Boeing and the U.S. Navy proved recently that the F/A-18 Super Hornet can operate from a “ski jump” ramp, demonstrating the aircraft’s suitability for India’s aircraft carriers.
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.
“The first successful and safe launch of the F/A-18 Super Hornet from a ski jump begins the validation process to operate effectively from Indian Navy aircraft carriers,” said Ankur Kanaglekar, India Fighter Sales lead for Boeing. “The F/A-18 Block III Super Hornet will not only provide superior war fighting capability to the Indian Navy but also create opportunities for cooperation in naval aviation between the United States and India.”
The Indian Navy is evaluating its fighter options. If it selects the Super Hornet, it would benefit from billions of dollars invested in new technologies by the U.S. Navy and others. Those technologies include advanced networking, longer range through conformal fuel tanks, infrared search and track, and a new advanced cockpit system.
The ski jump demonstrations follow the delivery of two Block III flight-test aircraft to the U.S. Navy in June. Boeing is on contract to deliver next-generation Block III capabilities to the U.S. Navy beginning in 2021. The Super Hornet provides the most weapons at range in the U.S. Navy’s fighter inventory, including five times more air-to-ground and twice the air-to-air weapons capacity.
Boeing is currently working with 225 local partners in India to produce the hulls of Apache helicopters. Boeing’s annual sourcing from India is worth $1 billion.
India’s need for fighter jets for its Aircraft Carrier
INS Vikrant, produced as part of India’s Native Aircraft Carrier-1 (IAC-1) development project, completed the port tests last month. Sea trials of the ship will begin at the end of 2021.
The Indian Navy is using MiG-29K on its current aircraft carrier. It is stated that the Indian Navy intends to change the planes, which attracted attention in the wake of the crashes it had experienced. With the latest developments, India, in good cooperation with Boeing, is possible to continues to use the Super Hornet.