Boeing has released a video of its F/A-18E/F Super Hornet jet launching from a ground-based “ski jump” ramp, in a demonstration for India, which is looking to buy a new carrier-based multirole fighter. The Indian Navy’s current carrier, as well as its next flattop, lack catapults, which means the service requires a jet that can take off from a sloped ramp before returning to the ship using arrestor gear.

The brief video published today on Twitter reportedly dates from the series of trials that were run last August. It shows a single-seat F/A-18E from Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 23 (VX-23), the “Salty Dogs,” launching from the ground-based ramp, with the jet carrying some type of external stores — apparently inert bombs — under the wings. A ski-jump launch may well impose a penalty in terms of the payload the jet can take off with, but Boeing says it has conducted multiple tests with different, undisclosed, kinds of payloads.
According to the company, these tests “show that the Super Hornet would do well with the Indian Navy’s Short Takeoff but Arrested Recovery (STOBAR) system and validate earlier simulation studies.” Boeing first disclosed that it was doing simulation work on the Super Hornet’s ability to operate from a STOBAR carrier in 2017.

The Indian Navy currently operates the STOBAR carrier INS Vikramaditya, which is the adapted Soviet-era Admiral Gorshkov, and the future INS Vikrant, an indigenous carrier, also makes use of the same technology for aircraft launch and recovery.

The Block III is the latest and most advanced version of the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, offering longer range and reduced drag with conformal fuel tanks, an infrared search and track sensor, Advanced Cockpit System, signature reduction, and a 10,000+ hour life.