- The eight ski-jump takeoffs from the Pax River ramp that were completed in December 2020 were followed by the field tests in India.
- The cutting-edge Block III Super Hornet is the one being offered to India for a contract that was anticipated to be valued at least 6.6 billion USD in 2017 before the number of aircraft was reduced from 57 to 26 fighters.
On July 20, 2022, Boeing declared that the F/A-18 Super Hornet operational demonstration tests at Indian Naval Station Hansa in Goa, India, had been completed successfully. The tests were designed to demonstrate the Super Hornet’s capability to fly off STOBAR (Short Take-Off But Arrested Recovery) aircraft carriers operated by the Indian Navy, including the INS Vikramaditya and the currently under construction INS Vikrant, in addition to its MiG-29K Fulcrums.
Several 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, were completed by two U.S. Navy F/A-18E Super Hornets, one of which was marked with the markings of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 25 “Fist of the Fleet,” based at Naval Air Station Lemoore, California, ”
According to Alain Garcia, vice president, India business development for Boeing Defense, Space & Security and Boeing Global Services, “The Boeing team was privileged to display the F/A-18 Super Hornet’s compatibility with Indian carriers in Goa.”
— Boeing India (@Boeing_In) July 20, 2022
“As the world’s most technologically capable frontline multi-role naval fighter, the F/A-18 Super Hornet continues to progress with the development of the next-generation Block III capability, which will be game-changing for India.”
He continued, “With the Super Hornet Block III, the Indian Navy would not only obtain the most cutting-edge platform but would also gain access to the U.S. Navy’s tactics, upgrades, and information regarding the naval aviation ecosystem.
The eight ski-jump takeoffs from the Pax River ramp that were completed in December 2020 were followed by the field tests in India. That wasn’t the first time a Hornet performed ski jump takeoffs, as we explained back then.
Between 1982 and 1986, “a metal ramp was created that could be changed to produce ramp exit angles of 3, 6, and 9 degrees,” according to an Air Force Systems Command document from 1991.When set up for the 9 degree departure angle, the ramp was 112.1 feet long and 8.58 feet high at the exit, measured from the horizontal. There were a total of 112 T-2C launches, 28 F-14 launches, and 91 F/A-18 launches.
The F/minimum A-18’s ground roll with a gross weight of 32,800 lbs. was 385 ft. The F-18’s takeoff roll was significantly decreased by more than 50% thanks to this ramp.
The cutting-edge Block III Super Hornet is the one being offered to India for a contract that was anticipated to be valued at least 6.6 billion USD in 2017 before the number of aircraft was reduced from 57 to 26 fighters. Block II IRST (Infra-Red Search and Track), conformal fuel tanks, SATCOM connectivity, a new processing and enhanced data link, improved SA (Situational Awareness), a longer airframe lifetime, and the ability to cooperate with the Indian P-8I are some of its features.
The carrier-based Rafale M conducted compatibility tests similar to those conducted by the Super Hornets in January 2022, and more importantly, the French company already has a success story in India, where they were able to sell the land-based Rafale to the Indian Air Force as part of a 7.87B Euro contract to procure 36 fighters in 2016. This means that Dassault remains a strong competitor to Boeing’s offer.