US defense vendor Raytheon said that it was ready to supply the Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar in addition to advanced medium-range air-to-air missile (AMRAAM) if the Indian Air Force (IAF) would choose the F-16 and F-18 fighter jets. The IAF has asked for quotations for 126 multi-role combat aircraft and the F-16 and F-18 are being considered as part of the deal. The AESA radar, which is not offered to Pakistan, will great increase the war-fighting capabilities of both jets.
However, since this sensitive technology is not offered to nations outside the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Raytheon said it will “work to secure US government approval” to export sensitive technologies. Raytheon is looking “at a long-term partnership” with India “rather than a buyer-seller relationship.” This approach will include establishing partnerships with Indian companies for technology transfer to localize “production of certain components.”
The AESA system steers radar beams at nearly the speed of light and is lighter and considered more accurate than conventional radars. The US Navy’s F-18 jets use these radars.