India is reportedly planning to buy F-15EX fighter jets, a new type of aircraft, to further strengthen its aerospace arsenal amid growing border tensions with China and Pakistan. The new aircraft is believed to be the most advanced version of the F-15 fighter jets ever and the United States has also reportedly shown interest in selling these advanced fighter jets to India.
Despite India reaching a five-point consensus with China, including the disengagement of respective soldiers from the contested Himalayan Border, it makes sense for the country to procure F-15EX fighter jets given that the years-long tension between the bordering countries is not likely to ease so soon. India recently inducted the first set of five Rafale jets into the Indian Air Force (IAF), which is bolstering its air fleet and an inclusion of F-15EX jets will only add strength to it.
Inside India's Aerospace Plans
India has reportedly been offered F-15EX fighter jet following another week of military tensions at its borders with China and Pakistan. The new jets are developed by aerospace giant Boeing, and are being offered to India by the United States, according to a Eurasian Times report. The two-seat fighter possesses a deep magazine that can carry an array of advanced weapons on board and overshadows its predecessor F-15s because of its Open Mission Systems (OMS) architecture.
"The most significant difference between the F-15EX and legacy F-15s lies in its Open Mission Systems (OMS) architecture. The OMS architecture will enable the rapid insertion of the latest aircraft technologies," Boeing has said. Besides offering the jets to India, the United States has itself reportedly secured a contract with Boeing for eight of the fighters.
The contract is estimated to be around $1.2 billion. However, this figure could be set to dramatically increase as the US Air Force has said it could order as many as 144 of the upgraded jets, the report adds.
Needless to say, if India at all decides to procure F-15EX fighter jets, it will be a wise decision. India recently reached a 'five-point consensus' with China after foreign ministers from both nations met in Moscow last week, there isn't any assurance that tensions will cease given the past history of frequent engagements of forces in conflicts on either side of the border.
Moreover, India and Pakistan too have been trading gunfire over the Line of Control (LoC) which separates the two countries in frequent intervals, which makes even more sense for India to strengthen its aerospace arsenal. India recently inducted the first five of the 36 French Dassault 4.5 generation Rafale Jets, which is considered to be a promising sign for the IAF which is bolstering its air fleet. However, India needs to further strengthen its air force by procuring more advanced fighters as it needs to be ready for a possible two-front war.
Although the F-15EX fighters are not stealth fighters like most of United States' advanced F-35 fighter jets, the F-15EX fighters have a potent deterrent capability as compared to the smaller F-35s and are also able to attain air supremacy and even outdo the F-35 fighters.