Boeing has successfully demonstrated the F/A-18E/F’s ability to take off from a ‘ski-jump’ ramp as it continues to try to sell the aircraft to India.
As India’s aircraft carriers don’t have catapult launch systems and instead rely on the Short Takeoff but Arrested Recovery (STOBAR) system where aircraft run up to full power and then launch with the aid of a ramp, it was necessary for the Super Hornet to be able to demonstrate that capability.
“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,” Boeing’s India Fighter Sales lead, Ankur Kanaglekar said in a company statement. “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.”
India acquired the former Russian Kiev class carrier Admiral Gorshkov (formerly Baku) in 2006 and commissioned it as the INS Vikramaditya, and it operates navalised MiG-29K fighters as well as helicopters from its deck.
Following a prolonged design and build program, a new 40,000 tonne indigenously-designed carrier to be named Vikrant is scheduled to enter service in 2021, and India is considering acquiring the F/A-18E/F, Dassault Rafale, or possibly additional MiG-29Ks to equip that and a second vessel of that class.