F-15 Silent Eagle stealth fighter could be considered as alternative to F-35 joint strike fighter amid tight budgets
Posted by John Keller
The Boeing Co. may be stealing a march on rival defense contractor Lockheed Martin Corp. with the radar-evading F-15 Silent Eagle stealth fighter , designs for which made a demonstrator flight last week in St. Louis. As a stealth aircraft , the 1970s-vintage F-15 jet fighter may be a viable near-term alternative to the Lockheed Martin F-35 joint strike fighter in some applications.
The stealthy version of the F-15 uses special surface coatings, conformal internal weapons bays, and other advanced technologies that enable the F-15 Silent Eagle to evade some kinds of air-to-air radar systems, although experts say the stealth version of the F-15 may not be able to avoid sophisticated ground-based air-defense radars. Conformal weapons bays also may enable the aircraft to function as a stealth bomber .
Israel is watching the F-15 Silent Eagle closely , and may consider the Boeing aircraft to be a more affordable and more available combat aircraft than the F-35. Some in the Israeli defense ministry favor buying the F-15 Silent Eagle in the face of expected additional delays in the F-35 development. The Silent Eagle also reportedly is one-third less expensive than the F-35.
Israeli purchases of the F-15 Silent Eagle would enhance the aircraft's credibility in the international market, which is precisely Boeing's target for the new aircraft. Boeing developed the Silent Eagle in response to international user requirements for a cost-effective, high-performance fighter aircraft to defend against future threats.
The F-15 Silent Eagle offers unique aerodynamic, avionics, and radar cross section reduction features that provide the user with maximum flexibility to dominate the ever-changing advanced threat environment. The aircraft's Conformal Weapons Bays can carry a variety of air-to-air missiles and air-to-ground weapons.
With the U.S. defense budget under increasing pressure to downsize, who knows? If the Silent Eagle catches on internationally, perhaps it could find a home in U.S. fighter squadrons.
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