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Boeing offers to build F/A-18 Super Hornet in India

The proposal for a manufacturing facility in India is part of the nation's planned acquisition of 57 carrier-based multi-role fighter aircraft.

By Stephen Carlson
Boeing offers to build F/A-18 Super Hornet in India
An F/A-18E/F Super Hornet fighter plane in flight. Boeing has offered to construct a facility in India to construct 57 of the multi-role fighters there to make it easier for the Indian military to obtain parts and services on the aircraft. U.S. Navy photo

Aug. 28 (UPI) -- Boeing has proposed the construction of a manufacturing facility in India for the F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter planes as part of the nation's planned acquisition of 57 carrier-based multi-role fighter aircraft.

The Indian Navy currently operates the MiG-29K from the INS Vikramaditya, a modified Russian-built Kiev-class aircraft carrier. India is currently building the domestically designed Vikrant-class carrier with two planned.

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The Indian Navy has experienced serious maintenance problems with the MiG-29K due to stress on the airframe during carrier landings, as well as other serviceability issues. Planes often require significant repairs after routine landings, and many of the parts can only be secured from Russia.

The issues have led India to issue a requirement for 57 fighters for future aircraft carriers with several potential models being considered. Boeing's offer of domestic production of parts for the F/A-18 would be an advantage due to the logistical problems with the MiG-29K.

U.S. defense manufacturers having been making significant inroads in the Indian fighter market. Lockheed Martin secured a deal earlier this year to start producing the F-16 Block 70 Fighting Falcon single-engine jet in India, and there are many details still pending.

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The F/A-18 Super Hornet is the primary carrier and land-based multi-role fighter of the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. It has been widely exported and is expected to serve for decades to come alongside the F-35. The E/A-18G Growler is an electronic warfare jamming and anti-radar variant of the series.

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