Australia all praise for Super Hornet’s agility

“Australian interests span the Indian and Pacific Oceans, and stability is essential in this incredibly important trade and fiscal region that the planet relies on. The fighter aircraft F/A-18F Super Hornet plays a vital role in enabling this,” said Group Captain Glen Braz, Officer Commanding, 82 Wing HQ/6 Sqn at the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) base, Amberley, south-west of Brisbane.

It is the country’s largest air base. He was speaking to a visiting Indian media team in Australia.

Deployed in West Asia

Australia is the first country outside the United States to operate this multi-role fighter and deploy it in operations in the West Asian region in 2015. The aircraft, which is made by aerospace major Boeing, is reported to be of interest to India, and now features in ‘Make in India’ offers.

In a presentation at the base, which focussed on Super Hornet operations and the related aviation ecosystem, he elaborated on a series of salient features of the aircraft. He listed as “very impressive” the Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System (JHMCS), used to aim sensors and weapons wherever the pilot is looking by synchronising aircraft sensors with the user’s head movements.

In the Super Hornet, a dual-seat aircraft, each crew member can wear a JHMCS helmet and still perform independent operations with continuous awareness of where the other crew member is looking. Further to this, the plane’s 4.5-gen APG-79 AESA radar ensured optimum mission performance. The fact that the Super Hornet can play the role of a mid-air refuelling tanker with no modifications necessary was “remarkably beneficial and a key differentiator”, he said. Importantly, the aircraft can also be used in a maritime strike role.

The aircraft uses the Harpoon missile as part of its extensive weaponry systems. India is reported to have purchased this missile for integration in the Navy’s Boeing P-8I maritime patrol aircraft.

Group Captain Braz said Australia had a long history of Hornet operations and “understood the Hornet ecosystem more broadly”.

( The writer is in Brisbane at the invitation of the Boeing Company)

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Printable version | Mar 29, 2020 12:50:56 AM |

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