An Eagle Of A New Feather
As another big advantage over the JSF, the Silent Eagle design is planned to remain "open" for modifications and enhancements by foreign (i.e. non-US) customers. The "closeness" of the JSF design (understandable though by US point of view) hindered foreign sales many times in the past.
Following the initial decision the development process had been started in September 2008 (initially the project was dubbed as "Project Monty"). The new product was unveiled at Boeing's F-15 plant in St.Louis on March 17, 2009. The unveiling event featured a re-built F-15E Strike Eagle jet, equipped with it's two most easily recognizable external features: the canted vertical stabilators (structurally not yet integrated) and the CWB's (Conformal Weapon Bays). It was mainly a marketing event at that time, however Boeing did not want to stop here.
In January 2010 RCS tests were conducted in Boeing's anechoic chamber in St.Louis where various coatings were evaluated and a final candidate has been selected and applied to the appropriate portions of the airframe. Note that the testing was done using Boeing's F-15E testbed air frame (leased from the USAF, serial number 86-0183) with vertical tails - RCS numbers for the canted tails can be generated numerically based on testing results. According to Boeing officials the testing produced the resired results, however no specific information was released regarding the coating type and the RCS numbers of the Silent Eagle.
After just half a year (during which Boeing made its intentions clear to continue funding the development process of the new variant), a flying version has been made. Boeing's testbed airframe has been equipped with a functioning CWB (on the left side) and was code-named as F-15E1 "Silent Eagle" flight demonstrator. The F-15E1 made its maiden flight from Lambert St.Louis International Airport on July 8, 2010.