Boeing has demonstrated yet another capability of the ever-young F/A-18 Super Hornet by proving it can “operate from a ‘ski jump’ ramp, demonstrating the aircraft’s suitability for India’s aircraft carriers,” according to the company. India uses something called STOBAR, for Short Takeoff But Arrested Recovery, that uses a ramp-assisted takeoff relying only on the aircraft’s thrust and benefiting from the ship’s forward motion, combined with more conventional arresting methods for landing. It’s said that STOBAR carriers are cheaper to build than those with powered catapults.
“The first successful and safe launch of the F/A-18 Super Hornet from a ski jump begins the validation process to operate effectively from Indian Navy aircraft carriers,” said Ankur Kanaglekar, India Fighter Sales lead for Boeing. “The F/A-18 Block III Super Hornet will not only provide superior war fighting capability to the Indian Navy but also create opportunities for cooperation in naval aviation between the United States and India.”
“This milestone further positions the Block III Super Hornet as a versatile next-generation frontline fighter for decades to come,” said Thom Breckenridge, vice president of International Sales for Strike, Surveillance and Mobility with Boeing Defense, Space & Security. “With its proven capabilities, affordable acquisition price, known low documented life-cycle costs and guaranteed delivery schedule, the Block III Super Hornet is ideally suited to meet fighter aircraft requirements of customers in India, North America and Europe.”
The demonstration is part of Boeing’s sales pitch to the Indian navy, which has not chosen which fighter to purchase. It will be looking to add to its fleet of MiG-29K fighters and is considering both the F/A-18 and the Dassault Rafale. Also part of the pitch: “Boeing has strengthened its supply chain with 225 partners in India and a joint venture to manufacture fuselages for Apache helicopters. Annual sourcing from India stands at $1 billion. Boeing currently employs 3,000 people in India, and more than 7,000 people work with its supply chain partners.”