Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The F-15 Silent Eagle: A Dark Horse

     With all the talk about the Air Force's next fighter being centered on the F-35, there has been another aircraft that has been all but forgotten, the Boeing F-15 Silent Eagle (F-15SE).
     The F-15SE is a variant of the F-15 Strike Eagle (F-15E), which is itself a variant of the original F-15 Eagle.

     The F-15SE has a top speed of Mach 2.5 (1855 MPH), versus Mach 1.5 to 1.8 (1113 to 1335 MPH) for the F-35A (the Air Force variant). The F-15SE also has a longer mission radius of between 1333 kilometers to 1667 km for an air-to-air loadout, and a mission radius of between 1482 km to 1852 km for a air-to-ground loadout. In comparison, the F-35A has a mission radius of 1082km which is 11km under the Air Force's requirements.

     However, the F-15SE's main advantage lies in it's cost, 1 F-15 would cost about 100 million dollars, versus the F-35A which costs 193 million dollars in the LRIP-5 (Low Rate Initial Production) batch in fiscal year 2012. On top of this the F-15SE is actually a stealth aircraft, Boeing has converted the F-15E's CFTs (Conformal Fuel Tanks) into CWBs (Conformal Weapons Bay), which can carry either air-to-air weapons (AIM-120, AIM-9X) or air-to-ground weapons (SDB, JDAM).
     With the Air Force approaching a fighter shortfall, and the two replacements for early model F-15s and F-16s (F-22 and the F-35) not meeting expectations, there is serious need for a fighter to close the gap.


  Photo Credit: Aviation Earth


  1. doesnt this article omit the comparison of how stealthy it is compared to the f35/f22? Sthealth is not a yes or no question.

  2. The point is that for relative to the cost the F-15SE is more stealthy than the F-35/F-22. The F-22 costs a lot more but delivers greater stealth, payload and range, but is much more expensive and can't be sold to other countries besides the U.S.. The F-35 on the other hand costs over 100 million each, has a lousy radar signature, small payload, and range that is shorter than the requirements by the USAF. My point is that the F-15SE can be purchased by other countries, has excellent range, payload, and for the cost has an excellent radar signature.