He said that the partnership with HAL and Mahindra will enable them to optimise the full potential of India’s public and private sector to deliver next-generation F/A-18 fighter capabilities.
US-based aerospace company Boeing on Thursday announced a partnership with state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) and Mahindra Defence Systems (MDS) for manufacturing F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter jets in India for its armed forces. The partnership will also pursue the joint development of future technologies. Speaking at a press conference on the sidelines of DefExpo 2018, Boeing India president Pratyush Kumar said the discussions on the tie-up have been going for the last 18 months. “We scanned across the length and breadth of the country. We discussed with over 400 suppliers. HAL is the only company that manufactures combat fighters, Mahindra Defence is the only company that manufactures small commercial planes. It is very exciting for us,” he said.
He said that the partnership with HAL and Mahindra will enable them to optimise the full potential of India’s public and private sector to deliver next-generation F/A-18 fighter capabilities. “Together we can deliver an affordable, combat-proven fighter platform for India, while adding growth momentum to the Indian aerospace ecosystem with manufacturing, skill development, innovation and engineering and job creation.” HAL chairman and managing director T Suvarna Raju said: “This partnership with Boeing and Mahindra Defence Systems will create an opportunity to develop capabilities of the aerospace industry and strengthen indigenous platforms in India, thereby contributing to the Make-in-India activities.” Future production with Indian partners will involve maximising indigenous content and producing the F/A-18 in India for its armed forces to create a 21st century aerospace eco-system. SP Shukla, group president, aerospace & defence,Mahindra Group, and chairman, Mahindra Defence Systems, said: “We are excited about the opportunities that this partnership with Boeing and HAL will provide for us to contribute further to ‘Make in India’ for defence. As one of the largest private sector defence companies, we look forward to supporting the modernisation effort of our armed forces and achieving economies of scale in the aerospace and defence sector.”
The Super Hornet Make in India proposal is to build an entirely new and state-of-the-art production facility that can be utilised for other programmes like India’s Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) programme. This partnership is intended to bring Boeing, HAL and MDS’ global scale and supply chain, its best-in-industry precision manufacturing processes, as well as the unrivaled experience designing and optimising aerospace production facilities to both expand India’s aerospace eco-system and help realise the Make in India vision.
The plan addresses the infrastructure, personnel training and operational tools and techniques required to produce a next-generation fighter aircraft in India. In addition, Boeing will work closely with Indian industry to ensure they have the very latest technologies, applying lessons learned from the current Super Hornet production line. As the most advanced and least expensive aircraft per flight hour of its kind, the F/A-18 Super Hornet will deliver on India’s need for a carrier- and land-based multi-role fighter. The Super Hornet does not only have a low acquisition cost, it costs less per flight hour to operate than any other tactical aircraft in the US forces inventory. And with a plan for constant innovation, the F/A-18 Super Hornet will outpace threats, bolster defence capabilities and make India stronger for decades to come.