F/A 18 Super Hornet will fit the bill for IAF, says U.S

(FILES) This photograph taken on February 11, 2009, shows a US Navy F/A-18F Super Hornet strike aircraft taking off for a flight demonstration at the Yelahanka Air Force Station in Bangalore ahead of the Aero India 2009 exhibition. India on August 17 began the trials of warjets being hawked by the world's six top aerospace giants vying for a 12-billion dollar military contract, officials said. Military air traffic controllers said Boeing kicked off the trials with a display its F-18 "Super hornet" jets in Bangalore, hub of India's aeronautical and space industry. AFP PHOTO/FILES/Dibyangshu SARKAR   | Photo Credit: DIBYANGSHU SARKAR

As the race for the IAF bid to procure 126 Medium Multirole Combat Aircraft enters the home stretch, the United States Navy vouched for the versatility of the F/A-18 Super Hornet, one of the six aircraft in competition, with features closer to a fifth-generation fighter aircraft.

The Indian Air Force is scheduled to complete flight evaluation trials during the month with the last of the six competitors. The Super Hornet from the Boeing stable has gone through all three phases of trial across different weather conditions in India and weapons at the manufacturers' locations.

The Naval Air Station, Oceana here in the U.S. southeast coast, has under its wing 17 operating squadrons of these fighter jets including 10 Super Hornet squadrons that fly from both the land base and the aircraft carrier.

Emphasising that F/A18 would continue to be the U.S. Navy's workhorse even after the induction of the futuristic F-35, Cmdr Mike Gusko said the new version would complement the existing fleet of Super Hornets, which would continue to serve well beyond 2035.

He said the aircraft could operate from dry, wet and icy runways, an ability fitting in with the overall requirements of the IAF.

The Block-II aircraft (Super Hornet) comes with ability to operate in all-weather providing air defence superiority, precision attack, close-air support, and an advanced radar for weapons system.

Apart from combat manoeuvrability and unlimited angle of attack, which its test pilots demonstrated to the visiting group, it had the active electronically scanned array radar (AESA), the Navy official said. The AESA radar is being upgraded and the version would be on offer.

The Commanding Officer of the Center for Aviation Technical Training Unit, Cdr John Wood, said the NAS, Oceana facility also had both maintenance and training establishment, with the latter running courses for fresh recruits to advanced level staff of varying durations.

The simulator-assisted training establishment brings the technicians closest to understanding the intricate wiring pattern and design, breaking it into segments and guiding them through electronic and printed manuals.

Bret Marks, programme manager for F/A 18 India, said the IAF would get two of the training units in India as part of the deal with the option of buying a third one and an offer to train trainers here. Of the 126 aircraft, the IAF is looking for 80 single-seaters and the rest with tandem operated cockpit. Boeing offers F/A-18 E in the first category and F/A-18 F in the other.

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2021 8:20:17 AM |

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