If reports are to be believed, Boeing has obtained a mandatory licence from the US government for the discussion of a possible F-15 sale with India.
This has been confirmed by Mr Pratyush Kumar, who has been associated with the induction of multiple Boeing platforms into India’s military, including the P-8I Poseidon maritime aircraft, the C-17 Globemaster III heavy-lift transporter, the Apache AH-64E attack helicopter and the Chinook CH-47F heavy-lift chopper.
This also comes as welcome news for the Indian Air Force, which is currently in the process of acquiring 114 multi-role combat aircraft (MRCA) from the global defence market.
Reportedly, the Eagle-II F15EX will be going head-on against seven other combat fighters in the battle for the Indian MRCA tender.
Back in 2007, the Indian Air Force had the option of choosing between four twin-engine fighter crafts, namely- Boeing’s F/A-18E/F Super Hornet; Dassault’s Rafale, Eurofighter GmbH’s Typhoon, and Russia’s RAC MiG-35. Additionally, two single-engine aircraft options were also put forward- Lockheed Martin’s F-16 Super Viper; and Saab’s Gripen E/F.
Fast forward 2019, the tender saw the arrival of two more big, twin-engine fighters, vying for the contract- the F-15EX Eagle-II and Russia’s Sukhoi-35.
General overview of the F-15 EX Eagle II
Touted to be the world’s fastest (Mach 2.5, or 3,100 kilometres per hour) and most heavily-armed (payload of 13.6 tonnes, or 30,000 pounds) fighter, the Eagle II has the longest strike range (1,200 nautical miles or 2,222 kilometres) and its combat resume boasts of 104 kills in air-to-air combat without suffering a single loss.
1. Enhanced survivability
With advanced radars and sensors, the fighter craft brings in fully integrated electronic warfare to combat new and emerging threats.
2. Unparalleled weapons carriage
Features the ability to carry hypersonic weapons, which, otherwise cannot be carried in internal bays.
3. Enhanced mission management
Features a 21st-century cockpit with real-time access to battleground information, thereby enhancing pilot’s understanding of the environment.
4. Rapid capability insertion
Features a flexible and Open Missions Systems Architecture wherein rapid digital technology can be integrated for future growth and provide maximum interoperability.
The club of existing F-15EX operators includes the US, Israel, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and, most recently, Qatar.
Apparently. the design of the fighter has been customized to counter possible threats from China which include- hypersonic, re-targetable, long-range missiles and advanced “early warning and control” (AW&C) aircraft that can observe low-flying fighters at longer ranges.
Kumar describes Eagle-II as “the ideal high-end fighter for the high-end fight”.
These are the general specifications of the fighter craft model although India is yet to make a call on the final specifications it would like to be featured on the fighter craft.
India needs to relook at their force structure in the light of Rafale and Tejas orders. If the gap is at the high performance end, the F-15EX could be a fit. But these are early days.A Boeing official said