The Silence of the Eagles

Brad Jones, Boeing’s program manager for F-15 Future Fighters, said in a March 17 interview, that the F-15 Silent Eagle gains an important speed advantage from pulling weapons inside its two new conformal weapon stations and will have a top speed of Mach 2.5 in a dash. That is useful for flinging small diameter bombs up to 60 miles away. In addition to carrying AIM-9 and AIM-120 air-to-air missiles internally, the F-15SE can carry 500- and 1,000-pound joint direct attack munitions and the aforementioned SDB inside, he said. Up to four 500-pound JDAMs and up to eight SDBs will fit in total in the two conformal weapon stations. Boeing plans to test the F-15SE late this year or early next, at which time it intends to evaluate the aircraft’s radar cross section and actually fire a missile from the new conformal weapons bay. If there’s customer interest, development and testing will continue. By the way, the actual aircraft to be used is an Air Force asset leased to Boeing as a technology demonstrator.