Boeing looks to India for F-18 success after European setbacks

Boeing is sure that the F-18 Super Hornet Block 3 will win a manufacturing contract with the Indian Navy and defeat competition from Dassault’s Rafale-M following the disappointment of losing out on European and North American fighter contracts with Finland, Switzerland, and Canada. The industry is now offered a procurement programme for 26 carrier-based aircraft, but Boeing estimates that the final number might reach “just over 50.”

Although India has not made a production award choice official, there have already been Super Hornet and Rafale-M aircraft demonstrations there. The winning aircraft will eventually be stationed aboard the Indian Navy’s brand-new Vikrant class aircraft carrier.

“We flew two [Super Hornet Block-III] aircraft over [to the naval base in Goa] and launched them from the ski jump that resembles the Indian carrier,” During a media press conference on July 15 at RAF Fairford, Boeing’s Steve Parker provided an explanation.

When discussing closing death chains or weapon effects, he continued, “We can launch with four Harpoons, so we think we have a fairly solid solution.”

Parker added that speed testing and heavy-load aircraft configurations were additional operations connected to the Indian showcase.

The competitor does not have a two-seat aircraft that can take off from a carrier, and we are able to carry more weaponry, a larger payload, and fit into the lifts on the Indian carrier.

According to a survey from last month, additional significant concerns for decision-makers include the price per unit of aircraft, upgrades, lifespan costs, and compatibility with the present Indian Navy inventory.

Parker emphasised that Boeing has demonstrated experience supporting the “Make in India” manufacturing initiative through collaboration with Tata on fuselages for the AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopter, though he did not go into detail about how an industrial package for an Indian Navy Super Hornet acquisition would support domestic industry.

Boeing continues to be optimistic about meeting its 144-aircraft manufacturing goal for the fourth-generation F-15EX fighter.

With the UASF possibly departing with the purchase of only 80 units, such intentions remain dubious.

We’re actually just talking about budgets; they [the USAF] chose the F-15EX because of everything it offers. I am confident in the outcome because we believe in the value proposition of what the aircraft offers, said Parker. Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Japan have all expressed interest in the interceptor (F-15J upgrade), according to the report.

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