Boeing’s F-15SE Silent Eagle demonstrator has made its first flight with a new conformal weapons bay (CWB).
The aircraft, converted from Boeing’s F-15E1 development aircraft, flew for 80 minutes from St Louis and successfully opened and closed its left CWB, a design based on the F-15E’s conformal fuel tanks (CFT), and deployed a dummy AIM-120 AMRAAM into the airstream.
“The Silent Eagle demonstration flight validated our initial engineering design approach,” Boeing F-15 development programs director, Brad Jones, said. “Our intent was to verify all systems are operational in a flight environment. This flawless flight allows us to move into the next phase.”
The next phase will comprise a ferry flight to California where the aircraft will launch a test AMRAAM from the CWB in the next few weeks.
The CWBs will each have two internal bays in their forward section capable of carrying AMRAAM and AIM-9X air-to-air missiles or 250 and 500kg JDAM GPS guided bombs, while fuel will be carried in the aft sections.
The demonstrator aircraft is yet to be fitted with other advances planned for the F-15SE such as the canted vertical stabilisers, an advanced EW system, and extensive application of low observable treatments in the forward section, and may not be until a launch order and the associated development funding is received.
Boeing has received approval from the US Dept of State to begin marketing the aircraft to South Korea, and there is reported to be some interest in the F-15SE from Saudi Arabia, Israel and Japan.