Congress has approved a potential foreign sale for 60 F-35A aircraft, or 60 F-15 Silent Eagle aircraft for South Koreas F/X-III requirement. Both are competing with each other, along with the Eurofighter Typhoon for the deal. A final decision is expected this June.
In other news, the USN has announced that it expects the RAAF to purchase 12-24 additional F/A-18F Super Hornets this summer. They also have high expectations for sales with Brazil, Malaysia, and Kuwait. Boeing Co. recently gave a demonstration of the fighter at Malaysia’s annual airshow in March. The Navy will be sending information regarding the F-18 family to Canada shortly, but a formal competition is not expected to be implemented for aircraft selection. Although Canada had committed to the F-35 in 2010, the country was recently forced to re-evaluate its options from the general auditor because of price increases and delays with the JSF.
In some pleasant news today, it was revealed that in August the country of Qatar was given two F-15E Strike Eagles and two U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornets for testing and evaluation. They plan to expand and update their fighter fleet with a contract of 25-35 new build jet fighters. Both of Boeing’s products have been in stiff competition, as the country is also considering the Rafale and F-16. Rafale is said to be the forefront choice, with Boeing’s jets trailing right behind. The country’s pilots got to fly and train first hand with the French in 2011. Boeing established it’s first office in Qatar back in 2010 with the sole purpose of this contract apparently. Nothing else is known about the competition such as requirements, but the decision should be made in a matter of months. I have to say that this competition is a bit odd, as the F-15 is in a completely different class than the F-18, Rafale, and F-16. No doubt it will have the highest cost of all of them, because it is meant for a much broader mission than the others. If South Korea chooses the Silent Eagle, this could give Boeing an advantage by having a share partner for the next generation platform.
So in the next year we have:
Brazil- Possible 36 Super Hornets (Main competition being Rafale).
South Korea- Possible 60 F-15SE Silent Eagles (Deadlock with F-35 and Typhoon).
Qatar- Possible- 25-35 Silent Eagles/Super Hornets (Main competition being Rafale).
Malaysia- Possible 18 Super Hornets (Main competition being Rafale).
Australia- Possible 18 Super Hornets (Main competition being F-35’s cost/timeline).
The stakes are high; there’s a lot of airframes on the line here!
South Korea recently spent a few weeks in St. Louis testing out the F-15 Silent Eagle as it try’s to choose a contender for it’s F/X III competition that is worth at least 60 airframes.
I myself spotted many of these flights with some days having double sorties. In addition, the Silent Eagle got a snazzy new paint job. Hopefully pictures are released at some point!
South Korea will evaluate the Eurofighter and F-35 via Chase-Plane next month. A decision is expected to be made before the end of the year, but may be delayed until 2013.
Boeing has made another leap in finalizing Silent Eagle testing.. read here!
Today is the 40th anniversary of the McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle. After 40 years of continuous service and production the fighter has seen zero looses in air-to-air combat and to this day is still not matched by any other fighter in terms of price for capability. The production line is currently backlogged nearly 100 airframes, and has thus far produced over 1500 eagles despite being threatened with closure five times. In addition it has broke over a dozen world records for speed and time-to-climb, employed 500,000+ people throughout it’s service life and to this day is used in the front lines of combat over it’s high-end and expensive counterparts. In the words of President Ford; “Mr. MAC, you have an amazing airplane here”.
Engineers, Test Pilots, Program Managers, and a Tuskegee Airmen gather round during a celebration for the Eagle’s 40th (First test pilot Irving L. Burrows second to the right).
The F-15 was hand built only 31 months after an initial agreement was signed with the USAF.
The F-15 test program is the only one in history not to loose an airframe during testing. The first flight was completed one month ahead of schedule.
Boeing used company funds for the idea of the F-15E.
The F-15I make’s it’s first flight in 1997.
Currently the only air superiority fighter still being produced in the United States.
Showing some St. Louis pride.
The F-15K debuted in 2002, starting a new era for the airframe.
Future improvements include conformal weapon bay’s, and fly-by-wire controls on the upcoming ‘SA’ variant.
The F-15SG becomes the most advanced F-15 to date; debuting in 2008.
The next evolution of the F-15; Silent Eagle!
May Eagle production go on for another ten years, as we celebrate the 50th anniversary in 2022. HAPPY BIRTHDAY; Eagles for Eternity!
The final two F-15K’s 08-60 and 08-61 left St. Louis on Tuesday March, 27th to their new home at Daegu Air Base, South Korea. The official announcement was made today.
The first 40 airframes were delivered from 2005-2008. The second batch of 21 Slam Eagles started deliveries in late 2010. All airframes were delivered on time and within budget. The F-15K is credited for saving the production line back in 2002. With only six airframes left for the USAF, the F-15K contract paved the way for an additional eight years of production while opening the doors for both the F-15SG and Saudi Arabian F-15SA variants. The line is currently backlogged through 2018 with the Saudi deal.
Boeing is offering the F-15 Silent Eagle to South Korea for its FX-3 contract. The deal is worth an additional 60 airframes. A decision is expected later this year.
Congratulations to the Boeing F-15 team and the ROKAF! I will miss seeing Slam Eagles flying around.
According to South Korean media, Boeing will not be submitting the F-15 Silent Eagle for the third phase of South Korea’s next generation fighter contract. A slow development of the conformal weapons bay’s along with the suspension of the 15 degree canted tails are to blame. Although Boeing flew and successfully launched a weapon out of the conformal bay in July 2010, development has been “slow” and will not be ready by the 2016 delivery date(s).
Interestingly enough, South Korea just dropped it’s conformal weapons bay requirement in order to promote greater “competition” between aircraft company’s.
Instead, Boeing may submit an upgraded F-15K that is slightly more advanced than the currently produced F-15SG for the third phase and use the SE options later down the road. Boeing won the first two phases in 2002, and 2005 respectively.
Although South Korea may evaluate the proposal, analysts say this does not help Boeing’s case for the sixty aircraft deal. South Korean Industries signed an agreement of understanding to develop and build the conformal bay’s in 2010.
UPDATE: Above is the Korean media spin, we now have new information from Boeing’s side…
Wind-tunnel and electronic testing of the Silent Eagle will begin in 4th Quarter 2012, and tests/analysts of the canted tails will begin in 2013. The goal is for them to submit the “idea” of the F-15SE and have the technology developed in time for the 2016 production start.
More information can be read here.
By now it has been reported that the competition for South Koreans 60 aircraft order, or FX-III has been heating up. Some reports claim the budget is causing the order to be pushed back while others say the contract decision is being bummed up. Whatever the case, there are four main competitors for the contract:
Boeing’s F-15 Silent Eagle
Lockheed Martin’s F-35
Breaking it down in a single paragraph; Eurofighter is an automatic no because of it’s hefty price for the technology it brings. Not to mention the trouble with sales EADS and BAE systems has been having. The PAK-FA is in there just as a place holder, the aircraft may be beautiful but it is still just in it’s prototype stages and considering that it would be an export for South Korea the technology would ideally not be around in time for delivery. The most important factor here though is political ties to North America. This leads to the Silent Eagle vs. the F-35. Lockheed has no doubt built a spectacular marketing and propaganda campaign for the fighter, but that’s about all it has to offer. The aircraft’s costs have risen to nearly triple as original estimates and although the fighter has seen it’s testing schedule improve over the last year, the fact that the testing fleet can’t stay airborne for more than a few months without being grounded does not help. Oh and the aircraft will not be proven for combat until the end of the decade….
The F-15SE would be a smart choice. The fact is the technology needed is already available, the industry transfer is already in place (plus more) with the F-15 line, and it would add commonality to its existing F-15K fleet.
So is it still possible to see the F-15 Silent Eagle become a reality? I would say so. The problem remains though, if deliveries are not set to start until 2014 what is Boeing going to do when the last F-15K is delivered in April?
Boeing Phantom Works F-15E1 (AKA the FIRST F-15E and Silent Eagle prototype) recovers after a one hour test flight over Missouri. I’m not sure what he was testing it could have just been a regular systems check. Boeing owns this F-15 meaning they have to pay for everything when it fly’s; with that said it fly’s very rarely.
Boeing recently gave insight on it’s future hope’s for the “iron eagle” production line. The line, which opened around 1973 has continued to build F-15’s thanks to Boeing’s strategy; keep the line open as long as possible which will automatically lower the price of each airframe and reduce time for the aircraft to be mass produced.
Boeing currently has 144 F-15 Eagle’s at stake with possible contracts. 84 are tied to the Saudi deal, which has yet to be finalized. The Saudi’s are now interested in the F-15 Silent Eagle rather than the proposed F-15SA variant.
The other deal is with South Korea to produce 60 Silent Eagles starting in 2016. This deal has begun a war between Lockheed’s “proposed” F-35 fighter. Other country’s such as Kuwait have also shown interest in new build F-15’s. One interesting note was that Chris Chadwick (President of Boeing military division) stated that there is indeed a small possibility new F-15’s could be built for the Air National Guard. Don’t hold your breath.
Throwing all politics aside, it is becoming pretty amazing that the F-15 line has the high possibility of lasting over 40 years in production. On a personal note, nothing makes me happier than seeing new Eagles flying in the sky.
May the future be bright, and let the Eagle continue to soar high!