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BOEING TO OFFER F-15EX ‘EAGLE-II’ COMBAT JETS TO INDIAN AIR FORCE
American aerospace giant Boeing plans to submit its F-15EX Eagle-II fighter aircraft for the Indian Air Force’s Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MRCA) competition.
Established in 2018, the MRCA competition was set up to procure 114 fighter aircraft from defence companies that meet Indian armed forces requirements.
According to a company official, offering the F-15EX fighter means the firm would pull its Super Hornet bid from the contest.
“India needs to relook at their force structure in the light of Rafale and Tejas orders,” the official said, “If the gap is at the high-performance end, the F-15EX could be a fit. But these are early days.”
Since the MRCA tender is yet to be released, Boeing is unclear whether the Eagle-II (F-15EX) or the Super Hornet would be a right match for the IAF.
“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,” says the Boeing official.
Pratyush Kumar, who was previously the head of Boeing’s Indian operations, is now the program manager for the F-15 Eagle-II in the United States. Kumar describes the F-15 Eagle-II as “the ideal high-end fighter for the high-end fight.”
This latest version of the F-15 is meant to counter one of the world’s most dangerous aviation threats – China. Hypersonic, re-targetable long-range missiles, as well as sophisticated “early warning and control” (AW&C) aircraft that can observe low-flying fighters at extended ranges, are among these threats, the report said.
To counter these threats, Boeing is arming the Eagle-II with longer-range missiles, quicker radar processors, improved data-link capabilities, and the ability to carry more weapons into battle.
The F-15EX will be upgraded on a routine basis, according to Kumar, because it has enough physical space, computational infrastructure, structural strength, and engine power.
The US government authorized the Illinois-based firm to sell F-15 jets to India.
If its submission is accepted, Boeing will be up against SAAB’s Gripen, Russia’s MiG-35 and Su-35, France’s Dassault Rafale, Lockheed’s F-21, and the Eurofighter Typhoon.
A replacement for the F-15C, Boeing’s F-15EX “Eagle-II” is equipped with next-generation technologies to improve survivability.
The company said that its new fighter features enhanced maneuverability, acceleration, durability, computing power, and weapons carriage for better deterrence.
The Eagle-II includes digital fly-by-wire flight controls, a large area display glass cockpit, and an APG-82 AESA radar. It also incorporates open mission system software to allow rapid upgrades and capability enhancement.
The aircraft is designed to counter China’s hypersonic, long-range missiles and sophisticated early warning and control aircraft.
The Eagle-II is the world’s fastest (Mach 2.5, or 3,100 kph) and most heavily equipped fighter (payload of 13.6 tons, or 30,000 pounds), with the greatest strike range of 1,200 nautical miles or 2,222 kilometers.
Boeing is reportedly arming the Eagle-II with longer-range missiles, quicker radar processors, improved data-link capabilities, and the ability to carry more weapons to counter advanced threats.