Warplanes: F-15SE Sneaking Up On the F-35


July 25, 2010:  For over a year now, F-15 manufacturer Boeing has been offering a "stealthy" aircraft called the F-15SE (Silent Eagle). The target market is nations that want some stealth, but do not want to pay the high price of the F-35. The F-15SE is an F-15E with better electronics (radar and countermeasures) and an airframe tweaked to make the aircraft harder for radar to detect. A CWB (Conformal Weapons Bay) carried beneath the body of the aircraft contains two internal weapons bays. Each bay can carry two missiles or smart bombs. Each of the four hard points in the CWB can carry two smaller SDB (Small Diameter Bombs). While not as stealthy as the F-22, the F-15SE claims to be as stealthy as the F-35, which costs 40 percent more. Another option is to have existing F-15Es rebuilt to F-15SE standards, at less than half the cost of a new F-15SE. Boeing has demonstrated the stealthiness to serious customers, and the F-15SE does indeed make it much more difficult for radars to spot it. Some foreign F-15E users have expressed an interest, especially as the cost of the F-35 keeps going up, with no end in sight for the increases.