Ankur Kanaglekar, head of Boeing India, reported discussions between New Delhi and Washington about the F-15EX, on January 28, 2021.
The manufacturer received a license from the US authorities allowing it to offer the F-15EX to India. "Now that we have the license to market, we can speak directly to the Indian Air Force about the capabilities [of the F-15EX]”, Kanaglekar told local media. According to him, discussions should take place during the Aero India show, between February 3 and 5, 2021.
The offer could be made in the framework of the MRCA (multi-role combat aircraft) competition that India is holding to pick a new backbone aircraft for the air force fighter fleet. The program evaluates the Eurofighter Typhoon, the Dassault Rafale, the Lockheed Martin F-21 (a tailor-made version of the F-16), the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and F-15EX, the SAAB Gripen, the Mikoyan MiG-35, and the Sukhoi Su-35. The contract covers the acquisition of up to 114 fighter aircraft.
The latest iteration of the F-15 Eagle, the F-15EX is an air superiority aircraft with an increased payload capacity of 24 AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air missiles (against two for the original F-15, and four for the F-22 raptor). It features fly-by-wire controls, a digital cockpit, modernized sensors, radars, and electronic warfare capabilities.
The U.S. Air Force hopes to eventually acquire 144 F-15EX fighters. Eight pre-production aircraft were ordered in July 2020, to allow the military and the manufacturer to test and fully define their applications.