Eyeing two mega fighter jet deals worth over $25 billion, US aerospace major Boeing on Thursday said it is ready to bring transformative capability and contemporary warfighter technologies to India.
Boeing is a strong contender for Indian Air Force's proposed deal to acquire 114 fighter multi-role fighter jets and Indian Navy's proposal to procure 57 carrier-borne aircraft. The company has already announced that it is ready to set up manufacturing facilities for its F/A-18 Super Hornet aircraft if it bags the IAF contract.
"An important part of our India strategy is ensuring our defence customers have the most advanced platforms and capabilities, supported by a services model that optimises mission readiness, high performance and safety," Boeing India president Salil Gupte said.
"Another element of our strategy is to harness talent, innovation, engineering and productivity advantages that India offers to build a globally competitive aerospace and defence ecosystem that creates jobs and industrial capacity with Make in India," he said at the DefExpo in Lucknow.
On the Navy's plan to induct 57 jets, he said the F/A-18 on offer to India will be fully compatible with Indian Naval carriers.
At present, the Indian Navy has one aircraft carrier, INS Vikramaditya, which is a Russian origin platform. The Navy's long-term plan is to have three aircraft carriers. Indigenously built aircraft carrier (IAC) INS Vikrant is expected to be fully operational by 2022.
At DefExpo, Boeing highlighted future investments to accelerate its "Make in India" efforts and the capabilities being proposed for the Indian armed forces, specifically the next generation F/A-18 Block III Super Hornet fighter that the company said will bring transformative capability and contemporary warfighter technologies to the country.
The top contenders for the deal include Lockheed's F-21, Boeing's F/A-18, Dassault Aviation's Rafale, the Eurofighter Typhoon, Russian aircraft Mig 35 and Saab's Gripen. In 2018, the Indian Navy kick-started the process to procure 57 multi-role combat aircraft for its carriers.
At present, six planes are compatible for the aircraft carrier -- Rafale (Dassault, France) F/A 18 Super Hornet (Boeing, US), MIG-29K (Russia), F-35B and F-35C (Lockheed Martin, US) and Gripen (Saab, Sweden).
While F-18, Rafale and MIG-29K are twin-engine jets, the other three have a single engine.