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Boeing F-15SE Silent Eagle

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Boeing F-15SE Silent Eagle

F-15SE Silent Eagle
Role Multi-role fighter
Manufacturer Boeing
First flight demonstrator aircraft: 8 July 2010[1]
Status In development
Number built 1[1]
Unit cost
F-15SE: US$100 million (planned average cost, 2009)[2]
Developed from F-15E Strike Eagle

The Boeing F-15SE Silent Eagle is a proposed upgrade of the F-15E by Boeing using stealth features, such as internal weapons carriage and radar-absorbent material.[3]

Design and development

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.[3][4][5]

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.[7] 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).[8]

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.[8][9]

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.[10] Studies of different possible levels of reduction in radar cross-section (RCS) are underway.[11] In June 2009, Boeing stated it planned for a demonstration flight of the Silent Eagle in the third quarter 2010.[12]

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.[13]

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.[14] The company filed for an export license in early 2010,[15] and received it in July 2010.[16] In August 2010, clearance was granted to export the radar cross-section treatments and electronic warfare suite of the Silent Eagle to ROK.[17]

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[1][16] and on 20 July 2010 launched an AMRAAM from the CWB.[18]

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.[19] This allows them to mount two additional weapons stations on the wings.[20]

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.[21] 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.[22] However, Boeing had stated that development continued with scale model wind tunnel tests scheduled for the spring of 2012.[23]

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.[24] 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.[25] In August 2010, Israel chose to buy the F-35.[26]


The Silent Eagle was eliminated from the Japanese F-X project.[27] Japan instead decided to purchase the F-35 Lightning II.[28]

Saudi Arabia

In September 2009, Saudi Arabia was reported to be considering the purchase of up to 72 F-15 strike aircraft.[29] Although they initially showed interest in the Silent Eagle,[30] they ordered the less advanced F-15SA version in 2012.[31][32]

South Korea

In the competition for the Korean F-X III fighter purchase, Lockheed Martin had stressed that the superior stealth of the F-35 will enable it to conduct low level flights in heavily defended airspace from day one, while Boeing had marketed the ability of the Silent Eagle to revert to being more or less a standard Strike Eagle once those defenses are suppressed.[33] With no Silent Eagles yet built, Boeing would use existing F-15s for the South Korean flyoff against the Eurofighter Typhoon Tranche 3, and an F-35 flight simulator.[34]

On 18 August 2013, the Korean Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) announced that the F-15SE was only remaining candidate after bidding. The F-35 had exceeded the budget and the Eurofighter Typhoon was disqualified based on flaws found in the bidding documents. Ex-Air Force chiefs had insisted that a stealth plane should be chosen regardless of price and on 24 September 2013, the defense ministry rejected the award and said a new competition would be held to "secure military capability in line with recent aviation technology developments."[35] On 22 November 2013, the South Korean state news agency said that the ROK Air Force will purchase the F-35A Lightning II. There is an opportunity for other fighters to be bought by South Korea, but Boeing has dropped the F-15SE in favor of the "Advanced F-15."[36]


Basic specifications listed are for the F-15E Strike Eagle, on which the F-15SE is based.

Data from USAF F-15E fact sheet,[37] Davies,[38] and Boeing Silent Eagle[39]

General characteristics




  • APG-82 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar
  • BAE Systems Digital Electronic warfare system (DEWS)
  • Digital "Fly-by-Wire" Flight Control System (DFCS)
  • Lockheed Martin Sniper advanced electro-optical targeting system and Infrared Search and Track (IRST) system
  • Link-16 fighter data link

See also

Related development
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
Related lists



  1. ^ a b c Carder, Phillip and Mary Ann Brett. "Boeing F-15 Silent Eagle Demonstrator Makes 1st Flight." Boeing, 9 July 2010. Retrieved: 18 August 2010.
  2. ^ Ben-David, Alon. "Boeing unveils Silent Eagle." Jane's Information Group, 18 March 2009. Retrieved: 2 September 2011.
  3. ^ a b Butler, Amy. "Boeing Unveils New Stealthy F-15." Aviation Week, 17 March 2009. Retrieved: 2 September 2011.
  4. ^ Frost, Patricia, Damien Mills and Paul Lewis. "Boeing Unveils New International F-15 Configuration: The F-15SE." Boeing, 17 March 2009. Retrieved: 2 September 2011.
  5. ^ Lake, Jon. "Boeing Unveils Stealthy Eagle Variant." Air International, Volume 76, Issue 5, May 2009.
  6. ^ "Clarification." Air Force magazine, 23 March 2009.
  7. ^ Jones, Brad. "F-15 Future Fighters." Boeing, 16 March 2009 Briefing, p. 19. Retrieved: 18 August 2010.
  8. ^ a b Trimble, Stephen. "Boeing unveils upgraded F-15 Silent Eagle with fifth-generation features.", 17 March 2009.
  9. ^ a b Butler, Amy. "Stealthy F-15 Could Enliven St. Louis Facility." Aviation Week, 20 March 2009.
  10. ^ Trimble, Stephen. "Boeing eyes risk-sharing, lower costs for $100 million F-15SE." Flight International, 4 June 2009.
  11. ^ Warwick, Graham. "Boeing Studies Stealth Eagle Options." Aviation Week, 11 June 2009. Retrieved: 2 September 2011.
  12. ^ Mills, Damien. "Boeing Committed to Funding F-15 Silent Eagle Development." Boeing, 17 June 2009.
  13. ^ Butler, Amy. "Boeing Looks To First Silent Eagle Flight." Aviation Week, 17 January 2010. Retrieved: 2 September 2011.
  14. ^ Reed, John. "Boeing Anticipates Approval To Export F-15 Silent Eagle." Defense News, 7 July 2010.
  15. ^ Trimble, Stephen. "Boeing applies to export F-15SE to South Korea." Flightglobal, 25 June 2010. Retrieved: 26 June 2010.
  16. ^ a b Trimble, Stephen. "F-15 Silent Eagle scores two firsts with export license, flight test." Flight International, 9 July 2010.
  17. ^ Sung-ki, Jung. "US approves sale of stealthy F-15 to South Korea." The Korea Times, 12 September 2010.
  18. ^ Carder, Phillip and Mary Ann Brett. "Boeing F-15 Silent Eagle Demonstrator Completes 1st Weapon Launch." Boeing, 20 July 2010. Retrieved: 18 August 2010.
  19. ^ Warwick, Graham. "Silent Eagle – How Stealthy?" 'Aviation Week., 12 June 2009.
  20. ^ Waldron, Greg. "South Korea weighs option to replace F-4E Phantoms." Flight Global 14 October 2011.
  21. ^ Carder, Phil and Changgyun Koh."Boeing, Korea Aerospace Industries Sign Agreement for Production of F-15 Silent Eagle Conformal Weapons Bay." Boeing, 3 November 2010.
  22. ^ Lee, Tae-hoon. "Boeing may give up offering stealthy jet." Korea Times, 25 January 2012. Retrieved: 28 January 2012.
  23. ^ Waldron, Greg. "Seoul kicks off F-X III competition." Flight Magazine, 31 January 2012.
  24. ^ "Obama rejected Netanyahu request for F-15E in 'tough' session.", 12 July 2010.
  25. ^ Israel debates F-15 purchase -, 12 July 2010
  26. ^ Ramirez, Luis. "Israeli Purchase of Fighter Jets Seen as Litmus Test for Continued US Support.", 17 August 2010. Retrieved: 18 August 2010.
  27. ^ Perrett, Bradley. Await Japanese F-X RFP "Bidders Await Japanese F-X RFP." Aviation Week, 17 November 2010
  28. ^ "US Lockheed Martin F-35 chosen as Japan fighter jet". BBC News. 20 December 2011. Retrieved 20 December 2011. 
  29. ^ Barrie, Douglas. "U.S., Saudis Deal For Additional Eagles." Aviation Week, 10 September 2009. Retrieved: 2 September 2011.
  30. ^ Grant, Greg. "Saudis Eye Buying 72 F-15s.", 8 September 2009. Retrieved: 18 August 2010.
  31. ^ "US finalises $11.4 billion Saudi order for F-15s". Flight International, 9 March 2012
  32. ^ "2010-12 Saudi Shopping Spree: F-15s, Helicopters & More". Defense Industry Daily, 18 March 2013.
  33. ^ Waldron, Greg. "Seoul readies F-X III RFP." Flight Magazine, 9 January 2012.
  34. ^ Sang-ho, Song. "Controversy grows over F-35 flight test." The Korea Herald, 10 June 2012.
  35. ^ Kim, Sam (24 September 2013). "South Korea to Hold New Fighter Tender After Rejecting Boeing". BLOOMBERG L.P. Retrieved 24 September 2013. 
  36. ^ South Korea to obtain 40 F-35As -, 22 November 2013
  37. ^ "F-15E Strike Eagle fact sheet."United States Air Force, October 2007.
  38. ^ Davies 2002, Appendix 1.
  39. ^ "Silent Eagle.", 2012.
  40. ^ "Silent Eagle Media Brief." Boeing via Retrieved: 29 September 2010.
  41. ^ "Defense Update on Silent Eagle." Retrieved: 18 August 2010.


  • Davies, Steve. Combat Legend, F-15 Eagle and Strike Eagle. London: Airlife Publishing, Ltd., 2002. ISBN 1-84037-377-6.
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