Is CAATSA Waiver & P8I Favoring F-18 against Rafale-M?

The Rafale Marine aircraft and the F-18 Super Hornet are the two contenders in the race, with at least 26 aircraft to be purchased under the Indian Navy’s ongoing Multi Role Carrier Borne Fighters programme and the initial requirement of 57 aircrafts creating the potential for acquiring greater numbers. The trials are over, and the Indian Navy has received all of the information from the tests carried out at the shore-based test facility in Goa. Because INS Vikrant, India’s second aircraft carrier, is anticipated to be commissioned into service on August 15, 2022, there is not much time left to select an aircraft and place orders.

According to a recent source that is favourable to the F-18 fighter jet’s chances, the aircraft not only completed the shore-based trials successfully, but it also did so with payloads that exceeded the Indian Navy’s specifications for ski jump take off. With a total weight of 1100kg and two AGM-84 Harpoon missiles, each weighing 550kg, the aircraft took off from the testing facility’s ski jump. Due to the Rafale-inability M’s to fold its wings, fitting it into the elevators of INS Vikrant is more difficult than it is for the F-18.

While the F-18 can reduce its wingspan to 30.5 feet after folding its wings, making it 5 feet shorter than the Rafale M, the Rafale M has a wingspan of 35 feet 9 inches, which is smaller than the Super Hornets’ 44 feet 8.5 inches. Additionally, the F-18’s attraction is increased by the fact that it shares armaments and engines with Indian aircraft.

While the F-18 can reduce its wingspan to 30.5 feet after folding its wings, making it 5 feet shorter than the Rafale M, the Rafale M has a wingspan of 35 feet 9 inches, which is smaller than the Super Hornets’ 44 feet 8.5 inches. Additionally, the F-18’s attraction is increased by the fact that it shares armaments and engines with Indian aircraft.

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