New Delhi: Leading American aircraft manufacturer Boeing put itself in the race to bag the US$18 billion contract by the Indian Air Force (IAF) to buy 114 fighter jets and is considering to offer its F-15EX fighter jets.
Its F/A 18 Block III Super Hornet is already in contention for the deal, billed as one of the world’s biggest military procurement programme in recent years.
“While awaiting further definition on the Indian Air Force’s requirements, we have requested a licence for the F-15EX so that we’re ready to share the full spectrum of potential solutions across our fighter portfolio when appropriate,” the company said in a statement.
Besides the contract by the IAF, Boeing is also eyeing Indian Navy’s plan to procure 57 carrier-borne aircraft.
“We continue to offer the F/A-18 Super Hornet to both the Indian Navy and Indian Air Force,” Boeing said.
The company already announced that it was ready to set up manufacturing facilities for its F/A-18 Super Hornet aircraft if it bags the IAF contract.
In April last year, the Indian Air Force issued an RfI (Request for Information) or initial tender to acquire 114 jets.
The top contenders for the deal include Lockheed’s F-21, Boeing’s F/A-18, Dassault Aviation’s Rafale, the Eurofighter Typhoon, Russian aircraft MiG 35 and Saab’s Gripen.
In 2018, the Indian Navy kick-started the process to procure 57 multi-role combat aircraft for its carriers.
At present, six planes are compatible for the aircraft carrier — Rafale (Dassault, France) F/A 18 Super Hornet (Boeing, US), MiG-29K (Russia), F-35B and F-35C (Lockheed Martin, US) and Gripen (Saab, Sweden).
Last week, Managing Director of Boeing’s India operations Surendra Ahuja said the company was ready to expand its operation in the country.
A fleet of Boeing’s Chinook heavy-lift and AH-64E Apache attack helicopters were inducted into the Indian Air Force recently.
“We are committed to working with our customers to provide holistic solutions for their defence aircraft and services with the right capability, advanced technologies and cost structure,” Ahuja said.