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In a move to woo the Indian Air Force (IAF) in its ongoing Multi-Role Fighter Aircraft (MRFA) tender, Boeing is offering the F-15EX Eagle II with India-specific enhancements and the potential to integrate Indian-made weapons systems. This comes as the US aircraft manufacturer competes with other contenders like the Rafale and Eurofighter Typhoon for a lucrative contract of 114 jets.

Boeing officials highlight the F-15EX’s ability to adapt to India’s specific operational needs. While details remain undisclosed, this could include adjustments to avionics, sensors, or communication systems to better suit the IAF’s requirements.

Significantly, Boeing is open to integrating Indian-made weapons systems onto the F-15EX. This could be a major selling point for the Indian government, aligning with its vision of self-reliance in defence technology.

Boeing emphasizes the F-15EX’s larger size and payload capacity compared to the Rafale. It boasts a near-equal takeoff weight to the Su-30MKI, a fighter currently in the IAF’s inventory, and can carry up to 22 missiles, including hypersonic ones. This firepower and potential for long-range missions could be appealing to the IAF.

Boeing claims the F-15EX is significantly cheaper than both the Rafale and Eurofighter Typhoon, with a flyaway cost of approximately $90 million per aircraft. Additionally, its 20,000-hour lifespan and $29,000 per hour operational cost are touted as being highly cost-effective.

The IAF’s lack of experience with US-made fighter jets, having primarily operated Russian and French aircraft in the past. However, Boeing’s presence in India with its C-17 transport aircraft, as well as Apache and Chinook helicopters, suggests a familiarity with the Indian defence ecosystem.

Boeing’s strategic move to tailor the F-15EX for India and offer integration of indigenous weapons systems demonstrates its commitment to securing the MRFA contract. While competition remains fierce, the F-15EX’s combination of size, power, cost-effectiveness, and adaptability could prove attractive to the IAF.

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