After Rafale, F-15EX fighter jet can change India’s strike capability

Recently Boeing has received a licence from the US government to offer its F-15EX fighter jet to the Indian Air Force.

F-15EX fighter jet for India

Boeing has received a licence from the US government to offer its F-15EX fighter jet to the Indian Air Force.Boeing will compete with Sweden’s Gripen and France’s Rafale among others for the Indian Air Force’s plan to buy 114 multi-role aircraft to replace its Soviet-era fleet.

US Air Force set to get 2 F-15EX fighters this year

The F-15EX was exhibited at the Aero India 2021 in Bengaluru. The F-15EX fighter jet undertook its first flight and Boeing tweeted, “Check out the F-15EX as it makes its historic first flight. F-15EX is built on a digital thread, allowing it to also serve as a testbed to incorporate future tech and capability for the US Air Force.”

F-15EX fighter jet
The first two Boeing F-15EX in the assembly line

The F-15EX fighter jet is set to be incorporated into the US Air Force later this year after it completed its test flight over St. Louis in the US. Last year, the US had ordered Boeing to build eight  F-15EX fighters as part of 144 jets to be incorporated later.

INDIA getting ready to meet 500 tanks of a new generation of Russian-made T-14 Armata

Rafale fighter jets at Jodhpur

India had already ordered 36 Rafale fighter jets and eight super jets from France have already arrived in India giving the Indian Air Force an edge over its chief adversaries – Pakistan and China.

Indian air force Rafale fighter aircraft

India and France had last week taken part in a five-day mega air exercise near Jodhpur with IAF’s Rafale fighter jets will be taking part in the complex air manoeuvres to enhance operational coordination with the French Air Force.

The exercise named ‘Ex-Desert Knight 21’ took place at a time when the Indian Air Force has been keeping all its frontline bases across the country on a high state of operational readiness amid the India-China border standoff in eastern Ladakh.

IAF’s future needs

According to Boeing officials, US and Indian officials have held discussions on F-15EX fighter jets.

The move comes after the IAF two years ago had issued an RFI (request for information) or initial tender to acquire 114 jets at a cost of around $18 billion, which is said to be the world’s biggest military procurements in recent years.

According to Boeing, built on a digitial thread, F-15EX serves as a pathfinder for the Department of Defense’s DevSeOps initiative aimed at developing secure, flexible and agile software.

F-15EX cockpit
F-15EX cockpit upgrade cockpit system

Boeing says F15EX enables rapid technology insertion that ensures the platform’s relevance for decades.

Lockheed offers F-21 fighters

India and the United States have built close defence ties, with the Indian military buying over $20 billion worth of weapons in the last 15 years.

Lockheed Martin is also pitching its F-21 fighter to the Indian Air Force, offering to build the plane in the country to win the deal estimated to be worth more than $18 billion.

Boeing is bullish on India for both its defence and commercial aviation businesses, even as the COVID-19 pandemic has hit demand for air travel, forcing airlines to first get their finances in order before ordering new planes.

F-15EX fighter jet

Boeing expects domestic passenger traffic to return to 2019 levels by the end of this year, Salil Gupte, the company’s India head said, adding international traffic would return to pre-COVID levels only by 2023.

One of the planemaker’s biggest customers is Indian low-cost carrier SpiceJet Ltd, which has a large order for its narrowbody 737 MAX planes.

Boeing on Wednesday got the green light from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) to return its 737 MAX planes to service after a 22-month ban and Gupte said it was working to get approvals from the Indian regulator.

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