35.