Stealth Eagles?

A new wrinkle has been added to the tacair choices facing the new Administration. Yesterday, Boeing unveiled its new F-15SE, the “Silent Eagle,” an aircraft which it claims will have a degree of stealth permitted under US export rules. It achieves that feat via several design changes: using conformal pallets that can carry weapons and fuel internally, canting the vertical fins outward, and applying stealth coatings across the whole aircraft. The SE also will incoporate the F-15E Strike Eagle’s digital electronic warfare suite and AESA radar. There are ways to address the large radar cross section of the F-15’s fan blades, but those would depend on what technologies the US government deems releasable, Brad Jones, Boeing’s F-15 Future Fighters program manager, told the Daily Report. The new conformal weapons pallets are interchangeable with the previous, fuel-only conformal fuel tanks, and therefore don’t change the F-15SE’s aerodynamics. Boeing calculates the flyaway cost of an F-15SE at about $100 million, including some spares and additional maintenance gear. The stealthy mods are also available as a retrofit for existing F-15 customers, although the company would not quote a price. (Also see Boeing release)