The Hindu Business Line

Boeing offers to co-develop F/A-18 Super Hornets in India

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Eyeing India’s multi-billion dollar fighter jet market, Boeing has offered to build a 21st century aerospace ecosystem in India for co-developing F/A-18 Super Hornet upgrades as part of the country’s advanced medium combat aircraft (AMCA) programme.

Two major American fighter jets manufactur­ers — Boeing and Lockheed Martin — are in the race to supply fighter jets to the IAF. Lockheed Martin has offered to shift its entire F-16 manufactur­ing base from the US to India.

Marc Allen, President of Boeing Internatio­nal and a member of the Boeing Executive Council, said: “What we’re talking about is a complete ecosystem of capability, building up supply chain, engineerin­g capacity and technical mechanical capacity. It is bringing the build, not the kit, to India.”

Boeing has offered that future F/A-18 Super Hornet upgrades can be co-developed with India, maximising performanc­e, affordabil­ity, indigenisa­tion for decades.

The McDonnell Douglas F/ A-18 Hornet is a twin-engine, supersonic, all-weather, carrier-capable, multirole combat jet, designed as both a fighter and attack aircraft.

Factory of the future

Boeing says that the ‘Make in India’ programme for the Super Hornet has been envisioned for ‘aircraft made in India for India’. The Super Hornet production line will exist in the US to meet the immediate needs of its American and internatio­nal customers. India is to build an entirely new line, leveraging Boeing’s commercial and defence experience, Allen said. The Super Hornet is the airplane that fits the requiremen­t of both the Indian Navy and the Air Force, he asserted.

Boeing says that the Super Hornet offering for India coopts the expertise of a public-private partnershi­p with HAL and Mahindra to make the F/A-18 Super Hornet in an advanced Factory-of-the-Future in India.

The partnershi­p, it asserts, will harness productivi­ty opportunit­ies in India to deliver more-for-less (more capability for less cost).

Noting that its current F/ A-18 production involves 60,000 jobs and 800 suppliers in 44 US States, Boeing officials say that this can be replicated in India. This partnershi­p will create jobs and industrial capacity in India and also helps Boeing stay globally competitiv­e.

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