BREAK: F-18 with two AGM-84s made short takeoff from Indian carrier

NEW DELHI ($1=79.75 Indian Rupees) — Boeing employees have completed a demonstration of the ability of a F/A-18 Super Hornet aircraft to take off from an Indian aircraft carrier with two AGM-84 Harpoon missiles, which exceeds the requirement of New Delhi [Indian side] for it [its] Multi-Role Carrier Fighter [MRCBF] programs.

F/A-18E SH, Rafale and MiG-29 begin their battle for the Indian Navy
Photo credit: Wikimedia

This capability was demonstrated at the Indian Navy’s shore-based test facility [SBTF] on the aircraft carrier INS Hansa in Goa, India, from late May to early June 2022, Allen Garcia, vice president of international business at Boeing India, said in an interview for Janes. The demonstrations were conducted as part of tests to confirm the capability of the F/A-18 product to operate from Indian carriers.

Under the MRCBF program, the Indian Navy plans to acquire 57 carrier-based fighters, which will operate from its own [indigenously developed] aircraft carrier [IAC – Indigenous Aircraft Carrier], which after commissioning will be in service under the name INS Vikrant. The 37,000-ton vessel’s final sea trials were completed in early July 2022. It is due to be commissioned in August 2022.

The new Indian aircraft carrier is actually of the STOBAR [Short Take-Off But Arrested Recovery] type. halfway between STOVL and CATOBAR [Catapult Assisted Take-Off Barrier Arrested Recovery], such as the major American aircraft carriers.

The American fighter has so far operated precisely from the American CATOBAR, but not from STOBAR, and had to demonstrate in India that it can do so easily up to the maximum allowable take-off weight. Technically feasible work, but operational everything had to be checked.

F/A-18E SH, Rafale and MiG-29 begin their battle for the Indian Navy
Photo credit: Wikipedia

Boeing intends to push Russian MiGs out of the Indian market, aiming to deliver to New Delhi its F/A-18 Super Hornet instead of MiG-29K and thus equip the new aircraft carrier of the Indian Navy. An effort by the United States that fits into the broader context of Washington’s pressure on New Delhi to reduce close economic, military, and energy ties with Russia.

Among the candidates, in addition to the MiG, which offers a new batch of MiG-29K/KUB, which has been working for some time on the first Indian aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya, is Paris with the uploaded version of Dassault Rafale-M [Rafale-Maritime]. This fighter is already operating on the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle to the French fleet.

F/A-18E SH, Rafale and MiG-29 begin their battle for the Indian Navy
Photo credit: Wikipedia

In addition, India is already using Rafale in the Indian Air Force, and French fighter jets have received a remarkable series of orders [Croatia, the United Arab Emirates, Greece, and Indonesia, as well as Egypt, India, and Qatar] and this, among others, have already been tested in India on take-off from the aforementioned NITKA complex in Hansa.

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