Even as the Indian Navy’s assessment report is awaited, the US aerospace Boeing Company says that two F/A-18E Super Hornet fighter jets have completed operational demonstration tests successfully. These demonstration tests took place at INS Hansa in Goa in June. According to an official statement issued by the company the successful demonstrations have reinforced the F/A-18 ability to effectively and safely operate off Indian Navy carriers.
Two US Navy F/A-18E during the tests completed multiple ski-jumps, roll-in and fly-in arrestsments, as well as performance flights. These involved a variety of weights in the air-to-surface, air-to-air, and air-to-ground configurations, meeting the requirements of the tests as specified by the Indian Navy.
According to Alain Garcia, vice president, India business development Boeing Defense, Space & Security and Global Services, “This is one of the world’s most proven and affordable multi-role fighters. And it continues to evolve with the development of the next-generation Block III capability which will be game-changing for India.”
In his words, the Indian Navy will get the most advanced platform when it gets the Super Hornet Block III. It will also benefit from knowledge related to the naval aviation ecosystem that the US Navy offers and also upgrades, and tactics.
The F/A-18 Super Hornet is a premier frontline multi-role naval fighter.
Financial Express Online has reported earlier that the tests last month followed eight ski-jumps in various weights and configurations which took place in 2020 at Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River in Maryland. These tests had demonstrated the aircraft’s ability to operate from a short takeoff but arrested recovery (STOBAR) aircraft carrier.
Which aircraft will the Indian Navy get for its aircraft carrier?
No decision has been taken yet. And as has been reported in Financial Express Online earlier, the whole process of identifying the right aircraft for the navy’s aircraft carrier is still a long way off.
The aircraft on offer to the Indian Navy’s tender for 57 multi-role carrier-based fighters (MRCBF) — F/A-18E/F Super Hornet is being operated as the main fighter on all 11 US Navy aircraft carriers. And this aircraft is competing with Rafale Marine (M) of Dassault Aviation.
The Indian navy’s plan is to initially acquire 26 fighters from either the French or from the Americans and rest it is likely to go for the naval version of India’s own Light Combat Aircraft (LCA).
Whichever aircraft is acquired, they will project Indian Navy’s power in the Indian Ocean Region where the Chinese side continues its belligerence.
Recently, according to reports, the US navy and Boeing successfully demonstrated the ability of the F/A-18 Super Hornet Block III – to control three unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) from a manned fighter.