F/A 18 Super Hornet Fighter Jets
- 27 Aug 2022
- 9 min read
Why in News?
Ahead of Commissioning India’s first Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) Vikrant, the US aviation major Boeing has proposed Indian Navy to choose its F/A 18 Super Hornet fighter jet.
What are the Key Features of F/A 18 Super Hornet Fighter Jets?
- The F/A-18 Super Hornet Block III is the world’s most advanced, combat proven, multi-role frontline naval fighter that offers unique and differentiated capabilities and full compatibility with Indian Navy carriers.
- It has been designed and built for carrier operations, and is fully compliant with INS Vikramaditya and INS Vikrant aircraft carrier.
- F/A-18 will be able to operate on the deck, in the hangar and on the lifts of the Indian Navy’s aircraft carriers.
- It will help further the interface between manned and unmanned systems in a carrier environment.
- The Super Hornet’s Precision Landing Mode software is specially designed to reduce pilot workload while landing on the Indian Navy’s Vikramaditya carrier by maintaining the proper glide slope and proper approach speeds.
- It has fully redundant systems and is independent of the carrier’s optical landing system.
- F/A-18 Super Hornet is in single-seater (E-Variant) and two-seater variant (F-Variant), and both variants are carrier compatible to perform the full range of combat missions and can fully operate from the carrier deck.
- The two-seater is also a capable trainer aircraft - both ashore and carrier borne.
What is IAC Vikrant?
- Vikrant is the largest warship to have ever been built in India, and the first indigenously designed and built aircraft carrier for the Indian Navy.
- It puts India in an elite club of nations that have the capability to design and build these giant, powerful warships.
- It is designed by the Cochin Shipyard Ltd (CSL), a public sector shipyard under the Ministry of Ports, Shipping & Waterways.
- The ship had successfully completed its fourth and final phase of sea trials.
- Operation Capabilities:
- It has a maximum designed speed of 28 knots (about 52 km/h) with an endurance of 7500 NM.
- The ship will be capable of operating 30 aircraft including MiG-29K fighter jets, Kamov-31 Air Early Warning Helicopters, MH-60R Seahawk multi-role helicopters, as well as the Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH), and the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA).
- Using a novel aircraft-operation mode known as Short Take Off But Arrested Recovery (STOBAR), the IAC is equipped with a ski-jump for launching aircraft, and a set of three 'arrestor wires’ for their recovery onboard.
- It will enhance a Navy’s capability to travel far from its home shores to carry out air domination operations.
- It is considered to be a “blue water” navy — that is, a navy that has the capacity to project a nation’s strength and power across the high seas.
What is the Significance of Vikrant Building in India?
- Only five or six nations currently have the capability of manufacturing an aircraft carrier, and India has joined this prestigious club now.
- Experts have said that India has demonstrated the capacity and self-reliance to build what is considered to be one of the most advanced and complex battleships in the world.
- India has had aircraft carriers earlier too — but those were built either by the British or the Russians. The ‘INS Vikramaditya’, which was commissioned in 2013 and which is currently the Navy’s only aircraft carrier, started out as the Soviet-Russian warship ‘Admiral Gorshkov’.
- India’s two earlier carriers, the ‘INS Vikrant’ and the ‘INS Viraat’, were originally the British-built ‘HMS Hercules’ and ‘HMS Hermes’. These two warships were commissioned into the Navy in 1961 and 1987 respectively.
Why will the new warship IAC-1 be named ‘INS Vikrant’?
- The name ‘INS Vikrant’ originally belonged to India’s much-loved first aircraft carrier, a source of immense national pride over several decades of service before it was decommissioned in 1997.
- The original ‘Vikrant’, a Majestic-class 19,500-tonne warship, which was acquired from the UK in 1961, played a stellar role in the 1971 War with Pakistan.
- Last year, as the IAC-1 started her first sea trial, the Navy hailed the “proud and historic day for India as the reincarnated ‘Vikrant’ sails for her maiden sea trials.
What are the Future Plans for IACs?
- Since 2015, the Navy has been seeking approval to build a third aircraft carrier for the country, which, if approved, will become India’s second Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC-2).
- This proposed carrier, to be named ‘INS Vishal’, is intended to be a giant 65,000-tonne vessel, much bigger than both IAC-1 and the ‘INS Vikramaditya’.