The F/A-18 Super Hornet Block III on offer to the Indian Navy is the world’s most advanced, combat proven, multi-role frontline naval fighter that offers unique and differentiated capabilities and full compatibility with Indian Navy carriers. Designed as a carrier-based fighter for high- loading, high stress operations, the F/A-18E/F Block III Super Hornet requires minimal support equipment and has the lowest cost per flight hour to operate with high mission readiness rates. As the U.S. Navy’s frontline fighter with over 700 aircraft in operation around the world, the Block III Super Hornet offers opportunities for cooperation in naval aviation cooperation between the United States and India navies. The F/A-18E/F Block III Super Hornet can act as a force multiplier for the Indian Navy as it interfaces with assets such as the P-8I
- Fully compliant with both INS Vikramaditya and INS Vikrant
- Safe, proven wing-fold solution for carrier lift fitment
- No risk to structures removal (Radome Cone, Wing Tip Rails) on deployment
- Advanced network architecture enables P-8I interface and other U.S.-origin helicopters and future carrier-based unmanned systems
- Two-seater variant offers availability for carrier missions, can operate on land-based missions and as trainers
- Lowest acquisition and per flight costs
- High mission readiness rates
- 10,000 hours airframe designed for future upgrades
NAVAL AVIATION COOPERATION
- 11 active aircraft carriers; 800 F/A-18 Super Hornets and Growlers delivered
- Collaboration opportunities for carrier integration, training, and technology transfer.
The F/A-18 Super Hornet has been designed and built for carrier operations, and is fully compliant with INS Vikramaditya and INS Vikrant aircraft carrier. F/A-18 will be able to operate on the deck, in the hangar and on the lifts of the Indian Navy’s aircraft carriers.
We offer single and two-seater variants of the Super Hornet to the Indian Navy. The two-seater configuration in particular will offer several unique advantages to the Indian Navy including meeting all missions ashore and on the carrier, higher utilization of the fleet and the ability to successfully complete those missions from the carrier that benefit from having the second crew. As the Indian Navy inducts unmanned carrier borne platforms, two-seater carrier compatible aircraft will help further the interface between manned and unmanned systems in a carrier environment. In the absence of two-seater carrier compatible variant on Indian Navy carriers, approximately 15% of Indian Navy’s fleet inducted through MRCBF platform will remain ashore.
For years, Boeing teams have worked closely with the Indian Navy to analyze the overall compatibility of the F/A-18 Super Hornet Block III with Indian Navy’s current and future carriers. These complex studies involved STOBAR performance, arrested landings, aircraft spotting on the carrier deck and most importantly the fitting of the aircraft in the carrier lift and hangars. F/A-18 Super Hornet, with its wing-fold feature, offer a tried and tested, safe & practical solution for compatibility with the navy carriers.
The Super Hornet’s Precision Landing Mode software is specially designed to reduce pilot workload while landing on the Indian Navy’s Vikramaditya carrier by maintaining the proper glide slope and proper approach speeds for the aircraft during landing which increases landing performance, safety, and boarding rate. It has fully redundant systems and is independent of the carrier’s optical landing system.
SUCCESSFULLY PERFORMS SKI-JUMP LAUNCH
In July 2022, Boeing’s F/A-18 Super Hornet successfully completed operational demonstration tests at Indian Naval Station Hansa in Goa, India, and reinforcing the Super Hornet’s ability to effectively and safety operate off Indian Navy carriers.
Two U.S. Navy F/A-18E Super Hornets completed multiple ski-jumps, roll-in and fly-in arrestments, as well as performance flights, in a variety of weights in the air-to-air, air-to-ground, and air-to-surface configurations, meeting the Indian Navy test requirements.
The tests followed eight ski-jumps in various weights and configurations during previous tests held at Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River in Maryland in late 2020 that demonstrated the Super Hornet’s ability to operate from a short takeoff but arrested recovery (STOBAR) aircraft carrier, and validating earlier simulation studies by Boeing.
The above video is of the most recent ski-jump trials held in Goa, India in June 2022.
Video from the ski-jump trials held at Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River in Maryland in late 2020.
INTERFACING WITH P-8I & OTHER ASSETS OF THE INDIAN NAVY
F/A-18 Super Hornet Block III is a highly networked fighter. With the Indian Navy’s eleven P-8Is already in service, and an additional six to be procured; the Indian Navy will also be inducting other ‘US-Origin’ helicopters and unmanned systems. The Super Hornet Block III on offer to the Indian Navy will come with advanced network architecture that will provide opportunities to interface seamlessly with other U.S origin assets including Indian Navy’s P-8Is. This will have the F/A-18 Super Hornet act as a force multiplier for the Indian Navy and increasing the type of missions they can execute.
Hear from one of Boeing’s test pilots, John Tougas, about the F/A-18 Super Hornet’s Interoperability benefit for the Indian Navy.
Boeing is offering F/A-18 Super Hornet in single-seater (E-Variant) and two-seater variant (F-Variant) to the Indian Navy, and both variants are carrier compatible to perform the full range of combat missions and can fully operate from the carrier deck. The two-seater is also a capable trainer aircraft - both ashore and carrier borne. This offers the Indian Navy flexibility and ensures that precious air assets are never underutilized. The two-seater variant will allow Indian Navy to fly advanced missions from the carrier because of the second pilot on board, and not to mention carrier based naval aviation technologies related to Manned-Unmanned interface, can also be effectively operationalized through a two-seater version.
Hear from Alain Garcia, Vice President, Business Development for Boeing India, about the fighter’s two-seater value.
The F/A-18 Super Hornet offers superior cost and value economics that prioritize working within customer’s budgets, since it has a low acquisition cost and also costs less per flight hour to operate than any other tactical aircraft in U.S. forces inventory. In addition, the Super Hornet’s cost per carrier flight hour is substantially lower for the Indian Navy compared to a non-Boeing solution.
This is possible because the fighter is designed for ease of maintainability and offers impressive durability. For example: The life of the airframe is 10,000 hrs. This means that it has a long lifecycle built-in for future upgrades and enhancements, and depending on the Indian Navy’s requirements, our ‘By India – For India’ sustainment program that is built on other successful sustainment programs that Boeing is executing for the Indian Air Force and the Indian Navy today will allow for capabilities development in India to sustain the F/A-18 Super Hornet.
Powered by the GE F-414 engine that has clocked more than 5 million hours, the F/A-18 Block III Super Hornet uses the same family of engines that is powering India’s indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA); that has already been inducted by the Indian Air Force. The commonality in engines will create scale efficiencies for potential sustainment opportunities in the future.
The Super Hornet will also offer the Indian Navy the most economical path to get access to newer technologies compared to any other competitor. Due to the massive scale of the Super Hornets, Hornets in operation around the world, the cost of incorporating newly developed technologies will be very competitive.
ENHANCED NAVAL AVIATION COOPERATION BETWEEN THE U.S. NAVY AND INDIAN NAVY
With the U.S Navy receiving more than 800 F/A-18 Super Hornets and Growlers the induction of the Super Hornet by the Indian Navy would greatly promote naval aviation cooperation, sharing of operational best practices and enhance interoperability between the two navies. The F/A-18 Super Hornet also has the potential to create collaboration opportunities between the two navies for carrier integration, training, technology transfer, and so much more. Choosing this fighter will be an enabler to a secure Indo-Pacific region: Three out of the four countries that support a secure Indo-Pacific operate the P-8, and two out of the four countries operate the F/A-18.
BY INDIA – FOR INDIA SUSTAINMENT
Boeing's 'For India - By India' sustainment program builds on the company's nearly eight decades of history in the country, leveraging existing programs, growing supply chain capabilities and partnering with the local industry.
The Super Hornets will be sustained in India, in partnership with the Indian Navy as well as India and U.S.-based partners throughout the lifecycle of the aircraft. This will further enable its growth, lower risk and develop advanced expertise in maintenance, resulting in higher availability of the aircraft and at competitive pricing for the Indian Navy.