Boeing pitches Super Hornet for Indian Navy; Successfully performs Ski-jump

By: |
December 21, 2020 4:38 PM

According to the Boeing Company the STOBAR, or Short Takeoff but Arrested Recovery test program for F/A-18 Super Hornet has been conducted in Maryland, US.

Based on the test objectives, several jumps with different aircraft configuration were carried out. And each and every jump was carefully scrutinized jointly by USN and Boeing teams.

The US aerospace giant Boeing and the US Navy have announced that the F/A-18 Block III Super Hornet can operate from a `ski-jump’ ramp. According to the Boeing Company the STOBAR, or Short Takeoff but Arrested Recovery test program for F/A-18 Super Hornet has been conducted in Maryland, US. And it was carried out jointly by the Boeing & USN (US Navy) teams who are analyzing large amounts of data generated from the test program.

What does it mean?

It means that the F/A-18 Block III Super Hornet is suitable for the Indian Navy’s aircraft carriers.

What did the company say about this?

Interacting with the Indian media on Monday (December 21, 2020), Ankur Kanaglekar, Head India Fighters Sales, Boeing Defense, Space and Security, said, “This successful and safe launch from a ski-jump has started the validation process of F/A-18 Block III Super Hornet to operate effectively from Indian Navy aircraft carriers.”

More about the Super Hornet ski jump test program

In partnership with the USN, since 2018 Boeing teams have been conducting simulation analysis. This was being done as part of preparations of the ski-jump trials.

According to Ankur Kanaglekar, “The whole test programme was developed with safety as a top most priority. A buildup test approach was used. And this was to start with very conservative conditions and to gradually working up to heavier takeoff weights and shorter takeoff distances.”

What is Ski Jump Trial?

The trials for ski-jump involved an ‘instrumented’ F/A-18 Super Hornet aircraft. This means the aircraft has sensors attached which capture the strains to measure the increased strain of STOBAR operations.

Based on the test objectives, several jumps with different aircraft configuration were carried out. And each and every jump was carefully scrutinized jointly by USN and Boeing teams.

What is Boeing offering?

The company has said it will offer the Indian Navy advanced warfighter technologies, with superior economics, affordable cost per flight hour because of its ease of maintainability design and durability. This will help in further enhancing the naval aviation cooperation with the USN.

With single and two seater carrier and its ability to interface with the P-8I as a force multiplier, this aircraft will offer unrivalled growth potential to the Indian Navy.

Also, according to the company, the Indian Navy will benefit from the multi-billion dollar investments made towards new technologies in the Super Hornet not only by the USN but several other International customers.

What are the multi-billion dollar worth technologies?

Long-range detection with Infrared Search & Track; advanced network technology; enhanced situational awareness with a new Advanced Cockpit System; longer range and low-drag with conformal fuel tanks; the improved signature reduction and a 10,000+ hour life.

By India, for India

This aircraft has been proposed under “By India, for India” sustainment program. This means that the Block III Super Hornets can be serviced in partnership with the Indian Navy. Throughout the lifecycle of the aircraft, India and US-based partners will also be part of this.

How will this help?

Such a step will help in further developing advanced expertise in aircraft maintenance here locally in India. And this will result in not only higher availability of the aircraft, but also at a competitive pricing and reduced risk for the Indian Navy.

Rafale Vs F/A-18 Super Hornet Vs Indigenous Aircraft

The F/A-18 Super Hornet is expected to compete with not only the French Rafale which has been offered to the Indian Navy, but also, the Light Combat Aircraft (Naval) being tested by the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.

Though the indigenous aircraft for the Indian Navy’s aircraft carrier will take time to be in the service, the requirement of these Ski-jump aircraft are required for the INS Vikramaditya and the upcoming INS Vikrant.

As has been reported by the by Financial Express Online earlier, these two aircraft carriers are designed to carry the Russian MiG-29 Ks. In a span of almost 12 months three MiG-29k have crashed due to technical issues.

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