F/A-18 Su­per Hor­net: Multi-role Ad­vanced Fighter for Navy and Air Force


Pratyush Ku­mar

WitH Ad­vanced Tech­nolo­gies And multi-role ca­pa­bil­i­ties, the su­per Hor­net is per­fectly suited to meet the needs of the in­dian navy and in­dian Air force (iAf) now and in the fu­ture.

take a look at the decks of the Us navyÕs air­craft car­ri­ers and the royal Aus­tralian Air Force’s fleet and you’ll see ad­vanced, com­bat-proven strike ca­pa­bil­ity. the su­per Hor­net is the multi-role so­lu­tion for the navy and in­ter­na­tional air force cus­tomers. the royal Aus­tralian Air force op­er­ates 24 su­per Hor­nets and 12 Growlers. seven air forces around the world use the Hor­nets. the f/A-18 su­per Hor­net brings the lat­est gen­er­a­tion of tech­nolo­gies to the warfighter. it has the right level of stealth, the right sen­sors and the right weapon ca­pa­bil­i­ties for the iAfÕs mis­sions.

F/A-18 Su­per Hor­net Most Ad­vanced Fighter – To­day, and into the Fu­ture

in­tro­duced in 2007, the f/A-18 su­per Hor­net Block ii is the worldÕs pre­em­i­nent car­rier ca­pa­ble air­craft. the f/A-18 su­per Hor­net was de­signed from day one for car­rier op­er­a­tions and is the worldÕs pre­em­i­nent car­rier ca­pa­ble air­craft. it is a com­bat proven, su­per­sonic, all weather multi-role fighter jet with a de­fined US Navy flight plan to out­pace threats into the 2040s. ev­ery su­per Hor­net to the Us navy has been de­liv­ered on cost and on sched­ule.

With de­signed-in stealth, an AesA radar and many other ad­vanced tech­nolo­gies that is ideal for mis­sion re­quire­ments of the naval avi­a­tor, the f/A-18 su­per Hor­net is the most ad­vanced air­craft of its kind in op­er­a­tion to­day and will pro­vides op­er­a­tional ben­e­fits to the In­dian Navy’s ex­ist­ing and fu­ture force struc­ture.

the su­per Hor­nets are fully com­pat­i­ble with the in­dian navyÕs air­craft car­ri­ers. ex­ten­sive sim­u­la­tion has shown that the su­per Hor­net is ca­pa­ble of con­duct­ing stOBAr op­er­a­tions with a mean­ing­ful weapons and fuel load. The Su­per Hor­net’s ben­e­fits of be­ing a twin-en­gine air­craft help pro­vide the warfighter a mar­gin of safety that does not ex­ist in a sin­gle-en­gine plat­form.

Easy to main­tain, cheaper to op­er­ate

the f/A-18 su­per Hor­net not only has a low ac­qui­si­tion cost, but it costs less per flight hour to op­er­ate than any other tac­ti­cal air­craft in Us forces in­ven­tory. As a twin en­gine fighter, the Su­per Hor­net costs less to op­er­ate than sin­gle en­gine fighters. Part of its af­ford­abil­ity is be­cause the su­per Hor­net is de­signed to need far less main­te­nance, which trans­lates into the high mis­sion avail­abil­ity it is known for.

Fu­ture Growth Po­ten­tial

the su­per Hor­net will be on the navyÕs car­rier decks well into the 2040s – be­ing three­fourths of the Navy’s strike fighter ca­pac­ity into the 2030Õs and no less than half the car­ri­ers strik­ing force into the 2040Õs. the next gen­er­a­tion of su­per Hor­net air­craft comes into the Us navy and po­ten­tially in­ter­na­tional cus­tomers to ful­fill its role as the next-gen air­plane in a com­ple­men­tary way with the f-35. those two air­planes are go­ing to work to­gether on the car­rier decks for the Us navy, well into the 2040s.

the su­per Hor­net is con­tin­u­ously evolv­ing to out­pace fu­ture threats. Boe­ing and the Us navy have laid out and main­tained a ro­bust spi­ral de­vel­op­ment ap­proach to the su­per Hor­net that pro­vides up­dates to the air­craftÕs sub­sys­tems and soft­ware ev­ery two years to out­pace threats for decades to come.

the fu­ture in­ser­tion of con­for­mal fuel tanks will re­duce weight and drag while ex­pand­ing range of the su­per Hor­net. As part of this de­vel­op­ment path, the en­hanced Ge 414 en­gine of­fers an op­por­tu­nity for col­lab­o­ra­tion with In­dian firms to use in the LcA and fu­ture AMcA.

F/A-18 Su­per Hor­net – Make in In­dia

Boe­ing has had a pres­ence in in­dia for more than seven decades and is com­mit­ted to ex­pand­ing that part­ner­ship by pro­duc­ing su­per Hor­nets in in­dia, fur­ther de­vel­op­ing in­di­aÕs aero­space ecosys­tem. Boe­ing is pre­pared to bring its global scale and sup­ply chain, its best-in-in­dus­try pre­ci­sion man­u­fac­tur­ing pro­cesses, as well as the com­pa­nyÕs un­ri­valed ex­pe­ri­ence de­sign­ing and op­ti­miz­ing aero­space pro­duc­tion fa­cil­i­ties to bear in both ex­pand­ing in­di­aÕs aero­space ecosys­tem and help­ing re­alise the ÔMake in in­diaÕ vi­sion. the ap­proach ad­dresses the in­fra­struc­ture, per­son­nel train­ing, and op­er­a­tional tools and tech­niques re­quired to pro­duce a next-gen fighter air­craft right here in in­dia.

Boe­ing will part­ner with in­dian in­dus­try to de­velop the right ca­pa­bil­i­ties as ef­fi­ciently and cost ef­fec­tively as pos­si­ble to in­te­grate these sup­pli­ers into the global sup­ply chain. Boe­ing and its cur­rent in­dus­try part­ners are hav­ing ro­bust dis­cus­sions with sup­pli­ers in in­dia about build­ing su­per Hor­nets. cur­rently over 60,000 peo­ple from 800 sup­pli­ers across 44 states are part of the sup­ply chain sup­port­ing the su­per Hor­net. this in­cludes sup­pli­ers who man­u­fac­ture parts for the su­per Hor­net in in­dia. The writer is Pres­i­dent of Boe­ing In­dia and Vice Pres­i­dent of Boe­ing In­ter­na­tional, and he also serves as Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor of Boe­ing De­fence In­dia.


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