F-15SE Silent Eagle
The F-15SE Silent Eagle is an innovative design solution developed in response to international customer requirements for a cost-effective, high-performance fighter aircraft to defend against future threats. The F-15SE offers unique aerodynamic, avionic and Radar Cross Section reduction features that provide the user with maximum flexibility to dominate the ever-changing advanced threat environment. The aircraft's Conformal Weapons Bays can carry a variety of air-to-air missiles and air-to-ground weapons.
Improvements in stealth include coatings and treatments on the aircraft. With the added advantage of redesigned conformal fuel tanks (CFTs) that allow for internal weapons carriage, the Silent Eagle becomes a very attractive fighter for Boeing's international customers. 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). The standard weapons load used on current versions of the F-15 is available with the traditional CFTs installed. The aircraft's canted vertical tails improve aerodynamic efficiency, provide lift, and reduce airframe weight. Another aerodynamic improvement is the Digital Flight Control System, which improves the aircraft's reliability and reduces airframe weight. Survivability improvements include a BAES Digital Electronic Warfare System (DEWS) working in concert with the Raytheon Advanced Electronic Scanning Array (AESA) radar.
On March 17, 2009 the Boeing Company in St. Louis unveiled the F-15 Silent Eagle (F-15SE), a new F-15 configuration designed to meet the future needs of international customers. "The F-15 Silent Eagle is designed to meet our international customers' anticipated need for cost-effective stealth technologies, as well as for large and diverse weapons payloads," said Mark Bass, F-15 Program vice president for Boeing. "The innovative Silent Eagle is a balanced, affordable approach designed to meet future survivability needs." Boeing had completed a conceptual prototype of the CFT internal-carriage concept, and planned to flight-test a prototype by the first quarter of 2010, including a live missile launch.
Boeing subsequently eliminated the distinctive canted tails from the early prototype and production configuration of the proposed stealthy Silent Eagle. The F-15SE flight-test prototype incorporated radar absorbent materials and the conformal fuel tanks modified into weapons bays. The canted tail design, highlighted during Boeing's F-15SE unveiling in March 2009 in St Louis, Missouri was abandoned until later stages of the program. Boeing managed to increase its aircraft radar invisibility by reducing the dimensions of the fuel tanks and pumps compartments relocating to freed space. The F-15 Silent Eagle hunting can reach a speed of 2,600 km/h and navigate over distances of up to 3,000 miles.
The Boeing Company Silent Eagle flight demonstrator aircraft F-15E1 completed a successful first flight on 08 July 2010 from Lambert St. Louis International Airport. During the 80-minute flight, F-15E1 opened and closed its left-side Conformal Weapons Bay, which contained an AIM-120 Instrumented Test Vehicle (ITV) missile. The ITV was not launched. "The Silent Eagle demonstration flight validated our initial engineering design approach," said Boeing F-15 Development Programs Director Brad Jones. "Our intent was to verify all systems are operational in a flight environment. This flawless flight allows us to move into the next phase. In the next couple of weeks, we will ferry F-15E1 to the test range and launch an AIM-120." "Everything about the flight went according to plan," said Boeing F-15 Chief Test Pilot Dan Draeger. "We saw nothing unusual during the flight, and we cleared the desired flight envelope needed to fire the missile at the test range; that is pretty much unheard of on a first flight."
The design, development, and test of this internal carriage system are available as a collaborative project with an international aerospace partner. In June 2010 the Flightglobal website reported that Boeing will offer Korea South the F-15 Silent Eagle. The US Government previously gave its go-ahead for the F-15 Silent Eagle exports to some countries including Korea South. The Korean Air Force plans to acquire American multifunctional fifth generation F-35 Lightning II fighter in the future. Boeing's F-15 modified will be in competition with the F-35, but it will cost less. The South Korean government was expected to launch a competition for a fighter contract in early 2011.
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