Boeing and the US Navy recently demonstrated the F/A-18 Super HORNET’s ability to take-off from a ski-jump facility, thus showcasing compatibility with the Indian Navy’s aircraft carriers, the company announced on 21 December.
The tests, conducted at the Patuxent River naval air station in Maryland, validated earlier simulation studies by Boeing. The Indian Navy is currently evaluating its fighter options: selection of the Super HORNET would enable it to benefit from billions of dollars invested in new technologies by the US Navy and others. These include advanced networking, longer range (using conformal fuel tanks), infrared search and track, and a new advanced cockpit system.
“The first successful and safe launch of the F/A-18 Super HORNET from a ski jump begins the validation process to operate effectively from Indian Navy aircraft carriers,” explained Ankur Kanaglekar, India Fighter Sales lead for Boeing. “The F/A-18 Block III Super HORNET will not only provide superior warfighting capability to the Indian Navy but also create opportunities for cooperation in naval aviation between the United States and India.”
“This milestone further positions the Block III Super HORNET as a versatile next-generation frontline fighter for decades to come,” added Thom Breckenridge, VP of International Sales for Strike, Surveillance and Mobility with Boeing Defense, Space & Security. “With its proven capabilities, affordable acquisition price, known low documented life-cycle costs and guaranteed delivery schedule, the Block III Super HORNET is ideally suited to meet fighter aircraft requirements of customers in India, North America and Europe.”
Boeing is on contract to deliver next-generation Block III capabilities to the USN from 2021 and has recently delivered two Block III flight-test aircraft to the service. The aircraft provides the most weapons at range in the USN’s fighter inventory, including five times more air-to-ground and twice the air-to-air weapons capacity.
Boeing’s advanced aircraft and services focus play an important role in mission-readiness for the Indian Air Force and Indian Navy. The company is focused on delivering value to Indian customers with advanced technologies and is committed to creating sustainable value in the Indian aerospace sector – developing local suppliers and shaping academic and research collaborations with Indian institutions. It has strengthened its supply chain with 225 Indian partners and a joint venture to manufacture APACHE helicopter fuselages. Annual sourcing from India now stands at $1 billion (€820 million). The company currently employs 3,000 people in India, and more than 7,000 people work with its supply chain partners.