Boeing recently announced a partnership with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Mahindra Defence Systems (MDS), during DefExpo in Chennai for manufacturing the F/A-18 Super Hornet in India for its armed forces and pursuing the joint development of future technologies. The partnership will transform India’s aerospace and defence ecosystem, further building on its ‘Make in India’ success.
“Boeing is excited to team up with India’s only company that manufactures combat fighters, HAL, and Indian company that manufactures small commercial airplanes, Mahindra. This partnership brings the best of Indian public and private enterprises together in partnership with the world’s largest aerospace company, Boeing, to accelerate a contemporary 21st century ecosystem for aerospace & defence manufacturing in India,” said Pratyush Kumar, President, Boeing India. “Our partnership with HAL and Mahindra will enable us to optimise the full potential of India’s public and private sector to deliver next-generation F/A-18 fighter capabilities. Together we can deliver an affordable, combat-proven fighter platform for India, while adding growth momentum to the Indian aerospace ecosystem with manufacturing, skill development, innovation and engineering and job creation.”
“Hindustan Aeronautics Limited has always been at the forefront of aerospace development in India’s aerospace sector,” said T Suvarna Raju, Chairman and Managing Director, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited. “This partnership with Boeing and Mahindra Defence Systems will create an opportunity to develop capabilities of the aerospace industry and strengthen indigenous platforms in India thereby contributing to the Make-in-India activities.”
Future production with Indian partners will involve maximising indigenous content and producing the F/A-18 in India for its armed forces to create a 21st century aerospace ecosystem.
“We are excited about the opportunities that this partnership with Boeing and HAL will provide for us to contribute further to ‘Make in India’ for defence,” said S P Shukla, Group President, Aerospace & Defence, Mahindra Group, and Chairman, Mahindra Defence Systems. “As one of the largest private sector defence companies, we look forward to supporting the modernisation effort of our armed forces and achieving economies of scale in the aerospace and defence sector.”
The Super Hornet Make in India proposal is to build an entirely new and state-of-the-art production facility that can be utilised for other programs like India’s Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) program.
This partnership is intended to bring Boeing, HAL and MDS’ global scale and supply chain, its best-in-industry precision manufacturing processes, as well as the unrivalled experience designing and optimising aerospace production facilities to both expand India’s aerospace ecosystem and help realise the Make in India vision.
The plan addresses the infrastructure, personnel training, and operational tools and techniques required to produce a next gen fighter aircraft right here in India. In addition, Boeing will work closely with India industry to ensure they have the very latest technologies, applying lessons learned from the current Super Hornet production line.
As the most advanced and least expensive aircraft per flight hour of its kind, the F/A-18 Super Hornet will deliver on India’s need for a carrier and land based multi-role fighter. The Super Hornet does not only have a low acquisition cost, but it costs less per flight hour to operate than any other tactical aircraft in U.S. forces inventory. And with a plan for constant innovation, the F/A-18 Super Hornet will outpace threats, bolster defence capabilities and make India stronger for decades to come.
The F/A-18 Super Hornet has a long life ahead, with the US Navy making significant investments in the latest evolution, the Block III. Key features of the U.S. Navy Block III Super Hornet include enhanced network capability, longer range and low-drag with conformal fuel tanks, long-range detection with Infrared Search & Track, enhanced situational awareness with a new Advanced Cockpit System, improved signature reduction and a 9,000+ hour life.