Boeing’s Super Hornet++ At Aero India

The Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet international roadmap aircraft will be on static display on February 8 & 9 at AeroIndia this month. According to Boeing, the platform features enhanced performance engines, a next-generation cockpit, spherical missile laser warning, internal infra-red search & track (IRST), conformal fuel tanks, an enclosed weapons pod, designed-in stealth and future survivability technology that will “make the Block II Super Hornet harder to detect, harder to hit, and harder to kill”. More here.

37 thoughts on “Boeing’s Super Hornet++ At Aero India”

  1. This jet will give serious competition to Typhoon and Rafale in MMRCA competition. The F18 Roadmap can be the stepping stone to India's 5th Gen Jet dreams.

  2. Speculation time – all over again 🙂

    1. I think the F18 will make it. Also in solid use by US, Australia , Canada, Spain, Swiss.
    2. Typhoon has too many problems – the RAF, Saudi are not happy with its air to ground performance. (Read the latest issue of AIr Forces magazine)
    3.Gripen though good will be subject to the US arm twisting. My personal vote for this – the Swedes have a reputation for making idiot proof aircraft but that engine ! Oh that engine!
    4.Rafale – probably will get through with enough arm and palm and leg greasing.
    5. MIg 31 – whats that ?

  3. MMRCA is not just about purchasing aircraft's, its all about how much Transfer of Technology each company provide us. I doubt weather Americans have the upper hand with their proven superior technology, just because US gov approved TOT will be of any good compared to other contenders. For example, Dassault is even ready to transfer source code of Rafale radar to India. Americans are not going to provide us with much TOT, so I am very sure that India will not select Americans aircraft's as the winner.

  4. If its only about price and technical superiority then F-18 is a clear winner.But the main thing is TOT.USA has been reluctant to transfer technology at the level india has demanded.Obviously Boeing is trying too hard to win MMRCA but Europeans will always have the edge in terms of TOT.I think at the end of day competition will be between F-18,Typhoon and Rafael.

  5. As a Tax payer, I will recommend F18 only when Full TOT given by USA Or else Typoon is the Best choice for IAF…Go India go.

  6. TOT is important, but the ones giving a lot of TOT are also the ones that are having time selling their product in any other way. It's like the car companies, the ones with the largest incentives are also the ones who have difficulty selling. The decision should be based heavily on what the IAF needs, all other criteria should be looked at and should bear weight, just not as much. Of course, that makes it necessary for our IAF leaders to grow a back bone and list the fighters as 1-6, rather than saying they all satisfy our needs…. no 2 systems are alike, there is always a room to differentiate. Each one has it's strengths and weaknesses. IAF should be the one deciding what fits their long term plan. By keeping things wage, there is a lot of room for the blame to go around. If IAF is not happy down the road, they will blame the MOD for their decision, or if public is not happy, MOD will blame IAF for not clarifying their preference. This whole thing is just crazy.

  7. Super-super Hornet+++ may be the best in terms of price and the bells and whistles it is incorporated within it for the USAF.

    However when it comes to India Uncle Sam is very, very reluctant to part with many of the goodies that comes with the aircraft.

    Uncle Sam will not provide tot for the AESA radar, communication gizmos that are imperative for net-centric warfare. Just like the C130J planes and the Boeing P8I being sold to India. Forget about source codes. That is only for the US, not even for their British sidekicks.

    For the billions coughed up, India will be gifted with plain vanilla aircraft with the caveat that they should never be used against their pet terrorist ally, TSP.

    Rafael would be a better choice if the baboos and netas had any bargaining power and business acumen. At least it is wholly French who are known for NOT being Uncle Sam's poodle.

    I used to bet on the EF but knowing there are too many hands from different countries involved, the problem of sanctions are inherent in such a deal especially when EADS is involved in it.

    If Kaangress with the wimp MMS and Sonia at the helm they would not hesitate to do Uncle Sam's bidding.

    Hope BJP and the IAF exert enough pressure to get the best for India's defence and not succumb to all the high pitch sales rhetoric.

    Uncle Sam is just not a reliable ally but more of a greedy businessman waiting to cash in on a potential client's needs and shortcomings.

  8. In MMMRCA, Only F16 and F18 are only the two battle proven jets against Russian Junkies. Rafael to some extent more on the ground role.
    Operation AESA is only on F16 and F18.
    Others good on Paper.



  9. "International roadmap" because the US don't want or need it. So the first international customer will have to pay for the development cost…
    To KVR : only the US and Australia bought this version of the bird (F/A-18 E/F), which has very little to do with the first generation of F-18.

  10. Good pitch by the US
    1> but what are its chances against the f-16 block 50 to 70
    2> Will it be affective against the FC-10 and the Chinki Su-30.
    3> Is the Datalink compatible with Indian Su-30 and other aircrafts
    4> Will it be available for full TOT or only partial what about the ASEA source code.
    5> What affects will it have on the geo-political and economical senario.
    If there is a positive answer then India should Consider.

  11. Those who are fretting over ToT should ask themselves how are we developing AESA radar indigenously? Well the answer is the Israelis are helping us. And my question to that answer is who is helping the Israelis? Why did Israel stop sale of AESA radar at the behest of USA? USA is already indirectly helping us. Russia is no longer a superpower and none of these EEC countries have the financial resources to have serious defense R&D projects. USA is and will remain the innovation powerhouse for a very long time to come. It is prudent for us to back a winning horse instead of ones that are lame or weak, although we have to pay a higher price (CISMOA etc.).

  12. Anon at 11:31 PM… Well said, I agree with you. My only comment is regarding CISMOA: Even Russians/ USSR had some form of end user monitoring agreement with us when they sold us the hardware in the past… CISMOA is nothing unusual. The only difference is that the media is giving attention to the US agreements and completely ignoring the ones that were signed with other countries. I look at CISMOA as purely business. I would be surprised if GOI didn't make Chile sign some agreement for the ALH helicopters that they purchased from HAL. Until we develop everything at home, unfortunately end user monitoring agreements are something that we will have to live with.

  13. Cool!! but its a long looong way from design study/ mockup to prototype/ tech demostrator.. and then an other step to become ready for production.. When is it needed, what gap shall it fill?

  14. @the terminator
    Your a moron. Your just jealous that India is more interesting buying US aircraft right now. EU is bunch of EuroTrash. Russia is a hole support China the most by selling SA-20 (S-300PMU2), exporting Su-35, and PAK FA in the future.

  15. As I keep mentioning, this deal should be to buy a strike aircraft that can evade Pakistani Air Defences and suffer minimum losses.

    The only aircraft in the world that fits this bill and with some effort is buyable for india is the F35 JSF. The rest are all a waste.

    People are commenting on technology transfers offsets etc. Fact is that we are probably not structured to handle a tech transfer and neither will the OEM want to transfer cutting edge technologies to us. So we would in essence be paying for IP that we will never put to use as a competitive advantage in a war.

    The JSF will help us to put the Pakis on notice.

  16. India already buy put on US aircraft on order:

    10+6 more C-17 Globemaster III
    6+6 more CC-130J Super Hercules
    8+4 more P-8I Poseidon
    6 E-2D Advance Hawkeye
    22 AH-64D Apache Longbow Block III

    CH-47F Chinoook
    Boeing 787
    Boeing 737 new
    RQ-8B Fire Scout

  17. To all those above ranting endlessly about ToT, I ask: what exactly is your definition of ToT? What kind of ToT do you all want and for what? And where is an official statement from Dassault Aviation which promises to transfer/share the RBE-2 MMR's source codes? And who exactly from the IAF has clamoured for any kind of ToT? IAF has to date only stressed the importance of acquiring full operational sovereignty over its assets, and not ToT. So once again, do spell out what you all mean by ToT and only then can one conclude whether or not it makes any financial or operational sense to acquire them for only 126 aircraft.

  18. Also I am no fan of the US. I think that the kind of restrictions that they put on buyers (CISMOA) is not worth it. So deals with the US should be only for systems that give us a competitive edge like the JSF for example or the P-8i deal.

    i dont know why the Army intends to buy light weight howitzers or javelins or any other gear when there are enough options available for half the price and a fraction of the hassle and unreliability that american purchases bring with them

  19. Lively and interesting discussion going on here. Close to finalisation, all vendors will now hang out special features thru news articles to bamboozle the customer. Aircraft engineers, pilots,IAF brass and MOD worked together while reviewing these aircraft, so lets give them the benefit of doubt and assume they are making the best choice. Having said that I am still not in favour of Mig/F-16.

    Off topic and unrelated I think the JSF[just one squadron] would be beneficial. Not as strike a/c but more in a sort of guidance role like an awacs system. While guiding aircarft it could protect itself from enemy aircraft. It could easily go stealth during an LRSAM threat. Conter arguments welcome.

  20. Excellent comment by Prasun, as always!
    I have always thought that Prasun is the best defense journalist in the sub-continent, its a pity that his blog is no longer active:-(

  21. Anonymous @ 8:44PM (TAXPAYER): You say that "F16 and F18 are battle proven". Please provide details of the "battles" and the quality, sophistication, and qantity of the opposition.

  22. Prasun, TOT becomes very important if it can be leveraged for domestic programs like Tejas, FGFA, AMCA and AURA. The Govt should give priority to all such offers from the MMRCA bidders.

    IAF behaves like it cares two hoots for the beneficial impact of domestic 'know how' (and 'know why') and value added manufacture within India.

  23. Anonymous @ 8:44PM (TAXPAYER): Regardless of the quality of battles, there is no dispute on the claim battle poven… the fact is none of the other competitors are even close to what the F-16 an F-18 series have faced. Remember some batter is better than no battle.

  24. I think Prasun's points on TOT are right on DOT. Why would anyone be it Lockheed, Boeing, Dassualt want to part with their IP? Our problems are more basic in that the ADA, HAL and DRDO need to be privatized or done away with. I commend the efforts of some good people there but fact is that these are inefficient organizations.

    We do not need ToT. We do need Operational prepardness.

    All our purchases like the P8i give us ancillary capabilities. The JSF F35 would give us stealth and strike capabilities

  25. @Sam,
    If these organisations which put satellites on the moon and build ICBMs are "inefficient" then which organisations will you call "efficient" the ones which need Nira Radia to steal billions legally? It is due to people like u India is a backward country.
    Of course we don't need ToT so that we keep splurging trillions on defense imports (by greasing the palms of baboos and netas) when our people are dying out of starvation.

  26. IAF doesn't gives a damn about ToT bcoz indigenous jets thwart any hope of kickbacks from defense acquisitions. No wonder that fat ACM is so eager to paint Tejas in a negative light (a la Arjun).

  27. To [email protected]: Product-specific ToTs, as mandated by the MoD's DPP guidelines, are not designed to be leveraged for any other R & D programmes of any country. Product-specific ToTs are only meant to ensure the operational viability of the product being acquired. The leveraging issue comes into play only with indirect industrial offsets, and not ToT. Don't get confused by the two separate practices. To me, transferring flying training and ground maintenance know-how also counts as ToT and since all concerned M-MRCA OEMs are committed to this, I fail to understand how one can claim that the IAF cares two hoots about ToT or how the US is denying ToT to India.

  28. @Anon : Without getting into a flamewar on DRDO/HAL versus imports versus indigenisation, my only point is that DRDO/HAL are not in a position to absorb and mass produce cutting edge technology ASSUMING we got a TOT (which is a big big assumption). My point simply is that this deal is about the Air Force acquiring strike capabilities that allow it to take out ground targets anywhere and everywhere.

    For that the best fit is the JSF. Whether we use it in an air superiority role or as a mini AWACS (by the way the Su-30MKI makes a great mini AWACS already) etc.

    Let us get it for that purpose. If we need to improve our indigenisation capabilities, we need to privatise HAL/DRDO, subsidize that eco system with enough business and make them build capability in a 5-10 year roadmap.

    (After Thought: those commenting anonymously, just put in a name because that is also anonymous in a way. Shiv you should remove the anonymous option)

  29. Sam: There have been times where full-spectrum industrial ToT was offered, but was rejected by the mandarins at MoD. Way back in the mid-1970s when France offered to jointly develop a 15,00hp multi-fuel engine for MBTs, it was India that turned down that offer. Way back in the early 1980s when BAE Systems proposed joint development of a fly-by-light version of the Jaguar IS/IM with HAL, India refused it. Way back in the early 1990s when Alenia Aeronautica proposed to HAL they they join forces to jointly design and build the Tejas LCA's wing structure, it was HAL that refused. In the end, for all the Tejas TDs, the entire wing structures were fabricated by Alenia as HAL did not have the expertise that it had earlier claimed to have! At least twice, the HAL-designed wing had to undergo a thorough redesign, resulting in avoidable financial and time wastage. Now, for the past five years, HAL and the DRDO have been working on a fly-by-light flight control system for the Dhruv ALH, and it has yet to see the light of day! Even its transmission is suspected of having a fundamental design flaw, and this very transmission is now on board the LCH. What can we conclude from all this?

  30. To [email protected]: The problems are structural and organisational. The main problem lies within South Block at the MoD. Proper military R & D strategies and industrialisation guidelines were never spelt out or codified until 2005! A simple example will suffice: since ADA was developing the FBW flight control system for the tejas LCA, its expertise in this are should have been utilised and applied by HAL by now on the Dhruv ALH, HJT-36 IJT and the LCH. But turf wars between the DRDO/ADA and HAL's R & D Dept have prevented such leveraging from taking place. Therefore, the root cause of such a dysfunctional state of affairs is not the present-day organisational set-ups of HAL or ADA or DRDO, but the lack of firm and transparent policy guidelines which exist till this day. That's why defence spending is still classified as non-plan expenditure and consequently, there's no long-term perspective planning at the military-industrial level. And without such planning, no private-sector entity responsible to its shareholders will even contemplate committing its financial resources toward military industrialisation.

  31. Given the complicated management and organizational set up for the Typhoon, and the fact that its constituent partners have neither the money nor the incentive to continually upgrade their equipment, the Block II Super Hornet is my choice for the MMRCA. Further, the Typhoon has not convinced me that it has a credible A2G capability to match the hype about it.

  32. Prasun – thanks for the comment on the state of affairs. looks like we need one R&D department consolidated from DRDO/ADA/HAL.

    I visited HAL once when I was a student. I was really surprised with the work culture. didnt seem too different than a government office. You could see files and files of paper and it reminded you of a revenue office rather than a company.

    You make the right point

    1. Long term defence planning
    2. Govt funded and consolidated R&D
    3. My point is that the rest should be privatized with two three indian companies with JVs

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