US Boeing FA-18 Super Hornet offered under Made in India initiative; will Indian Navy get this jet?

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New Delhi | Published: August 29, 2017 7:50:33 AM

US aerospace major Boeing Company made a push for Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet to meet Indian Naval Carrier platform requirement, and said they could be produced in India under Make in India initiative.

Boeing Company, US aerospace major, Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet, Indian Naval Carrier platform,  India Navy, MRCBFBoeing is one of the four vendors which have responded to India Navy’s Multi-role carrier-borne fighters (MRCBF) Tender to Supply 57 carrier-borne fighter jets to equip its aircraft carriers. (Reuters)

US aerospace major Boeing Company made a push for Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet to meet Indian Naval Carrier platform requirement, and said they could be produced in India under Make in India initiative. Briefing media persons in New Delhi, ahead of a meeting between the company executives and the Indian Navy on Tuesday, Dan Gillian, vice president of F/A-18 and EA Programmes, Boeing, said “ 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).” “Boeing can provide the capability needed for the Indian Navy to build its next generation carrier air wing. It can also provide the industrial base right here behind that capability,” Gillian said. “When we look across the globe at quality, capability and cost – India is an obvious partner. We have been building F/A-18 aero structures and assemblies in India because it makes good business sense to do so.”

Boeing is one of the four vendors which have responded to India Navy’s Multi-role carrier-borne fighters (MRCBF) Tender to Supply 57 carrier-borne fighter jets to equip its aircraft carriers. The company’s top executive said that Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet is the most advanced tactical fighter, an ideal fit for Indian Navy next gen carriers, adding that Indian Navy needs aircraft to operate off carriers that are networked & survivable with growth potential and Boeing F/A-18 is the best fit. Gillian also said that Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet is an evolving platform which will outpace future threats and will be on US Navy carriers into the 2040s. The company officials also made a pitch for Scan Eagle unmanned air systems (UAS) which already has been offered to Indian Navy.

The Indian Navy initiated the bid and issued a Request for Information (RfI) for Procurement of Multi-Role Carrier Borne Fighter for The Indian Navy earlier this year.  “The Analytical and (computer) 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,” said Pratyush Kumar, president, Boeing India. Responding to queries, Kumar said that the aircraft comes with an overall life cycle cost which is more reasonable than other contenders in the bid. “The overall life cycle cost is far lower than others,” Kumar said. “The Super Hornet has the lowest cost per flight hour which is even lower than Lockheed Martin’s F-16.”

According to Gillian the Super Hornet is ahead of its competitors because of its affordability, survivability, built-in stealth, smarter weapons and being combat proven. Presently, the Indian Navy’s aircraft carriers’ utilise “ski-jump ramps” for fighter aircraft to take-off. Indian Navy is seeking a twin-engine fighter for its future aircraft carriers and the chosen strike-fighter aircraft must be capable of operating from both the INS Vikrant, the ski jump equipped short take-off but arrested recovery (STOBAR) carrier currently being built in Kochi.

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