Is Boeing giving India a hard sell to buy its F-15EX fighters? Following the company’s announcement that it has received the necessary approval to offer the advanced fighter jet to India, a top Boeing official claims that the two countries have now begun discussions on a deal for the same.
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Last week, the Chicago-headquartered firm had said that it had received the license to sell the latest multi-role combat aircraft to the Indian Air Force (IAF).
“Now that we have the marketing license, it allows us to talk to the Indian Air Force directly about the capability of the fighter. We have started doing that in a small way,” said Ankur Kanaglekar, Director of India Fighters Lead, Boeing Defense, Space & Security, in a statement.
The F-15EX is the latest and most advanced version of the multi-role, all-weather, and day and night versions of the F-15 aircraft family.
The F-15 fighters have garnered immense popularity around the world, mainly because the fighter has never been defeated in combat.
The fourth-generation fighter F-15EX is much larger than the Super Hornet and Rafale when it comes to weapons load capacity. With a maximum take-off weight of about 36 tons, the fighter comes close to the capability of IAF-operated Su-30MKI.
As per Boeing, the advanced fighter has a huge weapons load, as it can carry over 13 tons of weapons and fuel under its wings and fuselage. The F-15EX can carry up to 22 air-to-air missiles, which is far more than any fighter in production now.
In addition, the conformal fuel tanks in F-15E and F-15EX variants also help them to increase range and advanced navigation equipment for low-level ground-attack missions.
India has been looking to procure advanced fighters in order to add to the Omni-role Rafale fighters it had acquired from France last year.
Maria H Laine, vice-president, Boeing International Sales, and Industrial Partnerships addressed a press conference along with Jeff Shockey, vice-president, Global Sales and Marketing, Boeing Defense, Space & Security, and Boeing Global Services.
“There have been discussions between the two governments and the two Air Forces have exchanged information about the F-15EX,” Laine said.
“Since the US Government approved our license request to offer F-15EX to India, we are starting to have more discussions about the platform,” he added.
While speaking to news agency PTI, Laine said that the US Air Force had awarded Boeing an indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract with a ceiling value of nearly $23 billion in July 2020.
“It certainly sends a powerful signal when the US government makes a commitment to a platform like this that they’re in it or the long haul and are showing faith and confidence in the capability and price point of the F-15EX– piques interest in the US and around the world,” Shockey said.
Boeing has said that the F-15EX fighter will be exhibited at the Aero India 2021 in Bengaluru that begins on February 3.
The two-seat F-15EX possesses a deep magazine that can carry an array of advanced weapons on board and overshadows its predecessor F-15s because of its Open Mission Systems (OMS) architecture.
According to Boeing, “The most significant difference between the F-15EX and legacy F-15s lies in its Open Mission Systems (OMS) architecture. The OMS architecture will enable the rapid insertion of the latest aircraft technologies.”
The fighter is an airspace dominance weapon system and can perform a variety of roles including cross border strikes, engaging in proximity fights with enemy fighter aircraft, destroying enemy ships while keeping the aircraft carriers at a safe distance.
The F-15EX has a combat range of 1,100 miles, has a speed of Mach 2.5, and can accommodate heavy radars.