Super Hornets are compatible with Indian Navy aircraft carriers: Boeing

American defence major, Boeing claimed that its F/A-18E/F Super Hornet fighter aircraft is compatible with Indian Navy’s current aircraft carrier platforms, IANS reported.

It added that the fighters can be produced in the country under the government’s “Make in India” initiative if it is selected by the Indian Navy.

“Analytical and simulations have shown that the F/A-18 is compatible with the current carrier fleet of the Indian Navy. The results of the test have been submitted in response to a global RFI issued by the Navy,” Pratyush Kumar, President of Boeing India, was quoted as saying by IANS.

Kumar spoke to IANS on the sidelines of a briefing over F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter aircraft which was held in New Delhi. Boeing has filed its response to a global RFI (request for information) floated by the Indian Navy earlier this year.

Presently, the Indian Navy’s aircraft carriers’ utilise “ski-jump ramps” to launch fighter aircraft to take off while the American aircraft carriers are equipped with the steam catapult to launch aircraft.

Boeing is considered to be one of the major contenders for the supply of 57 carrier-borne fighter aircraft required by the Indian Navy. Company executives told IANS that the F/A-18 Super Hornet was designed for carrier operations and is “the world’s pre-eminent carrier capable aircraft” with a defined US Navy flight plan to outpace threats into the 2040s.

The Indian Navy initiated the bid and issued an “RFI for Procurement of Multi-Role Carrier Borne Fighter for The Indian Navy” on January 31, 2017.

According to Kumar, apart from the advanced technologies, the aircraft comes with an overall life cycle cost which is more reasonable than other contenders in the bid including Lockheed Martin’s F-16.

Dan Gillian, Vice President of F/A-18 and EA Programmes, Boeing, observed that a platform like the “Super Hornet” under the “Make in India” programme will help the Indian industry to position itself for the manufacture of “Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft” (AMCA).

“The Super Hornet represents a 21st-century capability for the Indian defence forces and industrial capability where we have evaluated 400 suppliers for the fighter campaign and have done a deep assessment of the capability of over 160 Indian suppliers,” Kumar said. “We have quadrupled our sourcing from India and currently source $1 billion from India.”

Gillian mentioned that the Super Hornet is ahead of its competitors because of its affordability, survivability, built-in stealth, smarter weapons and being combat proven.

Currently, the Indian Navy has a sole aircraft carrier, INS Vikramaditya which is based in the Indian Ocean Region. It operates the Russian built Mikoyan MiG-29K fighter aircraft from the platform.

Written with inputs from IANS

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