New Delhi: US aerospace major Boeing on Thursday said it has received approval from the US government to offer its F-15EX multi-role combat jet to the Indian Air Force, reported news agencies.Also Read - Indian Air Force orders inquiry after MiG-21 crashes in Rajasthan's Jaisalmer

Ankur Kanaglekar, the head of fighters sales of Boeing Defence and Space in India, said the F-15EX can offer a future-ready and multi-role solution to the IAF in the form of unmatched payload and performance. Also Read - Biden Boosts Fuel-Economy Standards To Fight Climate Change

Interacting with a group of journalists, he said Boeing has received marketing licence from the US government for the F-15EX, paving the way for its supply to India. F-15EX is the latest and most advanced version of the multi-role, all-weather and day and night versions of the F-15 aircraft family. Also Read - Indian Air Force Recruitment 2021: Apply For 5 Group C Posts; Check Age Limit, Other Details

In April 2019, the IAF issued an RFI (request for information) or initial tender to acquire 114 jets at a cost of around USD 18 billion, which is billed as one of the world’s biggest military procurements in recent years.

The top contenders for the deal include Lockheed’s F-21, Dassault Aviation’s Rafale, the Eurofighter Typhoon, Russian aircraft MiG 35 and Saab’s Gripen.

The company said the F-15EX will be exhibited at the next edition of Aero India in Bengaluru beginning next week.

Boeing also shared its 2021 growth strategy for the Indian market and exuded confidence in the fundamentals of India’s aviation and defence industry.

The company reiterated its commitment to being trusted partners to the Indian armed forces and airline customers as the world weathers the challenges of the pandemic.

“India’s aerospace industry is persevering through the global pandemic, which has brought significant challenges. The nation’s fundamental growth drivers remain resilient and robust, making India an attractive business destination globally, and Boeing is committed to the advancement of India’s aerospace industry,” said Salil Gupte, president, Boeing India.

“We are excited about the potential for partnership and growth in India and look forward to the dialogue with our customers, partners and industry at Aero India 2021,” he said.

The company said it will hold discussions with customers and industry partners about its range of capabilities in multi-role fighter aircraft, vertical lift platforms, aerial multi-role tankers, unmanned systems and commercial platforms, in addition to technologies, services, world-class sustainment and training capabilities.

It said Boeing’s exhibit at Aero India themed ‘Building The Future Together’ will focus on its partnerships with India’s armed forces and highlight the strategic investments the company has made to develop the country’s indigenous aerospace and defence ecosystem.

“At the exhibit, Boeing will feature a range of advanced capabilities including the F/A-18 Block III Super Hornet, F-15EX, KC-46A, AH-64E Apache, P-8I, Chinook, 737-10 and 787-9,” it said.

In his comments, Kanaglekar mentioned that Boeing discussed the advantages of the F/A-18 Block III offering for the Indian Navy.

“The Super Hornet’s unique differentiators for the Indian Navy include its two-seater carrier-compatibility capability which provides operational flexibility, and opportunities to integrate future technologies related to manned-unmanned interface from aircraft carriers,” he said.

“The F/A-18 Super Hornet recently successfully concluded ski-jump tests at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland, demonstrating its compatibility with Indian Navy carriers,” Kanaglekar said.

In addition, the company announced the Boeing India Repair Development and Sustainment (BIRDS) hub initiative that envisions a competitive MRO ecosystem for engineering, maintenance, skilling, repair and sustainment services of defence and commercial aircraft in India.

It said the initiative is a first that will benefit Indian customers with best-in-class solutions, efficient turnaround times, and optimal economic value, all available in-country.

(With inputs from PTI)