St Louis (Missouri): The world's largest airline manufacturer is hotly pursuing India as its next big international market for both commercial and military aircraft.
Boeing is trying to sell a whole array of military planes to India.
Among the aircrafts on offer is the F18 and Boeing calls it the only fighter jet of its kind in the world.
The F18, also called the Super-Hornet, is a multi-role combat aircraft or MRCA, with the ability to strike during both day and night.
Equipped with an aerial refueling system, the F18 can carry more than 30,000 pounds of fuel and can fly one-and-a-half times faster than the speed of sound.
It's fitted with 11 weapons stations that can carry air-to-air and air-to-surface weapons including precision-guided missiles.
After offering F16s to Pakistan, the US government has given the thumbs-up to Boeing to sell the much superior F18s to India.
Company officials have made frequent visits to New Delhi over the past year and now a 126-jet deal worth $ seven billion is on the table.
Says VP, Global Strike Systems, Boeing, Chris Chadwick, "You really have a true multi-role fighter in this competition, which is what the Indian Air Force is looking for. You can take an air-to-air or air-to-ground plane and try to modify it for the requirement but if you really need the right cost capability for the Indian airforce we believe the F18 provides that capability."
But with a price tag of nearly $54 million apiece, can India afford the deal?
Yes, says Boeing because it plans to offset the cost by setting up a $100 million maintenance and training hub in Nagpur, which means cheaper and faster repair facilities.
Boeing also proposes joint manufacture of the jets with Indian partners.
"If you look at the production side of the MRCA, it's going to go from being produced in the US early on to a co-production arrangement with Indian industry. So we want to work hand in hand with them in terms of building the airplane," says Chadwick.
There are four more contenders for the fighter jet deal, including France that's offering its Mirage and Russia its MIG-29.
Boeing has delivered 220 of these fighter aircraft so far but only to the US Navy.
This is the first time Boeing is offering its technology to a foreign country.
The Indian Government is expected to release the request for proposal within a month and that's when the bidding process is expected to take off.