Boeing says the Hornets will be a "gamechanger" for the Indian Navy. F/A-18E/F Block III Super Hornet can act as a force multiplier for the Indian Navy as it interfaces with the P-8I

As Rafale aircrafts touched down in India, Boeing has been busy trying to sell the F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet which it says is the "most lethal, advanced, combat-proven, multi-role frontline fighter-jet."

"The Block III version which is currently being manufactured for the United States Navy will enable the Indian armed forces to challenge the next generation of adversaries," the Boeing company says.

More than 700 F/A-18 Hornets and Super Hornets are in operation today.

"F/A-18 Block III Super Hornet will offer superior economics to the Indian armed forces in the form of low-cost of acquisition, operations and high mission readiness," the company declared.

Boeing says the Hornets will be a "gamechanger" for the Indian Navy.

"The F/A-18 Super Hornet Block III offers the Indian Navy a unique and differentiated capability in the form of an advanced, combat-proven, multi-role naval fighter that is fully compatible with the Indian Navy carriers," the company says.

F/A-18E/F Block III Super Hornet can act as a force multiplier for the Indian Navy as it interfaces with the P-8I which carries out critical maritime operations. India's P-8 fleet is the second largest in the world.

India Needs Fighters For Its Aircraft Carriers

The Indian Navy reportedly needs 57 fighters for its aircraft carriers with the contract expected to be worth $6.6 billion.

According to Boeing, the Block III version can perform virtually every mission in the tactical spectrum including "air superiority, day/night strike with precision-guided weapons, fighter escort, close air support, suppression of enemy air defence, maritime strike, reconnaissance, forward air control and buddy refuelling.”

In August, Boeing had said that it was testing the F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet fighter jets for the Indian Navy.

Hornets Can Conduct Air Reconnaissance, Air Defence And Maritime Roles

The super fighter has some tactically dangerous features as it can conduct air reconnaissance, air defence, and maritime roles along with enhanced computing and data link, advanced cockpit system, signature improvements making it an all-purpose fighting hawk.

US aircraft carrier Nimitz hosts the multi-million dollar aircraft. India and US forces had earlier this year conducted naval exercise off Andaman and Nicobar Islands along with the Nimitz carrier.

According to reports, a pair of Navy F/A-18F Super Hornets on the USS Nimitz conducted the airstrikes against ISIS hideouts in Iraq’s Wadi al-Shai in Kirkuk province as part of Inherent Resolve.

China Strategy

India has been trying to put together its Ocean strategy as China continues to eye the waters. China's aircraft carrier Liaoning has been making deep patrols in the South China sea, however, reports say it still does not have enough high-level, trained fighter pilots to take on the US on the high seas.

India's INS Vikramaditya hosts the Russian Mig-29K fighters, however, reports say India wants to upgrade it MiG's with superior fighters which can take on the Chinese over the next decade as tensions continue to simmer in the Indian Ocean Region(IOR) and elsewhere.

STOBAR Compliant For Indian Navy

Boeing in fact has been trying to pitch its Hornet to match India's requirement. Recently, the company conducted ski jump for the Super Hornet at Naval air station Patuxent to prove it is STOBAR compliant for the Indian Navy.

Ski jumps help to increase take-off output of fighters in the absence of catapults.

Boeing in fact has been trying to integrate its services with the Indian government's Make in India program to better serve India's requirement.

Rafale In Hashmira, West Bengal

India has of course recently brought the Rafale jets from France to boost its defences amid tensions along the LAC. The Rafale aircraft are India's first major acquisition of fighter planes in 23 years after the Sukhoi jets were imported from Russia.

The jets are capable of carrying a range of potent weapons. European missile maker MBDA's Meteor air-to-air missile and Scalp cruise missile will be the mainstay of their weapons package.

With a service ceiling of 50,000 feet, the combat aircraft can reach maximum speeds of 750 knots.

It can carry out both air-to-ground strikes, as well as air-to-air attacks and interceptions during the same sortie. The jet is capable of performing several actions at the same time, such as firing air-to-air missiles during a very low altitude penetration phase, giving it outstanding survivability.

India's air chief Bhadauria said the induction of Rafale jets could not have happened at a more "opportune time, considering the security scenario".

He said the Golden Arrows squadron has already flown the aircraft and undergone intense integrated training with other combat fleets, including firing advanced weapons.

"So this formal induction today also marks the operational induction of this aircraft into the IAF. We are good to go and deliver," he added. If and when India decides to buy the Hornets, it will ensure a tactical shift for the Indian Air Force with the Rafale and Hornets ready for any combat role or related activities.