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Boeing Completes F/A-18 Super Hornet Demonstrations in India

Jay Menon Atul Chandra - : Jul 21, 2022 - : 6:19 am

Boeing has completed a major milestone in its quest to achieve a fighter sale to India with the successful completion of operational demonstration tests of the F/A-18 Super Hornet in India.

The Super Hornet is vying for an Indian Navy requirement for 26 carrier borne fighter aircraft (18 single-seat and 8 twin-seat). The aircraft are expected to be procured through the Government-to-Government (G2G) route. A formal order for the aircraft finally selected could be placed as early as next year. The navy had originally sought to procure 57 aircraft as a replacement for its Russian supplied MiG-29Ks.

“With the Super Hornet Block III, the Indian Navy would not only get the most advanced platform but would also benefit from tactics, upgrades and knowledge related to the naval aviation ecosystem that the U.S. Navy offers,” said Alain Garcia, vice president, India business development Boeing Defense, Space & Security and Global Services.

Boeing completed the tests at Indian Naval Station Hansa in Goa, which included multiple ski-jumps, roll-in and fly-in arrestments, as well as performance flights in a variety of weights and configurations. This was also the first time that Super Hornet aircraft undertook landings using arresting gear that is different from what is used by the U.S. Navy.

These tests had demonstrated the Super Hornet’s ability to operate from a short takeoff but arrested recovery (STOBAR) aircraft carrier. Boeing has also confirmed that the F/A-18 will be able to operate on the deck, in the hangar and on the lifts of the Indian Navy’s aircraft carriers.

The Super Hornet Block III has an airframe life of 10,000 hours and features radar cross-section improvements and an advanced crew station which includes a large area display. The F/A-18 can carry four anti-ship missiles (Harpoon) and the twin-seat F/A-18 Super Hornets are not only fully capable as fighters but can also be used as trainers (ashore and on the carrier).

Both aircraft used for tests were on loan from the U.S. Navy and the tests followed eight ski-jumps in various weights and configurations conducted during previous tests held at Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River in Maryland in late 2020. The other competing aircraft for the navy deal, the French made Dassault Aviation Rafale, undertook its operational demonstrations in March from Goa. The Indian Navy presently has only a single operational carrier in INS Vikramaditya. However, the indigenously developed aircraft carrier Vikrant is expected to be inducted into service in August.

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