Raytheon is currently involved in two major upgrade programs for the U.S. Air Force’s Eagle fleet, providing AESA (active electronically scanned array) radars for both the air defense F-15C/D and the multi-role F-15E. Both programs have recently achieved significant milestones.
F-15E Strike Eagle
Reports from Washington suggest that a new arms package being assembled for Saudi Arabia could reach record proportions, as much as $60 billion. Another 80-plus F-15 fighters could be offered, along with about 70 UH-60 Black Hawk and up to 60 AH-64 Apache helicopters.
Boeing has flown the interim version of the Silent Eagle, a company-funded effort to generate further export sales of the F-15 Strike Eagle.
Lockheed Martin announced another order for Sniper targeting pods from the U.S. Air Force, and revealed that Saudi Arabia has recently become a customer, presumably to fit on its F-15 fighters. The Sniper provides high-resolution imagery for precision targeting or simply for monitoring the ground, in a role that has become known as nontraditional intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.
The design maybe 40 years old, but there is plenty of life left in the F-15 Eagle fighter. Boeing’s St. Louis factory is producing F-15Ks for South Korea and F-15SGs for Singapore, and current orders mean that the Eagle will be in production into 2012. Meanwhile, Boeing Defense, Space and Security (DSS) is maintaining the technology insertion program that has seen the F-15 remain a viable option in today’s tactical aircraft marketplace.
The U.S. Air Force F-15 display here is so hot you can see the paint peeling off the aircraft! In fact, although this F-15E Strike Eagle needs sprucing up a tad, its airshow act could hardly be smarter. The display put on by captains Phil “Ritz” Smith (pilot) accompanied by John “Gizmo” Cox in the back seat, is the best that AIN has seen of an F-15.
Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control has announced that it is to supply the Sniper Advanced Targeting Pod to the Royal Saudi Air Force. The Snipers will replace the LANTIRN system used by the RSAF’s F-15S strike aircraft. The deal represents the first phase of a $100 million multi-year sensor modernization program, conducted through Foreign Military Sales channels.
Boeing has applied some stealth design principles to the F-15 Strike Eagle, and is marketing the modified aircraft for export as the F-15SE Silent Eagle. On the new model, the conformal fuel tanks (CFTs) already added to the F-15E are adapted to carry weapons internally and the vertical tails are canted outwards to reduce radar-cross section under certain conditions.
CMC Electronics and Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems signed a 12-year agreement for the supply of more than 35,000 hybrid microcircuits for active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar systems in the F-18E/F and F-15E. The radar provides targeting and tracking capabilities in the airplanes, flown by the U.S. Navy, Air Force and Air National Guard. Boeing most recently selected the AESA technology for the Air Force’s F-15E Strike Eagle.
Boeing’s F-15 Eagle has racked up an enviable 104-0 combat record, as one of the world’s top-flight air-superiority and air-to-ground assault fighters. Although the Eagle made its first flight 36 years ago, the latest U.S. Air Force plan says it won’t be leaving its inventory any time soon. Current considerations call for the F-15C/D to remain in service for another 17 years, and the F-15E for another 27.