We’ll have to hope that it isn’t just another flop from Lockheed Martin. In mid-February, the U.S government offered to sell the new F-21 fighter to India. Just like the F-35, instead of looking like an entirely new jet, it’s practically a reskin of one of their former aircraft, the F-16 Fighting Falcon. But the move of selling the jets to India may not have anything to do with technological improvements, but rather to have closer industrial cooperation.
On February 20, 2019, India hosted a trade show with 7 defence contractors to pick their next fighter aircraft. Boeing with the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, Dassault Aviation with the Rafale, BAE systems, Leonardo and Airbus with the Eurofighter Typhoon, Saab with the Saab JAS 39 Gripen, Mikoyan-Gurevich(MiG) with the MiG-35 Fulcrum, Sukhoi with the Su-35 Flanker and of course Lockheed Martin with the F-35.
All of the planes above are very well known and well established and reliable fighters. In the end, the Rafale won and India signed a 7.8 million euro(8.8 billion USD) contract for 38 Rafales.
Mechanically speaking, this plane has lots of ups and downs. The F-21 has a noticeably large dorsal spine to accommodate avionics, communications equipment, countermeasures systems, and more. The jet also has a probe-and-drogue refuelling system that extends from the starboard conformal fuel tank, but this reduces the total amount of fuel the jet can carry.
A video presentation shows the F-21 carrying three AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missiles on new racks, which gives the jet added air-to-air magazine depth even when carrying underwing fuel tanks or other stores.
In my opinion, they should have just stuck with the F-15. It was good enough, and reliable. Now that they have no deal with India, the project was for nothing since the U.S air force is still using the F-15’s anyways.