St. Louis: The Boeing Company said that it has delivered a detailed, 7,000-page proposal offering its advanced F/A-18E/F Super Hornet to the Indian Air Force as part of India's medium range multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) competition.
"Our proposal team worked diligently to fully understand and meet the requirements set out by the Indian Ministry of Defense (MoD). We are offering India the best-value, most advanced and proven multi-role combat fighter in production today," said Jim Albaugh, president and CEO, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems (IDS).
India had issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) for 126 new
multi-role combat fighters in August 2007. Boeing had completed
its proposal before the initial 3 March deadline, which the
MoD subsequently rescheduled for 28 April. (See: Military
aviation & aerospace:MRCA RFP: India floats its biggest-ever
global tender for jet fighters)
"Boeing's strategic goal has been to seek a long-term partnership with India to help strengthen the country's aerospace capabilities and enhance its national security," said Chris Chadwick, president of Boeing Precision Engagement & Mobility Systems. "Choosing the F/A-18E/F would give Indians a direct hand in building an advanced fighter aircraft that will robustly defend their shores and airspace, infuse new strength into the Indian Air Force, and serve as a catalyst for India's growing defense aerospace industry."
According to Boeing, the Super Hornet variant being offered to India, the F/A-18IN, is based on the F/A-18E/F model flown by the US Navy and currently being built for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). It also said that advanced technology, such as Raytheon's APG-79 Active Electronically Scanned Array radar, and proven reliability are drawing US and international customers' increasing interest in the aircraft as a cost-effective and lethal air defence.
Significantly, Boeing said delivery of the first F/A-18IN Super Hornets can begin approximately 36 months after contract award.
So far, Boeing said, it has delivered more than 340 Super Hornets to the US Navy. Australia has ordered 24 Super Hornets to bolster its fleet of F/A-18Hornets, and the company is now in discussions with several other international customers about their interest in procuring the Super Hornet.
"One of the concerns here in India is the cost of owning and maintaining combat fighters over their lifetime," said Vivek Lall, Boeing IDS vice-president and India country head. "The F/A-18E/F Super Hornet offers a very attractive life-cycle-cost dynamic, since the fighter won't need a scheduled visit to a maintenance depot until it has clocked a minimum of 6,000 hours of flying time, and even well beyond that."
Over the past 36 months, Boeing IDS has reached out to the
Indian aerospace and technology sectors to identify potential
public and private industrial partners. To date, it has signed
long-term partnership agreements with Hindustan Aeronautics
Limited, Tata Industries, and Larson and Toubro. If the F/A-18IN
Super Hornet is selected, these companies and others are expected
to play a significant role as Boeing transfers some production
and assembly to India.
The US Embassy in New Delhi will formally turn over the Boeing-US Navy submission to the Indian Ministry of Defense.
A unit of The Boeing Company, and headquartered in St. Louis, Integrated Defense Systems is one of the world's largest space and defence businesses, with a turnover of $32.1 billion and an employee strength of 71,000.