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Boeing has offered its  F/A-18 SUPER HORNET to the Indian Navy, which plans to buy carrier-based fighter jets alongside an Indian Air Force (IAF) tender for 114 fighter aircraft. Boeing and the US Navy successfully demonstrated that the F/A-18 SUPER HORNET can operate from a “ski jump” ramp, demonstrating the aircraft’s suitability for India’s aircraft carriers.

“This milestone further positions the Block III Super Hornet as a versatile next-generation frontline fighter for decades to come,” says Thom Breckenridge, Vice President of International Sales for Strike, Surveillance and Mobility with Boeing Defense, Space & Security.

The demonstrations, held at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland, showed that the SUPER HORNET would do well with the Indian Navy’s Short Takeoff but Arrested Recovery (STOBAR) system and validated earlier simulation studies by Boeing. These trials involved an ‘instrumented’ F/A-18 SUPER HORNET with sensors attached to capture the strains and measure the increased strain of STOBAR operations. Depending on test objectives, several jumps with different aircraft configuration took place. Each jump was carefully scrutinised by the joint Boeing and US Navy test team before attempting the next takeoff. The vast amount of data gathered will help refine the modelling and simulation studies.

Block III SUPER HORNET

The ski jump demonstrations followed the delivery of two Block III flight-test aircraft to the US Navy in June. Boeing is on schedule to deliver next-generation Block III capabilities to the US Navy in 2021 and by 2024, one squadron per carrier air wing will consist of Block III SUPER HORNETs.

Boeing’s advanced aircraft and services focus play an important role in mission-readiness for the Indian Air Force and Indian Navy. Boeing is focused on delivering value to Indian customers with advanced technologies and is committed to creating sustainable value in the Indian aerospace sector – developing local suppliers and shaping academic and research collaborations with Indian institutions, according to Kanaglekar.

J C Menon