Boeing F-15SE (Silent Eagle) Multi-Role Stealth Aircraft Proposal
The now-abandoned F-15SE Silent Eagle initiative was marketed by Boeing as a potential 5th Generation upgrade plan to its aging line of F-15 Eagle platforms.
Authored By Captain Jack; Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com
The Boeing F-15SE "Silent Eagle" is a "stealthified" version of the successful two-seat F-15E "Strike Eagle" debuted in 1988. The Strike Eagle was a dedicated all-weather, multi-role, ground-attack platform based on the original F-15 Eagle air superiority fighter though still retaining the air-to-air capabilities and performance of the original. Since its 1976 inception, the original F-15 Eagle has remained a preeminent air superiority fighter the world over. When utilized in operational combat, the aircraft has not failed in generating one of the best kill-to-loss ratios of the modern era. The Silent Eagle program began in March of 2009 to fill a market need for a relatively low cost fighter platform to compete with expensive 5th Generation offerings coming online. As such, many of the target customers have since become existing F-15 Eagle operators such as Israel, Japan, Saudi Arabia and South Korea. First flight for the F-15SE took place on July 8th, 2010 using a converted F-15E airframe with a Conformal Weapons Bay (CWB) compartment installed for flight testing. An AIM-120 AMRAAM medium-range air-to-air missile has since been test-fired from the internal weapons bay, this occurring on July 20th, 2010.
A few key features will make the F-15SE model notable over her predecessor. Radar absorbing materials are planned for use across the airframe on key surfaces to help retard or defeat incoming radar signals. Of course these stealth features will be within the limitations of US export restrictions for military technology but is thought to provide protection levels similar to that being offered in 5th Generation mounts. However, base protection will only be centered on generating a lower frontal aspect signature and restricted to air-to-air sortie frequency bands. As such, "all-aspect" and air-to-surface sortie frequency protection will still be of the conventional type, requiring use of electronic countermeasures assistance when dealing with threats. The aforementioned Conformal Weapons Bay will now take the place of the Conformal Fuel Tanks (CFT) in the fuselage. This will allow the F-15SE to field some of her ordnance internally in an effort to reduce the airframe's radar cross-section. Four internal weapons bays are intended in the finalized production models while the original external weapons pylons and hardpoints of the Strike Eagle will be retained as will the internal 20mm M61 Vulcan Gatling cannon. The centerline and two underwing hardpoints will remained plumbed for the use of external fuel drop tanks. Structurally, the F-15SE will do away with the straight-angled vertical tail fins and instead exhibit tail fins with an outward angle (facing away from centerline at 15 degrees) in another attempt to further reduce the airframe's cross-section. Avionics will include the APG-82 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar system, a Digital Fly-by-Wire Flight Control System (DFCS), a Link-16 fighter data link, the BAe Systems Digital Electronic Warfare System (DEWS) and the Lockheed Martin "Sniper" Infrared Search and Track (IRST) electro-optical targeting system.