Boeing is assisting the US Air Force in answering questions coming from the Indian Air Force (IAF) about the capabilities of the F-15EX aircraft, said a top official of the aerospace giant on Wednesday, at a time when India is in the process of purchasing 114 new fighter jets.
Prat Kumar, Boeing vice-president and F-15 program manager, said at a webinar, “India is there for a large 114-jet acquisition programme. We are waiting for the ASQRs (Air Staff Qualitative Requirements), the requirements” definitions, because right now, until we have that, we do not know if this jet is in the sweet spot or not.”
The process of acquisition of fighter jets begins once the user requirements or ASQRs are set by the IAF. “Right now, we are supporting the US Air Force in whatever shape, way or form we can to answer any questions they have coming from the Indian Air Force (about F-15EX),” Kumar added.
In April last year, 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.
Lockheed”s F-21, Boeing’s F/A-18, Dassault Aviation’s Rafale, Russian aircraft MiG 35 and Saab’s Gripen are some of the other fighter jets that are in the fray for this deal.
“The government-to-government exchange is answering the questions around F-15 (EX) so that they (IAF) can have basic capability requirements which they can factor into their ASQR definition. So, we are very much waiting for the next steps, both from the US government side in terms of getting a marketing license, and also from the Indian Air Force in terms of them defining ASQRs to get into that (tender) in a really meaningful way,” Kumar said.
“We have no clarity on what will be the policy regime under which these jets will be acquired by India… Once that is defined, we will discuss with India and figure out a right way to support that campaign,” he added.