Monster Machines: This Silent Eagle Could Soon Be Patrolling The Korean Peninsula

This Silent Eagle Could Soon Be Patrolling the Korean Peninsula

The new fifth-generation Silent Eagle has finally cleared export restrictions meaning it may soon be the new face of South Korea's aerial fleet. That's good news for an unsteady place.

The original F-15 Eagle entered service in 1976 and has become one of the most successful air combat platforms in the modern era. McDonnell Douglas designed the twin-engine, all-weather tactical fighter for a single purpose: blowing other aircraft out of the sky. This jet is all air superiority fighter, notching more than 100 aerial combat victories and zero losses in more than 30 years of service. The F-15 is so successful that the DoD expects to continue their service until at least 2025. The F-15 line has also become a top export model with sales to Israel, Japan, Saudi Arabia and other ally nations.

The newest F-15 model, the fifth-gen F-15SE Silent Eagle, only builds upon the line's success. Not to be confused with the F-15E Strike Eagle, which has been in service since 1989, the F-15SE measures 20m long, 6m tall with a 13m wingspan. Its twin Pratt & Whitney F 100-PW-229 turbo engines produce a combined 39,000Nm, enough to enable a top speed of mach 2.5, a combat radius of 800nmi, and can climb to its 18,000m service ceiling in just over a minute. That's a rate of climb of 15,000 vertical metres per minute --equivalent to travelling straight up at 870km/h.

This incredible performance capability is thanks to a number of design and avionics innovations that have reduced the aircraft's weight, improved its fuel efficiency, and greatly increased its combat radius over previous iterations. For example, the F-15SE's vertical tail fins are canted at 15-degree angles to produce lift and increase the plane's range by 100nmi. State of the art fly-by-wire controls also improve the F-15SE's handling and performance.

This Silent Eagle Could Soon Be Patrolling the Korean Peninsula

What's more, the conformal fuel tanks (CFT) -- these are tanks that run along the belly of the jet, just under the wing mounts and hold fuel reserves -- have been replaced with conformal weapons bays (CWB). By sacrificing a bit of its fuel reserves (a cost lessened by its improved fuel efficiency) the F-15SE can use the conformal section for internal weapons storage. This not only greatly reduces the jet's radar cross section, it increases the armament it can carry by four missiles (typically AIM-120 and AIM-9) as well.

In addition, the Silent Eagle is coated with radar-absorbing paint to further reduce its radar signature. Interestingly, the F-15SE's stealth ability is designed in a way so that the plane disappears from radar when its headed right at you. Head on, it has the same radar signature as an F-35 Lightning II. And, given its dog fighting role, the Silent Eagle is optimised for electronic warfare against X-band radar (the frequency most used in air to air combat) form BAE systems and its own active-scan AESA radar. And to further improve the pilot's combat capability, the new Silent Eagles will include the Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System, an American version of the Eurofighter Typhoon's X-ray helmet. Combined with an advanced autonomous target tracking pod and IR capabilities, the F-15SE is nearly unstopable in any weather or lighting conditions.

Boeing first unveiled the F-15 Silent Eagle for international sale in 2009. At just $US100 million per plane, the F-15SE offers top flight performance at significant cost savings over other jets like the F-35. However, the Silent Eagle requires an export licence similar to that of the Lightning II and that was not easy to obtain. It took Boeing nearly a year to acquire the needed paperwork just to ship the radar cross-section treatments and electronic warfare suite to South Korea. And as of this month, the Republic of South Korea has announced that it is seriously considering dropping 8.3 trillion won (US$7.2 billion) on 60 of these aircraft.[Defence Update - Wiki 1, 2 - AI Online - Air Force Technology]


    I think mostly it's been a very successful sales piece more than anything. The reality is that the eagle variants are nothing more than massively high margin sales goods- all the R&D costs were long off-set by decades of US government military spending on all the early orders during the cold war, now it's almost pure profit on what's basically an old refurbished platform.

    The kill ratio is probably due in large part to the pilots being so much more skilled and better trained than their counterparts, not due to the special abilities of the plane- since this is a pretty expensive jet the only countries that'd be buying it would be the ones who bother to put the time in to get good enough pilots to fly it, like Israel, Saudi Arabia, South Korea... and of course the USA. I can't imagine that shooting down Iranians in old Migs is too difficult for those pilots.

      The video IS advertising, and the point is basically 'they are good planes. South Korea is getting some'... Would you prefer they were making profit selling older marginally less effective models or... ?

        I'm responding to the claims in the article, all of which are weak. The point is that it is not really that good a jet and the only win here is for the defense contractor, not the Koreans.

          With full understanding that I sound like a broken record, this is an Andrew Tarantola article here. The guy seems to like masturbating over military porn, and the quality of his articles is about what you'd expect from someone with only one hand on the keyboard.

    My favourite jet, and the only one to shoot down a satellite from space if I recall correctly!

    Director's notes during edit:
    "Queue the heavy metal guitar background music" - Niiice
    "Now add some swooshing sounds" - BooYeah!
    "Blend in the voice over, and don't spare the corny American accent."
    "We need some bad guys - enter stage left" .. Ooh-K, now bring it home guys - Whooohoo.
    "Damn-it .. where's my YEEEEHARR sound effect?! We're out of time?, What! - NOOOOOO!!"

    Personally I'd rather see Our Gov't buy these and more Super Hornets, than those money sucking JSF's we've committed to...

      yep. These are faster, longer ranged and harder hitting and stealthier than the F-35. Then there is the fact that they are cheaper both to buy and maintain and built on a proven airframe.

      They can continue to fly and land even missing one of the wings.

      http://youtu (dot) be/1lvEGohPmxk

        Fair argument though if we're gonna devolve lets go a step further & recognise no threat by air that we face wont destroy us within 24-48 hrs max

        May as well sell the lot and invest in coastal patrol drones....

          Not sure where you got Devolve from. Replacing the JSF with the latest F15 is a step up afaik and it will save money...

          F-15SE is not backwards from the F-35. At worst its equal, which considering it's also cheaper and working now, puts it well ahead of the f-35.

    hey I like it myself!

    but we don't really need air to air capabilities other than for escort ground/sea combat purposes..... RAAF has long admitted if some foreign force came down through the Coral Sea, we wouldn't seem them, theyd be on Townsville and Amberley before one RAAF plane gets on the runway.... both bases use open air shelters so theyre not bomb/strike proof

    so forget air combat.... ground force attack and marine intervention/escort patrol.... basically drone and F18E growler capability.....

    Tiger eurocopters
    global hawk

    and get rid of the executive wing.... annoys the hell out of me seeing service people having to be waiters to politicians when the pollies aren't good enough to kiss the service persons backside!

      Don't think you have researched the F-15SE properly. It's not just air to air. It's air to ground as well, and thanks to it's bigger load capacity, can hit a lot harder than the F-35 and the F-18s.

      Also the Growler is the name given to the EA-18. An electronic warfare aircraft. Not offensive.

        Nope I actually agree... Combined forces strategy is what Australia needs, provide a synergy beyond their sum total

        THE Growlers provide the top level ground support through EW allowing ground forces a faster accurate intel/data flow

        Agree totally on the F35.... Too clever to be effective, flawed processes and divided aims.... Trying to beat everyone to tomorrow is a fools game

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