A F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter jet demonstrated its ability to take off by ski-jumping off a ramp similar to the one equipping some aircraft carriers.
The test took place at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, in the state of Maryland, and involved Boeing and the Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 23 of the U.S. Navy. It was also witnessed by representatives of the Indian embassy in the United States.
The Indian Navy could potentially acquire the aircraft to operate from the INS Vikramaditya (former Soviet Admiral Gorshkov) and the upcoming INS Vikrant, an indigenous carrier, both using the Short Take-Off But Arrested Recovery (STOBAR) system. The Indian Naval Air Arm currently operates a fleet of over 40 MiG-29K fighter aircraft. The decision on a purchase is expected to be known in 2021.
“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,” said Ankur Kanaglekar, India Fighter Sales lead for Boeing. “The F/A-18 Block III Super Hornet will not only provide superior warfighting capability to the Indian Navy but also create opportunities for cooperation in naval aviation between the United States and India.”
The Block III is the latest and most advanced version of the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, featuring an Advanced Cockpit System, and capability upgrades that include greater range, reduced radar signature, and improved communication system. Two flight-test aircraft were delivered to the U.S. Navy in June 2020, with the Block III capabilities to be available from 2021.