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Boeing, US Navy Test Super Hornet Capabilities; Thom Breckenridge Quoted

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Boeing and the U.S. Navy have recently tested the F/A-18 Super Hornet capabilities, proving that the aircraft can operate from a “ski jump” ramp, Boeing reported on Monday. The recent tests, which were conducted at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., have demonstrated the aircraft’s suitability for India’s aircraft carriers.

“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. 

Boeing’s test proved that the Super Hornet would work well with the Indian Navy’s Short Takeoff but Arrested Recovery (STOBAR) system. Additionally, the testing proved results from Boeing’s earlier simulation studies.

“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,” added Kanaglekar.

If the Super Hornet is selected by the Indian Navy, it would benefit from investments in new technologies, including advanced networking, longer range through conformal fuel tanks, infrared search and track, and a new advanced cockpit system, by the U.S. Navy and others. 

“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. 

Boeing will work to deliver advanced technologies and create value in the Indian aerospace sector by developing local suppliers and shaping academic and research collaborations with Indian institutions.

“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,” Breckenridge added. 

The Boeing-Navy demonstrations follow the delivery of two Block III flight-test aircraft to the U.S. Navy. In June 2020, the Navy received a pair of F/A-18 Block III Super Hornet jets Boeing manufactured for flight testing use. Boeing delivered one single-seat E variant and a two-seat F variant of the modernized fighter aircraft to the service branch. 

The tests aim to get pilots acquainted with the new touchscreen display and networking systems of the Block III configuration, which includes modifications to aircraft range, radar signature, communications equipment. The U.S. Navy ordered 78 new Super Hornets from the company through a contract award last year.