Maiden Flight for the Silent Eagle

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F-15 'Silent Eagle' flight demonstrator. South Korea is a leading partner in what is considered the final upgrade for the F-15. Photo: Boeing

The Boeing company completed the first flight of the F-15SE ‘Silent Eagle’ flight demonstrator on July 8, 2010. The aircraft, designated F-15E1 took off from the Lambert St. Louis International Airport on an 80-minute flight, where the aircraft opened and closed its left-side Conformal Weapons Bay, which contained an AIM-120 Instrumented Test Vehicle (ITV) missile. “[In this flight] we cleared the desired flight envelope needed to fire the missile at the test range” said Boeing F-15 Chief Test Pilot Dan Draeger. According to Boeing F-15 Development Programs Director Brad Jones, in the next couple of weeks, the F-15E1 will be ferry to a test range to launch an AIM-120.

Boeing performed the first flight of the F-15E1 'Silent Eagle' flight demonstrator on July 8, 2010 Photo: Boeing
Conformal weapons bay for the F-15SE

Key to the F-15SE design is the conformal weapons bays, designed for the F-15SE. This new add-on module was originally designed specifically for the F-15SE but could also be available for other F-15 models, particularly interesting is the F-15E, I K, S and S (F-15E models operated by Israel, South Korea, Saudi-Arabia and Singapore) already operating F-15s with conformal tanks.

The Silent Eagle was developed in response to South Korea’s requirements for high-performance, stealth capable fighter aircraft. The F-15SE offers unique aerodynamic, avionic and Radar Cross Section reduction features that provide maximum flexibility in air dominance as it can be operated with and without stealth capabilities. Boeing is offering the F-15SE with customizable fighter that can be outfitted with AESA radars, radar absorbent coatings, large digital cockpit displays, fly-by-wire software, canted tails and bolt-on internal weapons bays.

According to UPI, Boeing is hoping to win an export license to sell its new F-15 Silent Eagle to South Korea within a month. South Korea has a requirement for a third batch of 60 F-15 size fighters, due next year. Boeing could be offering the F-15SE with customizable fighter that can be outfitted with AESA radars, radar absorbent coatings, large digital cockpit displays, fly-by-wire software, canted tails and bolt-on internal weapons bays.

A close-up view showing the conformal weapons bay integrated in the conformal fuel tank. Photo: Boeing