US Pitches For Fighter Jets Sale To India
KOLKATA, (IANS) – The US decision to send four F-15E Eagles for Cope India 2023 is being seen by many as an effort to convince India that this Boeing-built twin-engine fighter jet is the best option available in the market.
The US government has granted permission to Boeing to sell F-15 jets to India. Not only the F-15Es, but even the superior F-15EXs are also on offer, a source said. After acquiring 36 Rafales from France, India is on the lookout for several more Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft to fill the existing gap between the Light Combat Aircraft Tejas and the much heavier Su-30 MKI.
“Four F-15Es from the Pacific Air Command of the United States Air Force have been participating in joint exercises with Rafales, Tejas, Jaguars and Su-30 MKIs of the Indian Air Force at the Kalaikunda Air Force Station. The idea is for IAF pilots to check how compatible the aircraft is with an MMRCA.
The IAF has never used US-made fighter jets though it has acquired strategic transport aircraft like the C-130Js and C-17s as well as helicopters like Apaches and Chinooks. Though the F-15Es are not as robust and sophisticated as the F-15EXs, the basics are the same,” the source said.
A former IAF official said that Cope India 2023 is being held at a time when India is concerned with China’s military build-up along the Line of Actual Control.
Any planes that the IAF procures must operate in extreme weather conditions, whether in temperatures ranging around 40 degrees Celsius in the Western Sector, or the sub-zero climes of the Himalayas.
Boeing maintains that the Eagle-II is much larger than the Rafale and has a take-off load-carrying capacity that nearly equals that of the Su-30MKI. The aircraft can carry up to 22 missiles, including hypersonic ones. It can also counter any threat from Chinese-built hypersonic missiles. Its fuel tanks also give it an extended range.
The F-15EX has only been inducted into the USAF recently. The aircraft is on the wish list of several countries.