- The Washington Times - Monday, December 28, 2020

Boeing says their F/A-18 Super Hornet currently flown by the U.S. Navy also would be suitable for India, even though their Navy uses an entirely different type of aircraft carrier.

The company said they recently proved it at the Patuxent River Naval Air Station in Maryland

The 11 aircraft carriers in service with the U.S. Navy use catapults to launch aircraft into the air. France is the only other country that has adopted the Catapult-assisted Take-off Barrier Arrested Recovery (CATOBAR) system for its single carrier, the Charles de Gaulle.

India and the handful of other countries with carriers use some version of a short-take off and landing system with its distinctive “ski jump” appearance.

In addition to being launched via steam-powered catapult, Boeing said their Super Hornet also can take off from a ski jump. The demonstration earlier this month validated simulation studies, the company said.

“The F/A-18 Block III Super Hornet will not only provide superior war fighting capability to the Indian Navy but also create opportunities for cooperation in naval aviation between the United States and India,” said Ankur Kanaglekar, India Fighter Sales lead for Boeing.

India is currently evaluating its fighter options and would be a lucrative customer to Boeing. The company said India would benefit from billions of dollars already invested in new technologies by the U.S. Navy and other military services that fly the Super Hornet, such as advanced networking capabilities, longer range fuel tanks and a new advanced cockpit system.

“The Block III Super Hornet is ideally suited to meet fighter aircraft requirements of customers in India, North America and Europe,” said Thom Breckenridge, the company’s vice president of international sales for strike, surveillance and mobility.

The company said they already employ 3,000 people in India at their other defense-related industries in the country. Boeing said they strengthened their supply chain with 225 partners in India, including a joint venture to manufacturer fuselages for Apache helicopters.

• Mike Glenn can be reached at mglenn@washingtontimes.com.

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