Boeing has applied for an export licence to brief South Korea on sensitive details of a stealthier version of the F-15E that is within a few months of its first flight.

The US government approved an export policy in the second quarter for the F-15SE Silent Eagle after Boeing submitted details of its radar cross-section about six months earlier, says Brad Jones, Boeing programme director for F-15 development programmes.

The export policy allows Boeing to request an export licence for specific customers, with South Korea as the first in queue, Jones says. The F-15SE is competing against the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter for a contract in South Korea.

Boeing has backed down from previous statements comparing the frontal-aspect radar cross-section of the F-15SE to an international release standard for the F-35.

However, Jones confirms that Boeing's original briefing chart - claiming the F-15SE provides frontal-aspect stealth offered by fifth-generation fighters - remains accurate.

Boeing unveiled the F-15SE in March 2009. The redesign adds conformal weapons bays, stealth techniques, fly-by-wire and canted tails to the F-15E configuration, providing a "first-day-of-war" stealth capability.

Lockheed and F-35 programme officials, however, have criticised Boeing's assertions that the F-15SE offers equivalent front-aspect stealth as the JSF, and denied that an international release standard exists for F-35 stealth characteristics.

Boeing plans to conduct three flights of the F-15SE in the third quarter, including one missile shot from the newly added conformal weapons bay.

Source: Flight International