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    Should IAF invest $15 bn in buying the F/A-18 Super Hornet?

    Synopsis

    From 'Top Gun' fans to IAF enthusiasts, everyone’s talking about the fighter aircraft this week.

    Others
    The Royal Australian Air Force currently operates 24 Super Hornets, while Kuwait has ordered 28 of the jets.
    From 'Top Gun' fans to IAF enthusiasts, everyone’s talking about the F/A-18 Super Hornet this week. We take a closer look…

    Since the trailer for 'Top Gun: Maverick' dropped last week, aviation enthusiasts have been buzzing about the multi-role fighter that the Indian Air Force (IAF) and Indian Navy could soon fly, courtesy of Boeing and two Indian companies.

    In April 2018, Boeing announced a partnership with PSU Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Mahindra Defence Systems (MDS) to manufacture the F/A-18 Super Hornet in India under the ‘Make in India’ programme. Last month, HAL delivered its 150 th gun bay door for the F/A-18 Super Hornet.

    A few interesting facts about the fighter aircraft that’s got everyone talking:


    1. The F/A-18 Super Hornet is a twin-engine multirole combat jet based on the McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet. It was designed primarily for use on aircraft carriers of the US Navy after the US government decided to stop purchases of the F-14 Tomcat in 1991 (the fighter jet featured in the original Top Gun movie).

    2. Today, the latest evolution of the F/A-18 – the Block III – is able to perform a variety of tactical missions such as air superiority, day/night strike with precision guided weapons, fighter escort, close air support, suppression of enemy air defence, maritime strike, reconnaissance, forward air control and buddy refuelling.

    3. According to the Boeing website, the F/A-18 Super Hornet will deliver on India’s need for a carrier and land-based multi-role fighter being the least expensive aircraft per flight hour of its kind with advanced survivability and continuous evolution.

    4. This assessment is based on extensive testing that Boeing has done to test the Super Hornet’s compatibility with Indian carriers. Results show that the Super Hornet is capable of launching off a ski-jump carrier and could be operated from Indian carriers with a meaningful fuel and weapons load, as found on the company’s website.
    Specifications of F/A-18 Super HornetOthers
    Specifications of F/A-18 Super Hornet.

    5. Should the IAF and the Indian Navy decide to purchase the Super Hornets, the value of the IAF contract alone is estimated to be $15 billion.

    6. Depending on the number of machines ordered by both the Navy and the IAF, Boeing will set up a completely new production facility in India for the production of its F/A-18 Super Hornets with the aim that the new facility can be used for other programs like India’s Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) program.

    7. The Royal Australian Air Force currently operates 24 Super Hornets, while Kuwait has ordered 28 of the jets. The Super Hornet was also proposed for the Indian Air Force's now-aborted deal to purchase 126 fighter aircrafts.

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    Check out the latest in unmanned aerial vehicles from leading aerospace obot to perform mundane work manufacturers at the International Paris Air Show.


    (Text: Rajarshi Bhattacharjee)


    11 Comments on this Story

    Ayush Agarwal78 days ago
    I think FA-18 Super Hornet is the best bet for IAF.It has E&F variant which can fit in the requirements of IAF.Even if it doesn't carry as good missiles as the current favourite for IAF 'Rafale' Carries but still they are good enough and who knows may be India can use their own missiles like astra air to air missile and brahmos which are unarguably one of the best in the world. FA-18 Super Hornet with it's full package will not be as costly as rafale.So it can do one thing which rafale can't....perfectly fit in MMRCA budget.May be if India would show its interest in buying rafale it would be difficult to buy 110 jets at once and India would need to scrap the MMRCA once again to buy rafale so dassault will also wouldn't show its interest in tot.Also India has already placed an order for 36 rafale.So India should now look upto other MMRCA as well because we shouldn't have dependency only on one country in terms of 4 generation aircrafts.Also it can provide its naval variant,opening a door for close relations between U.S.A and India and also a new production facility for FA-18 Super Hornet with an idea that it can be used in HAL AMCA program.It is really a value for money in long run.
    Chaitanya Koranne385 days ago
    US is unreliable. SO depending on US for guranteed supplies and spares and service support for over 35-40 years is questionable. I think a neutral country like sweden, Gripen, which is also an extremely good aircraft and Sweden has agreed for full ToT and also set up an assembly line in India, makes more sense. Eurofighter is again in a mess because of Brexit. So best bet is Gripen, keeping safe distance from both US and Russia and yet get the best technology and stable support.
    Swastik Sircar385 days ago
    Don''t think twice. The Modi Administration should singlemindedly invest in Tejas/LCA and also try its best to bring in the 2nd gen. Tejas/MCA or Medium Combat Aircraft with canards and other upgrades. This should be done First and efficiently. Never rely on Americans, they are a whimsical minded breed.
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