The state of art F/A-18 Super Hornets fighter jets may soon be seen taking off from Indian Aircraft Carrier – INS Vikrant. If the deal between the Indian Navy and Boeing goes as per the plan, the F/A-18 Super Hornets could replace the MiG-29Ks in service for they seem to have developed problems with their engines and electronic control systems.
Boeing is vying for a contract with the Indian Navy to provide 57 new fighter jets. Furthermore, Boeing has also offered to set up a Super Hornet production facility in India.
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The problem with MiG 29Ks is that their serviceability has reduced to 39%. This means that during a given operation only 3 aircraft are normally available out of a fleet of 10 fighters.
Dan Gillian, the program manager of Boeing told Economic Times that Boeing has answered the queries raised by the Indian Navy and has also performed a simulation analysis. He further added that at some point the Super Hornets will also take off from a US Navy ski jump.
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While offering to set up an F/A-18 Super Hornet facility in India, Gillian also explained that Super Hornets are the most advanced airplane that India can manufacture in the near future.
Boeing is looking to tie up with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited and Mahindra to present a proposal under the Make In India flagship scheme of the Indian government. Not just the Indian Navy but Boeing is also eying contracts with the Indian Air Force which at present has a requirement of 116 new fighter jets.
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What makes the Super Hornets so desirable?
Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet is a twin-engine multirole fighter jet with amazing strike capabilities. It has an internal 20 mm rotary cannon and is more than capable of carrying air to air and air to surface missiles.
The other added feature is that this aircraft can even carry additional fuel for longer operations. The US Navy was the first defence force to induct F/A-18 Super Hornets into service.