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Monday, July 12, 2010

Israel considering purchase of F-15 Silent Eagle

In light of delays and cost overruns with the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, Israel is considering the purchase of the F-15 Silent Eagle, which was tested in the US this past weekend.
The Israel Air Force closely followed the maiden flight of the F-15 Silent Eagle, which took to the skies over the weekend in the US. Debate continued within the Defense Ministry over whether it should buy the aircraft in the face of expected additional delays in the development of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

The flight took place over St. Louis, headquarters of the plane’s developer, Boeing Co.

During the 80-minute flight, the plane, called the F-15E1, opened and closed its left-side conformal weapons bay, which contained an AIM-120 Instrumented Test Vehicle (ITV) missile that was not launched.

“The Silent Eagle demonstration flight validated our initial engineering design approach,” said Boeing F-15 Development Programs Director Brad Jones. “Our intent was to verify all systems are operational in a flight environment. This flawless flight allows us to move into the next phase. In the next couple of weeks, we will ferry F-15E1 to the test range and launch an AIM- 120.”

Boeing unveiled the F-15 Silent Eagle (F-15SE) last March as a new configuration of the F-15 that had undergone improvements and modifications, reportedly providing the plane with a stealth capability that is effective in evading radars on enemy aircraft but not against ground-based radar systems.

Improvements in stealth include coatings and treatments to the aircraft, as well as a new design for the conformal fuel tanks that includes the possibility of carrying weapons inside them instead of fuel. Israel operates several squadrons of F-15s, including one of 25 F-15Is, the aircraft with the longest range in the IAF.

While Boeing is still reportedly awaiting Pentagon approval to export the plane, Israel has already held a number of initial discussions regarding the plane and its capabilities.
Read the whole thing. It sounds like a good idea for the IAF to take the Silent Eagle very seriously.

Too bad Obama canceled the F-22, isn't it? I wonder if he could even get that through Congress today.


At 7:22 PM, Blogger Geoffrey Carman said...

The key thing about the Silent Eagle is that it is the same F-15 that Israel flies today (same engines, etc) with some new enhancements.

Additionally, Boeing is VERY motivated to keep the F-15 line open. They know that with the F-22 line shutdown that when the US needs more large fighters, they will want more F-15E's. (F-15C's are smaller and different. Israel flies the E model).

If the line is open and running on export orders, then the cost is lower, and makes it much more of an easy win. Also Korea, Japan, and others are interested in the Silent Eagle.

This is definitely a buyers market for this airplane!

The only thing you can guarentee about the F-35 is it is going to be late, and cost more. The F-15 costs are sunk, and the Silent eagle changes are quite minor.

At 10:26 PM, Blogger 935684 said...

What bothers me is the question of whether the US will be a reliable source of munitions for Israel in the future.

What will happen when Israel is forced to attack Iran, or forced to repel a major attack, while Obama is still president? Where will Israel buy replacements for ammunition expended, and destroyed or damaged equipment?

Perhaps Israel should be thinking about other sources of ordnance. Then again, were she to explore other avenues, and the US became aware of it, what would the reaction be?

At 11:43 PM, Blogger Findalis said...

I would dump the idea and scare the hell out of the US by going with the Russian T-50. Very like the F-22, but without the Obama bs to go with it.

At 3:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am an airplane aficionado.
The new F15SE is not remotely in the same league as the F22 or F35. The new coating adds some radar energy absorption which will help against air to air missiles; but the main threat is SAMs guided by powerful ground based radars.
The F22 is practically invisible to ground based radar. It has a radar cross section like a seagull. Serious. The F35 is not quite as stealthy, but much less visible than the F15 to radar.

If Israel had acquired the F22, as the US had promised, it could bypass Iran's air defenses entirely. That is why Obama will not sell to Israel. The F15SE will not offer this advantage.

I am surprised why AIPAC and other friends of Israel do not make it a priority to restart F22 production and fill Israel's order. It is critical equipment to protect Israel from Iran.

At 3:08 PM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...


You raise an interesting idea about the F-22 - at the time I advocated very strongly to keep the F-22. Is it possible to restart the F-22? I would think that with the production line shut down, the costs would be prohibitive.


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