Boeing F-15SE Silent Eagle

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F-15SE Silent Eagle
Role Multi-role fighter/strike fighter
Manufacturer Boeing
First flight demonstrator aircraft: 8 July 2010[1]
Status Cancelled
Number built 1 demonstrator[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 was a proposed upgrade of the F-15E strike fighter by Boeing using stealth features, such as internal weapons carriage and radar-absorbent material.

Design and development[edit]

On 17 March 2009, Boeing first displayed an F-15SE demonstrator. The F-15SE was designed to use fifth-generation fighter technology, such as radar-absorbing materials, to significantly reduce its radar cross-section (RCS). It would have possessed a level of stealth that the U.S. government would have allowed for export, being optimized for air-to-air missions (against X-band radars) and much less effective against ground radars (which use other frequencies).[3] Different levels of RCS reduction were studied,[4] and Boeing 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.[5]

Unique features to the F-15SE were the conformal weapons bays (CWB) that would have replaced the conformal fuel tanks (CFT) to hold weapons internally – thus reducing fuel capacity – and the twin vertical tails canted outward 15° to reduce RCS.[6] Weapons can also be carried externally on hardpoints under each wing. New build F-15SEs were to be lighter and more fuel efficient than Strike Eagle conversions due to the canted tails, fly-by-wire controls, and digital electronic warfare equipment;[7] enabling two additional weapons stations on the wings.[8] The aircraft was to have a Raytheon active electronically scanned array radar, and a new BAE Systems EW system.[9]

In March 2009, Boeing formally launched the F-15SE for international sales;[9] it was aimed at F-15 users such as Israel, Saudi Arabia, Japan, and South Korea.[6][10][11] Boeing estimated the unit cost as approximately US$100 million, including spares and support; its lower cost compared to fifth generation fighters was intended to appeal to the export market.[9][12] In 2009, Boeing began tentative talks with South Korea over the Silent Eagle, but was unable to market it to international customers without an export license from the US government.[13] Boeing filed for an export license in early 2010,[14] and received it in July 2010.[15] In August 2010, clearance was granted to export the F-15SE's RCS treatments and EW suite to South Korea.[16]

During August and September 2009, Boeing evaluated an F-15E with different radar absorbent coatings to select a coating.[17] The first production F-15E (86-0183) was modified to the F-15E1 configuration to serve as a demonstrator. It first flew on 8 July 2010 with a left-side CWB,[1][15] and on 20 July 2010 launched an AMRAAM from a CWB.[18]

Seeking partners and sales[edit]

Boeing sought other companies to be risk-sharing partners to reduce development costs.[19] In November 2010, Boeing signed an agreement with Korea Aerospace Industries for KAI to design and manufacture the F-15SE's CWB.[20] KAI had previously produced wings and forward fuselages for F-15K and F-15SG. On January 2012, The Korea Times reported that only 10% of the design work on the CWB had been completed, and that development of the canted vertical tails had been suspended in 2010.[21] However, Boeing had stated that development continued with scale model wind tunnel tests scheduled for spring 2012.[22]

Israel held several discussions over the F-15SE as an alternative to the F-35 Lightning II.[23] In August 2010, Israel opted to buy the F-35.[24] In 2015, Israel requested a squadron of F-15s based on the Silent Eagle standard.[25]

In September 2009, Saudi Arabia was reportedly considering purchasing up to 72 F-15s.[26] Although the F-15SE received initial interest,[27] the less advanced F-15SA was ordered in 2012.[28][29]

The F-15SE was submitted for Japan's F-X project, but Japan instead decided to purchase the F-35 in 2011.[30][31]

In South Korea's F-X III fighter program, the F-15SE was bid against the F-35 and Eurofighter Typhoon. Existing F-15s were used for a fly-off against the Typhoon, and an F-35 flight simulator.[32][33] On 18 August 2013, the South Korean Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) announced that the F-15SE as the only remaining candidate; the F-35 being too costly and the Typhoon disqualified for bidding flaws. On 24 September 2013, the defense ministry rejected the award, saying that a new competition would be held.[34] On 22 November 2013, it was reported that South Korea will purchase the F-35A. Boeing had shifted from the F-15SE to the "Advanced F-15".[35]


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

Data from USAF F-15E fact sheet,[36] Davies,[37] and Boeing Silent Eagle[38]

General characteristics




See also[edit]

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. ^ "Clarification." Air Force magazine, 23 March 2009.
  4. ^ Warwick, Graham. "Boeing Studies Stealth Eagle Options." Aviation Week, 11 June 2009.
  5. ^ Jones, Brad. "F-15 Future Fighters." Boeing, 16 March 2009 Briefing, p. 19. Retrieved: 18 August 2010.
  6. ^ a b Butler, Amy. "Boeing Unveils New Stealthy Silent Eagle F-15." Aviation Week, 17 March 2009. Retrieved: 4 October 2017.
  7. ^ Warwick, Graham. "Silent Eagle – How Stealthy?" 'Aviation Week., 12 June 2009.
  8. ^ Waldron, Greg. "South Korea weighs option to replace F-4E Phantoms." Flight Global 14 October 2011.
  9. ^ a b c Trimble, Stephen. "Boeing unveils upgraded F-15 Silent Eagle with fifth-generation features.", 17 March 2009.
  10. ^ Frost, Patricia, Damien Mills and Paul Lewis. "Boeing Unveils New International F-15 Configuration: The F-15SE." Archived 3 April 2009 at the Wayback Machine Boeing, 17 March 2009. Retrieved: 2 September 2011.
  11. ^ Lake, Jon. "Boeing Unveils Stealthy Eagle Variant." Air International, Volume 76, Issue 5, May 2009.
  12. ^ Butler, Amy. "Stealthy F-15 Could Enliven St. Louis Facility." Aviation Week, 20 March 2009.
  13. ^ Reed, John. "Boeing Anticipates Approval To Export F-15 Silent Eagle." Defense News, 7 July 2010.
  14. ^ Trimble, Stephen. "Boeing applies to export F-15SE to South Korea." Flightglobal, 25 June 2010. Retrieved: 26 June 2010.
  15. ^ a b Trimble, Stephen. "F-15 Silent Eagle scores two firsts with export license, flight test." Flight International, 9 July 2010.
  16. ^ Sung-ki, Jung. "US approves sale of stealthy F-15 to South Korea." Archived 11 October 2010 at the Wayback Machine The Korea Times, 12 September 2010.
  17. ^ Butler, Amy. "Boeing Looks To Midsummer For First Silent Eagle Flight." Aviation Week, 18 January 2010. Retrieved: 4 October 2017.
  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. ^ Trimble, Stephen. "Boeing eyes risk-sharing, lower costs for $100 million F-15SE." Flight International, 4 June 2009.
  20. ^ 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.
  21. ^ Lee, Tae-hoon. "Boeing may give up offering stealthy jet." Archived 16 June 2012 at the Wayback Machine Korea Times, 25 January 2012. Retrieved: 28 January 2012.
  22. ^ Waldron, Greg. "Seoul kicks off F-X III competition." Flight Magazine, 31 January 2012.
  23. ^ "Israel debates F-15 purchase", Jpost, 12 July 2010.
  24. ^ Ramirez, Luis. "Israeli Purchase of Fighter Jets Seen as Litmus Test for Continued US Support." Archived 30 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine VoA news, 17 August 2010. Retrieved: 18 August 2010.
  25. ^ Egozi, Arie (2 November 2015). "Israel requests extra squadron of F-15s". Flight global. RBI. Retrieved 2 November 2015.
  26. ^ Barrie, Douglas. "U.S., Saudis Deal For Additional Eagles."[permanent dead link] Aviation Week, 10 September 2009. Retrieved: 2 September 2011.
  27. ^ Grant, Greg. "Saudis Eye Buying 72 F-15s." Archived 16 March 2010 at the Wayback Machine DoD buzz, 8 September 2009. Retrieved: 18 August 2010.
  28. ^ "US finalises $11.4 billion Saudi order for F-15s". Flight International, 9 March 2012
  29. ^ "2010–12 Saudi Shopping Spree: F-15s, Helicopters & More", Defense Industry Daily, 18 March 2013.
  30. ^ Perrett, Bradley. "Bidders Await Japanese F-X RFP."[permanent dead link] Aviation Week, 17 November 2010
  31. ^ "US Lockheed Martin F-35 chosen as Japan fighter jet". BBC News. 20 December 2011. Retrieved 20 December 2011.
  32. ^ Waldron, Greg. "Seoul readies F-X III RFP." Flight Magazine, 9 January 2012.
  33. ^ Sang-ho, Song. "Controversy grows over F-35 flight test." The Korea Herald, 10 June 2012.
  34. ^ Kim, Sam (24 September 2013). "South Korea to Hold New Fighter Tender After Rejecting Boeing". Bloomberg. Retrieved 24 September 2013.
  35. ^ "South Korea to obtain 40 F-35As", Flight global, 22 November 2013.
  36. ^ "F-15E Strike Eagle fact sheet." Archived 19 March 2011 at the Wayback MachineUnited States Air Force, October 2007.
  37. ^ Davies 2002, Appendix 1.
  38. ^ "Silent Eagle.", 2012. Archived 23 October 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  39. ^ "Silent Eagle Media Brief." Boeing via Retrieved: 29 September 2010.
  40. ^ "Defense Update on Silent Eagle." Archived 9 July 2012 at Retrieved: 18 August 2010.


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