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Boeing gets US Govt nod to sell F-15EX fighter jets to India

F15-EX fighter

Boeing has received a licence from the U.S. government to offer its F-15EX fighter jet to the Indian air force, a senior executive said on Thursday. Boeing will compete with the French Rafale and Sweden’s Gripen fighter jet for the IAF’s order to buy 114 multirole aircraft. Ankur Kanaglekar, director, India Fighters Lead, Boeing Defense, Space & Security, said discussions on the F-15EX had taken place earlier between the two governments. “Now that we have the marketing licence 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,” new agency Reuters quoted him as saying. He said the talks are expected to pick up momentum during the Aero India show next week.

Boeing is showing growing interest in selling its F-15EX twin-engine multi-role fighters to the Indian Air Force. This latest variant of the nearly 50-year-old F-15 combines upgraded technology and is reported to be a new multi-role platform for US military service.

Boeing had earlier offered another twin-engine fighter, the FA-18 Super Hornet, to meet the IAF requirement but had not been successful in the attempt as the plane did not embody the latest technology. The latest upgraded F-15 appears to be aimed at filling this slot.

Boeing has finished deliveries of its 22 Apache attack helicopters and 15 Chinook heavy-lift transport choppers to the Indian air force in 2020.

In February last year India agreed to buy six more Apaches for its army, which are to be delivered starting in 2023. The AH-64Es are to have identical capabilities to the attack helicopters delivered to the air force.

The company is also offering the F/A-18E/F for the Indian navy’s requirement to buy 57 aircraft carrier-based fighters.

India has also has C-17 transport planes in its military fleet from Boeing while  its P-81 surveillance planes are in use with the Indian Navy. 

Boeing produces the main body frame of the AH-64 in Hyderabad at the Tata Boeing Aerospace plant, a joint venture with India’s Tata Advanced Systems. Boeing also produces parts for the CH-47 via Indian suppliers. The heavy-lift helicopter’s crown and tail cone assembly is made by Tata Advanced Systems and the ramp and aft pylon is made by Dynamatic Technologies.

The company says it has more than 200 suppliers in India. It is likely to deepen its supplier network in the country to win further business as offset agreements are favoured by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Make in India” initiative.