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F-15 Silent Eagle unveiled

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johnnyjetpilot

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Outwardly canted fins, internal weapons. Story and photos here:

http://air-attack.com/news/article/3606/Boeing-unveils-F-15-Silent-Eagle-with-fifth-generation-features.html
 

AeroFranz

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Beat me to the punchline ;D

interesting, not sure how much can be done to turn the -15 into a truly stealthy platform. I guess Boeing thinks they can still get a useful RCS reduction.

Boeing says the coatings could contibute to an equivalent amount of front-aspect stealth as that offered by Lockheed's F-35. This includes reducing radar returns from sharp edges on the aircraft, including antennae.

Ahem....either the F-35 people don't know what they're doing, or Boeing has got some serious super-duper coatings. :eek:
The close-up picture of the vertical tail is funny; in order to preserve the vertical mating with the pre-existing structure, while having a canted vertical, they introduced a kink about 6-12 inches above the base of the tail!
 

Orionblamblam

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Trident said:
What about the nozzles... LOAN?

1) One overhead view *kinda* shows the nozzles... they look normal.
2) However, the photos so far have studiously avoided the nozzles. This could mean:
A) There's something new about the nozzles they don't want to show yet
B) There *will* be something new about the nozzles, but they weren't ready for the unveiling
C) The nozzles are boring, but they want to keep people guessing
 

Trident

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My vote goes to the smilie with the shades ;) Afterall this is not a flight worthy demonstrator (yet) and those nozzles are both expensive and conveniently easy to hide at the rollout. If they do fit something other than the usual nozzle I'd expect a LOAN though - already developed for pretty much just this purpose and thus not as costly as a fancy new design.
 

Trident

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Oh, and damn them for illuminating the thing with so many lightsources, how are you supposed to work out from that mess of shadows what the nozzles look like :mad:

I mean:

http://sitelife.aviationweek.com/ver1.0/Content/images/store/6/8/7667dc03-9b07-4b43-a84d-b77ec4d7da17.Large.jpg

Hopeless :(
 

sferrin

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AeroFranz said:
Beat me to the punchline ;D

interesting, not sure how much can be done to turn the -15 into a truly stealthy platform. I guess Boeing thinks they can still get a useful RCS reduction.

Boeing says the coatings could contibute to an equivalent amount of front-aspect stealth as that offered by Lockheed's F-35. This includes reducing radar returns from sharp edges on the aircraft, including antennae.

Ahem....either the F-35 people don't know what they're doing, or Boeing has got some serious super-duper coatings. :eek:

Or three, someone should stop shotgunning the Kool-Aid. ;)
 

donnage99

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they talking about frontal RCS, not rear or side, bottom, etc. Just frontal. It just gives you an advantage in term of stealth against a head on engagement with an enemy of the same generation.
 

sferrin

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donnage99 said:
they talking about frontal RCS, not rear or side, bottom, etc. Just frontal. It just gives you an advantage in term of stealth against a head on engagement with an enemy of the same generation.

Can you say "engine faces"? I knew you could. ;D
 

donnage99

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I knew it's called the rear aspect, ok!! but didn't say it! Stop making fun of me. ;D
 

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What they did to the conformal tanks, I wonder if something like it is possible with the F-16? AA missiles only of course.
 

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It's possible but not probable. If missiles were housed in shapes similar to the existing F-16E/F CFT's, they'd have to be launched prett darn close to the upper surface of the plane. If a missile hangs up, it's going to be a pretty bad day for the pilot when the missile comes crashing down. Then again, the EE Lightning and Sepecat Jaguar carried AAM's above the wing, so I wouldn't rule it out.
 

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Anyone also notice that the cockpit still has metal hoops, and leaves the pilot's head in view? I know it sounds crazy, but those metal rings in the canopy and the pilot's head are both big radar targets. Both can be coated in RAM, I suppose, but it was a big enough deal that the F-22 went to a lot of trouble removing those bands. There's one in the JSF as well, and I'm unaware of the details behind it, but it appears to be very different from what is seen in previous generation fighters. (it's a fairly thick band of something, which suggests, at least to me, that it may well not be metal)
 

fightingirish

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CFE said:
It's possible but not probable. If missiles were housed in shapes similar to the existing F-16E/F CFT's, they'd have to be launched prett darn close to the upper surface of the plane. If a missile hangs up, it's going to be a pretty bad day for the pilot when the missile comes crashing down. Then again, the EE Lightning and Sepecat Jaguar carried AAM's above the wing, so I wouldn't rule it out.

Yes, but those missiles were launched on the rails. The AIM-120 falls first and then the motor starts.
 

lantinian

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Wow, I was really surprised by the announcement. What is even more surprising is the hardware efforts Boing did to reduce the most significant RCS contributors: Weapon, engines faces, tail fins. You hardly see external differences in new models of existing aircraft. I guess the new economic reality is starting to produce some new type of aviation products.

I also find the internal weapons arrangement very practical:
Top bay: Rail launcher for 1 Sidewinder, AMRAAM or a 500lb JDAM
Bottom Bay: Trapeze launcher for 1 AMRAAM, 1 500/1000lb JDAM or 2 Small Diameter Bombs.

Another positive thing I noticed is the fact that the new conformal bay can be purchases as a upgrade kit to existing F-15Es. A user can also switch to the old ones in 2.5 hours time, making possible a frontline switch between a LO and High payload configuration.

Third. The article stated that as a net result the F-15E lost less than 1000lb of fuel but gained not only LO carriage but a low drag one. I suspect that would result in a very impressive full internal weapons speed envelope, considering it will be using the new engines from the F-15K. Super-cruise is very likely.

However the biggest surprise to me was when they began the work on the new project - LAST SEPTEMBER. That's less than half a year ago. Now, that is some fast quality engineering.

I think the silent Eagle will be a great success for Boeing and it will send a message to rival manufacturers of a new era of budget aircraft upgrade kits and modifications.

I can't wait to see the first full prototype. It will be a strange sight with the canted tails for all the people having used to seeing a regular F-15 for over 30 years.
 

sferrin

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fightingirish said:
CFE said:
It's possible but not probable. If missiles were housed in shapes similar to the existing F-16E/F CFT's, they'd have to be launched prett darn close to the upper surface of the plane. If a missile hangs up, it's going to be a pretty bad day for the pilot when the missile comes crashing down. Then again, the EE Lightning and Sepecat Jaguar carried AAM's above the wing, so I wouldn't rule it out.

Yes, but those missiles were launched on the rails. The AIM-120 falls first and then the motor starts.

AIM-120 can be launched either way.
 

flateric

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anime is good because you don't have to fit actual hardware on an actual airframe
 

AeroFranz

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lantinian said:
However the biggest surprise to me was when they began the work on the new project - LAST SEPTEMBER. That's less than half a year ago. Now, that is some fast quality engineering.

Lantinian, I'd be curious to know exactly how much effort went into this at this point. Frankly, all the mods that we have seen are 'cosmetic' and fairly obvious, and most of the people on this forum could have come up with them in one brainstorming session had they been asked how to cut the RCS of an F-15. I could be wrong, but I haven't seen anything that suggests extensive engineering behind this. Tilting the fins 15 degrees outward is not going to change much of anything for the structures and aero guys. the rest of the changes, even less.
 

flateric

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SE pricetag is a little bit out of this world
 

mz

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What are the potentials of other aircraft for this?
The "Regular Hornet", F/A 18?
Is it really worth it?
 

lantinian

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Lantinian, I'd be curious to know exactly how much effort went into this at this point. Frankly, all the mods that we have seen are 'cosmetic' and fairly obvious, and most of the people on this forum could have come up with them in one brainstorming session had they been asked how to cut the RCS of an F-15.

I am merely comparing that effort to similar ones by other manufacturers. If this was as easy project as you make it sound, why has not anybody come up with something like this until now? Not even a mock-up. There are only artist impressions and scale models out there more many years now.

Frankly, I personally suspect this project goes far beyond the actual mock up that you have seen. Boeing would not show this up, unless they have not fully designed the hardware and are prepare to test it. Non only that but actually believe there is a substantial market for it.

Just think about the complex task it is to design an attachable weapons bay/fuel tank and making it operate in fully in the whole F-15 speed envelope. Just the acoustic and vibration issues of opening a weapons bay door, made Northrop in 1990 dedicate a substantial portion of the YF-23 flight testing to explore the issue.

We are not talking about a proof of concept, or a notes from a brainstorming session. This is fully designed hardware that is going to flight test next year. Besides, the F-15ES is not just an F-15K with new conformal tanks. There are other new systems and airframe enhancements.

I will say it again. Given development to testing timeframes for other similar aviation projects (Ex. F-16E Block 60), taking less than 6 months for Boeing to develop and show the most radical change to the original F-15 since the Strike Eagle in 1988 is a short time indeed.

Again, I am not implying that we cannot come up with the idea ourselves. Its just, that after seeing so many pictures of good ideas on paper that just never made it, I am just surprised that any manufacturers still consider anything else than just upgrading the avionics.

Isn't anybody here surprised that we had basically ZERO information about this until yesterday?
 

AeroFranz

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Well, I'm excited too about radical modifications of fighters as opposed to switching black boxes and sprinkling antennas.
But IMHO, the reason Boeing came up with this is that they had to. Their cash cows are getting old. Even F-18E/F won't last forever. So they must have thought this was a good way of extending the life and the production line of the -15. On the other hand, Other manufacturers like Lockheed can afford to keep selling F-16s (as an interim fighter while waiting for F-35) for quite some time just by adding the CFTs and AESA. I would not rule out them adding some 'easy' LO features in the future (LOAN being one already mentioned, and maybe diverterless inlet).

To come back to the original question, I like seeing a mockup just as much as the next guy, but just because you see the F-15E prototype with a few parts replaced here and there does not mean they have a new fighter ready to fly. My guess is that the fins and the FAST packs are not flightworthy at this time. Why go through all the trouble and expense if you don't have a customer yet?
As you mentioned, just the missile extraction from the FAST packs is going to take some serious time and money to develop.
My guess is Boeing is drumming up interest (and money) to go ahead and do the serious homework that goes into integrating the modifications after someone shows up with interest. After all, didn't the UAE pay for a lot of the development of the Desert Falcon?

All the mods mentioned in the article look feasible and relatively low risk, so good luck to Boeing.
 

donnage99

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how much fuel will f-15SE carry internally? If it doesn't carry a comparable amount of fuel as the f-22, I would doubt it's practicality. Since it would need to carry external fuel tanks to be sufficient, which compromise stealth all the same. Given foreign countries lacking the robust tanker fleet of the US, right amount of fuel is a must.
 

Demon Lord Razgriz

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ST. LOUIS, March 17, 2009 -- The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] today in St. Louis unveiled the F-15 Silent Eagle (F-15SE), a new F-15 configuration designed to meet the future needs of international customers.

"The F-15 Silent Eagle is designed to meet our international customers' anticipated need for cost-effective stealth technologies, as well as for large and diverse weapons payloads," said Mark Bass, F-15 Program vice president for Boeing. "The innovative Silent Eagle is a balanced, affordable approach designed to meet future survivability needs."

Improvements in stealth include coatings and treatments on the aircraft. With the added advantage of redesigned conformal fuel tanks (CFTs) that allow for internal weapons carriage, the Silent Eagle becomes a very attractive fighter for Boeing's international customers.

Depending on the specific mission, the customer can use the CFTs that are designed for internal carriage or change back to the traditional CFTs for optimum fuel capacity and external weapons carriage. The Silent Eagle will be able to internally carry air-to-air missiles such as the AIM-9 and AIM-120 and air-to-ground weapons such as the Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) and Small Diameter Bomb (SDB). The standard weapons load used on current versions of the F-15 is available with the traditional CFTs installed.

The aircraft's canted vertical tails improve aerodynamic efficiency, provide lift, and reduce airframe weight. Another aerodynamic improvement is the Digital Flight Control System, which improves the aircraft's reliability and reduces airframe weight.

Survivability improvements include a BAES Digital Electronic Warfare System (DEWS) working in concert with the Raytheon Advanced Electronic Scanning Array (AESA) radar.

Boeing has completed a conceptual prototype of the CFT internal-carriage concept, and plans to flight-test a prototype by the first quarter of 2010, including a live missile launch.

The design, development, and test of this internal carriage system are available as a collaborative project with an international aerospace partner.


http://www.air-attack.com/MIL/f15/f15se.jpg
http://www.air-attack.com/MIL/f15/f15se_side.jpg

http://www.air-attack.com/news/article/3606/Boeing-unveils-F-15-Silent-Eagle-with-fifth-generation-features.html
 

sferrin

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http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=6468.msg54103;topicseen#msg54103
 

CFE

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I would suspect that Japan is the intended customer, seeing as how they already fly F-15's and want the F-22, but can't buy it due to congressional export restrictions.

It's hard to see the F-15SE as a serious improvement over the baseline F-15's RCS, but it might be temping for a country that isn't allowed to buy the F-22, or wants a better-value alternative to the F-35.
 

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AeroJadeXG said:
Anyone also notice that the cockpit still has metal hoops, and leaves the pilot's head in view? I know it sounds crazy, but those metal rings in the canopy and the pilot's head are both big radar targets. Both can be coated in RAM, I suppose, but it was a big enough deal that the F-22 went to a lot of trouble removing those bands. There's one in the JSF as well, and I'm unaware of the details behind it, but it appears to be very different from what is seen in previous generation fighters. (it's a fairly thick band of something, which suggests, at least to me, that it may well not be metal)

Indeed... and i can imagine a Big frontal engine radar return as well. Also, unless they did quite a big job of completely modifying the panel lines and trainling edges for exemple (like F-35, Rafale, F-22), and it does not look like they did it at all, this design will not be very stealthy just by canting out the fins and changing a little the Fast Packs. It must be noted that all USAF and Army aircrafts (including old types) are already coated with radar absorbant paint.

IMHO this is just a commercial `gimmick`to offer a `low price` (ahem) stealthy design to customers who can`t afford the F-22 or F-35. Beside, from what i remember i think the F-22 is not even offered for export (that`s why Japan is working on its own design to put pressure on the US if they can`t have it and then still have 'something`to replace F-22s if they get the most definitive `NO`).
 

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Indeed... and i can imagine a Big frontal engine radar return as well.

I don't expect a big frontal engine return, as fan blockers that hide the engine face have been publicly known since the 90's.

I'm glad to see Boeing doing this and it was quite the surprise, as I never expected to see an F-15 with internal weapons carriage. I would have preferred the Manx, but I'll settle for this.

Someone up thread was saying this doesn't look like a flyable prototype. In one of the linked articles, it clearly states this is just a "Ground Demonstrator" and that the flyable F-15SE isn't expected to fly until the 1st quarter of 2010.
 

sferrin

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Sundog said:
Indeed... and i can imagine a Big frontal engine radar return as well.

I don't expect a big frontal engine return, as fan blockers that hide the engine face have been publicly known since the 90's.

No radar blockers in the intake.
 

TomS

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sferrin said:
No radar blockers in the intake.

The Aviation Week article on this is pretty clear that while the Silent Eagle prototype currently has no radar blockers in the inlets, they could be fitted if a customer requires it.

http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/story_channel.jsp?channel=defense&id=news/Silent031709.xml&headline=Boeing%20Unveils%20New%20Stealthy%20F-15
 

donnage99

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Desert Dawn said:
It must be noted that all USAF and Army aircrafts (including old types) are already coated with radar absorbant paint.
I didn't know that all AF and army aircrafts have radar absorbant paints ??? Where did you get this info?
 

Abraham Gubler

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The F-15SE would appear to be a physical manifestation of the adage "the customer is always right".
 

lantinian

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how much fuel will f-15SE carry internally?

Boeing says that the aircraft loses most of the 1500 US gal of fuel in the CFTs, but that other changes - some fuel in the new CFTs and a more compact EW suite from BAE Systems - restore some 550 US gal.
The Mach 2.5 speed of the Strike Eagle is maintained, but the cost is about 180-200 nautical miles of range capability because of the reduce fuel in the conformal tanks, says Brad Jones, program manger for F-15 future programs.


Here is a very nice hires picture of the aircraft:
http://www.flightglobal.com/blogs/the-dewline/assets_c/2009/03/MSF09-0028-259.html

And a video of the weapons bays operation:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8pWhKHrz28k

Note the curvature of the bay doors. This is very unusual and will likely produce vortices at high speed so the aircraft may be unable to use the internal bay above a certain speed after all.
 

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Boeing seems to want to keep the Eagle as a top quality aircraft for years to come, one concern I have are the limited internal weapons load (only four AAMs). I can't imagine this have an extremely low RCS however, so it probably would never be used with internal stores only.
 

sferrin

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And those spray tanks weren't for puttin' out fires. ;)
 

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