India has been strengthening its defense relations with the United States to address shared strategic interests in the APAC region by purchasing a number of U.S. weapon systems. In the build up to President Donald Trump’s visit to India, the Indian government has cleared the $2 billion deal to acquire twenty-four MH-60 naval multirole helicopters. The United States has also issued the LOA for the National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System (NASAMS) missile shield system to protect New Delhi.
The Indian multi-role fighter acquisition program sees another contender in the F-15EX manufactured by Boeing. Ahead of Trump’s visit to India, Boeing has announced that it will offer the F-15EX to the country. The F-15 is a legacy fighter manufactured in 1972 while the F-35 is a modern fifteen generation fighter. While the F-15 EX is a heavy upgraded air superiority fighter with enhanced weapons payload capacity and advanced avionics, the F-35 is VTOL fighter which can operate from aircraft carriers, helipads, and unpaved runways. The two fighters differ in the mission, roles, specifications, functions, and structural designs.