For the Long Haul

Block III variant of the Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet is one of the most combat proven fighters in the US fighter aircraft inventory

Mihir Paul

Thomas BreckenridgeIn a press conference, vice president, international sales, Boeing Defence Systems, Thomas Breckenridge made the case for Boeing manufacturing fully indigenous F/A-18 Super Hornets in India for Indian Air Force’s (IAF’s) ongoing Multi-Role Combat Aircraft competition and the Indian Navy’s procurement programme for a carrier-based fighter for the upcoming indigenous aircraft carriers.

Thomas asserted that the Block III variant of the F/A-18 Super Hornet being offered to India is one of the most combat proven fighters in the United States fighter aircraft inventory and is already serving as the US Navy’s frontline fighter and will continue to do so for many decades to come.

He announced that Boeing will be delivering F/A-18 Super Hornets to the Kuwaiti Air Force this year in addition to a multitude of interested international customers. Thomas outlined that the Block III variant not only meets the IAF’s range and stealth requirements, but it also meets the Indian Navy’s requirement for a fighter that supports both catapult-launch (CATOBAR) and ski-lift-launch (STOBAR) configurations.

Highlighting some of the advantages of the Super Hornet over the other contenders in MRCA 2.0, Thomas said that the F/A-18 offers unparalleled performance and affordability. In fact, he said, “The F/A-18 costs less per flight hour than any other fighter in the US armed forces’ inventory.” He added, “It is also the stealthiest aircraft amongst the competition.”

He announced that Boeing is already working with several Indian companies for making system components like avionics for the Super Hornet. He also added that future upgrades for the Super Hornet could easily be co-developed with Indian partners.

The Block III will also have some newer enhancements like an advanced cockpit system and a flat interactive display for the pilot.

Last year, Boeing announced its partnership with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Mahindra Defence for producing Super Hornets in India.

Concluding the press conference, Thomas said, “We are here for the long term. We are investing heavily now so we’ll be ready to produce the fighter in India when the time comes.”


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