According to a senior executive from Boeing, the company has received a license from the U.S. government to offer its F-15EX fighter jet to the Indian air force.
Boeing’s F-15EX fighter jet will compete with France’s Rafale, Sweden’s Gripen among others for the Indian air force’s plan to purchase 114 multi-role aircraft which will replace its Soviet-era fleet.
“Now that we have the marketing licence it allows us to talk to the Indian Air Force directly about the capability of the fighter. We have started doing that in a small way,” said Ankur Kanaglekar, director, India Fighters Lead, Boeing Defense, Space & Security.
In the last 15 years, the United States and India have built closer defense ties, with the Indian military buying more than $20 billion worth of weapons in the last 15 years.
Lockheed Martin is also pitching its F-21 fighter to the Indian air force, offering to build the plane in the country to win the deal estimated to be worth more than $18 billion.
Boeing is bullish on India for both its defence and commercial aviation businesses, even as the COVID-19 pandemic has hit demand for air travel, forcing airlines to first get their finances in order before ordering new planes.
According to Boeing, domestic passenger traffic is likely to return to 2019 levels by the end of this year, International traffic would return to pre-COVID levels only by 2023, said Salil Gupte, Boeing India’s head.
On Wednesday, Boeing received the go-ahead from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) to return its 737 MAX planes to service after a 22-month ban.
Boeing is working to get approvals from the Indian regulator as well, said Gupte.