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 In development
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 is 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

On 17 March 2009, Boeing first displayed a F-15SE demonstrator. The F-15SE will use fifth generation fighter technologies, such as radar absorbing materials, to reduce its radar cross-section (RCS). Distinguishing features are the conformal weapons bays (CWB) that replace the conformal fuel tanks (CFT) to hold weapons internally (reducing fuel capacity) and the twin vertical tails canted outward 15 degrees to reduce radar cross section.[3] Different levels of RCS reduction were studied.[4]

The F-15SE shall have a level of stealth that the U.S. government allows for export, being optimized for air-to-air missions (against X-band radars) and much less effective against ground radars (which use other frequencies).[5] 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.[6] The F-15SE will have a Raytheon AESA radar, and a new BAE Systems electronic warfare system.[7] Weapons can be carried both internally and externally on hardpoints under each wing. New build F-15SEs will be lighter and more fuel efficient than Strike Eagle conversions due to the canted tails, fly-by-wire controls, and digital EW equipment;[8] enabling two additional weapons stations on the wings.[9]

In March 2009, Boeing formally launched the F-15SE for international sales;[7] it was aimed at F-15 users such as Israel, Saudi Arabia, Japan, and South Korea.[3][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.[7][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 radar cross-section treatments and electronic warfare suite to South Korea.[16]

During August and September 2009, Boeing performed RCS testing on 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

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]

In July 2010, diplomatic sources reported that U.S. President Barack Obama had refused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's request for access to the "stealth F-15E".[23] Israel held several discussions over the F-15SE as an alternative to the F-35 Lightning II.[24] In August 2010, Israel opted to buy the F-35.[25] In 2015, Israel requested a squadron of Silent Eagles.[26]

In September 2009, Saudi Arabia was reportedly considering purchasing up to 72 F-15s.[27] Although the F-15SE received initial interest,[28] the less advanced F-15SA was ordered in 2012.[29][30]

The F-15SE was submitted for Japan's F-X project, but Japan instead decided to purchase the F-35 in 2011.[31][32]

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 flyoff against the Typhoon, and an F-35 flight simulator.[33][34] 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.[35] 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".[36]

F-15SE has been also named as one of the candidates to replace the Finnish Air Force Boeing F-18 Hornet fleet.[37]


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

Data from USAF F-15E fact sheet,[38] Davies,[39] and Boeing Silent Eagle[40]

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. 1.0 1.1 1.2 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. 3.0 3.1 Butler, Amy. "Boeing Unveils New Stealthy F-15." Aviation Week, 17 March 2009. Retrieved: 2 September 2011.
  4. Warwick, Graham. "Boeing Studies Stealth Eagle Options." Aviation Week, 11 June 2009.
  5. "Clarification." Air Force magazine, 23 March 2009.
  6. Jones, Brad. "F-15 Future Fighters." Boeing, 16 March 2009 Briefing, p. 19. Retrieved: 18 August 2010.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Trimble, Stephen. "Boeing unveils upgraded F-15 Silent Eagle with fifth-generation features.", 17 March 2009.
  8. Warwick, Graham. "Silent Eagle – How Stealthy?" 'Aviation Week., 12 June 2009.
  9. Waldron, Greg. "South Korea weighs option to replace F-4E Phantoms." Flight Global 14 October 2011.
  10. 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.
  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. 15.0 15.1 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." The Korea Times, 12 September 2010.
  17. Butler, Amy. "Boeing Looks To First Silent Eagle Flight." Aviation Week, 17 January 2010. Retrieved: 2 September 2011.
  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." 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. "Obama rejected Netanyahu request for F-15E in 'tough' session.", 12 July 2010.
  24. Israel debates F-15 purchase -, 12 July 2010
  25. Ramirez, Luis. "Israeli Purchase of Fighter Jets Seen as Litmus Test for Continued US Support.", 17 August 2010. Retrieved: 18 August 2010.
  26. Egozi, Arie (2 November 2015). "Israel requests extra squadron of F-15s". RBI. Retrieved 2 November 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  27. Barrie, Douglas. "U.S., Saudis Deal For Additional Eagles." Aviation Week, 10 September 2009. Retrieved: 2 September 2011.
  28. Grant, Greg. "Saudis Eye Buying 72 F-15s.", 8 September 2009. Retrieved: 18 August 2010.
  29. "US finalises $11.4 billion Saudi order for F-15s". Flight International, 9 March 2012
  30. "2010-12 Saudi Shopping Spree: F-15s, Helicopters & More". Defense Industry Daily, 18 March 2013.
  31. Perrett, Bradley. Await Japanese F-X RFP "Bidders Await Japanese F-X RFP." Aviation Week, 17 November 2010
  32. "US Lockheed Martin F-35 chosen as Japan fighter jet". BBC News. 20 December 2011. Retrieved 20 December 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  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.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  36. South Korea to obtain 40 F-35As -, 22 November 2013
  38. "F-15E Strike Eagle fact sheet."United States Air Force, October 2007.
  39. Davies 2002, Appendix 1.
  40. "Silent Eagle.", 2012. Archived 23 October 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  41. "Silent Eagle Media Brief." Boeing via Retrieved: 29 September 2010.
  42. "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.