Strike optimized and latest variant of the F-15E Strike Eagle multirole fighter, F-15EX from Boeing has been offered to India which was confirmed earlier this year and now media reports confirm that state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Mahindra Defence have also been roped in as Partners if F-15EX is selected by Indian Air Force (IAF) for its requirement of 114 fighter jets in latest Tender.

Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Mahindra Defence are also partners in F-18 E/F Block-III fighter jet which is also on offer to IAF by Boeing. F-15EX is from Heavyweight class Fighter like Sukhoi Su-30MKI but it was offered to India in response to Russia being allowed to offer India for the first time Sukhoi Su-35 which too belongs to the same class as F-15EX.

Industrial watchers have said that IAF is not keen on F-18 E/F Block-III fighter jet since it is a Carrier-based jet which is largely operational with the United States Navy and also in previous MMRCA Tender it had lost to Eurofighter Typhoon and Dassault Rafale in Technical rounds due to which F-15EX a variant of the F-15 Strike Eagle which is a two-seat fighter that can be flown by one or two aviators and was built for Strike missions is on offer also now.

F-15EX, though, is a fourth-generation aircraft that lacks the stealth characteristics but has been upgraded with latest sensor fusion coming out of the F-35 and F-22 stealth fighter jets which can operate in contested enemy airspace. USAF has plans to induct 80 F-15EX and Qatar signed a contract to buy 36 F-15QA (An export variant of F-15EX).

Industrial watchers feel that F-15EX will be positioned as Strike optimized jet which can deliver long-range standoff munitions and can fill the void left behind by Mig-27 Strike aircraft after there were retired by IAF. F-15 was designed for air superiority in the pre-stealth era but F-15EX added stealth characteristics and optional opt for conformal weapons bay (CWB) which can four Air-to-Air missiles for High-risk missions in heavily contested airspace.


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