Boeing, which will demonstrate the ability of the F/A-18E Super Hornet to operate from Indian aircraft carrier

After conducting detailed capability studies and simulation analysis, US aerospace manufacturer Boeing has said that it is confident that the F/A 18 Super Hornet Block III can safely operate from Indian aircraft carriers, with a `significant’ weapons payload.

The Super Hornet is in contention for an Indian Navy requirement of 57 new fighter jets to operate from its carriers, with the French Rafale M expected to be its main competitor. The new jets are required to operate from the under construction INS Vikrant that is expected to start its sea trials at the earliest by 2020.

Boeing, which will demonstrate the ability of the F/A-18E Super Hornet to operate from Indian aircraft carriers, expressed confidence that the aircraft will exceed the requirements for India's multi-role carrier-borne fighters (MRCBF) procurement.

Two F/A-18E fighters will demonstrate the aircraft's capabilities at the Indian Navy's Shore Based Test Facility (SBTF) at INS Hansa in Goa, India, in the latter part of May. The tests are expected to last for a few weeks, going into June.

The MRCBF programme intends to acquire 57 naval fighters to partly equip India's first indigenous aircraft carrier (IAC), the 40,000-ton INS Vikrant. The carrier is scheduled to be commissioned in August.

Alain Garcia, vice-president of India Business Development, Boeing Defence, Space and Security and Global Services told Janes that the aircraft will conduct jobs requested by the Indian Navy, and in different configurations.

A crucial objective will be to demonstrate the capability of the F/A-18E to integrate with the short take-off but arrested recovery (STOBAR) gear equipped aboard Indian aircraft carriers. The aircraft will conduct a series of take-offs, touch-and-go flights and landings on the SBTF's 283 m ski jump. The mock-up mirrors ski ramps found on Indian aircraft carriers.

Garcia said that the F/A-18E has been subject to comprehensive modelling and testing to validate its performance from aircraft carriers equipped with a STOBAR system.

“We did over 150 computer simulations prior to doing testing to validate the performance,” Garcia said.

Boeing has been trying to woo the Indian Navy with its aircraft carrier-borne fighter -- F/A-18 Super Hornet for India's aircraft carriers. Vice president of Boeing's India Business Development Alain Garcia said that the US defence major is planning to fly two Super Hornet fighter jets to Goa summer for operational demonstrations this summer. In an attempt to convince the Indian government to buy the F/A-18 Super Hornet Block III, the Boeing official the aircraft are designed in a way that can easily operate from the Indian Navy aircraft carriers and will meet the Short Take-oOff but Arrested Recovery (STOBAR) demand.

Boeing has offered both Single-seater (E-Variant) and two-seater variant (F-Variant) have been offered to the Indian Navy.

F/A-18 Super Hornet is powered by the GE F-414 engine, the same family of engines that is powering India’s indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) TEJAS.