The trailer of the Top Gun Maverick just dropped and everyone has gone berserk watching Tom Cruise fly a fighter jet 34 years after he flew sorties in the first Top Gun movie. While Tom Cruise flew the Lockheed Martin’s F-14 fighter jet in the previous movie, this time around, he will be flying in the Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet.
What’s interesting is that the Indian Air Force pilots could soon be able to fly one of these brilliant machines. The Union Ministry of Defence last year issued an initial request for information (RFI) to global aviation companies to make 110 fighter jets in India.
The RFI has set the ball rolling for a multi-billion dollar ‘Make in India’ project to produce 110 single or twin-engine fighter jets for the Indian Air Force with foreign collaboration. Also, Boeing announced a partnership with PSU Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Mahindra Defence Systems (MDS) for manufacturing the F/A-18 Super Hornet in India.
The Super Hornet 'Make in India' proposal is to build an entirely new and state-of-the-art production facility that can be utilized for other programme like India's Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) programme, the company said in a statement last year.
"Boeing is excited to team up with India's only company that manufactures combat fighters, HAL, and India's only company that manufactures small commercial airplanes, Mahindra. "This partnership brings the best of Indian public and private enterprises together in partnership with the world's largest aerospace company, Boeing, to accelerate a contemporary 21st century ecosystem for aerospace & defence manufacturing in India, said Pratyush Kumar, former president of Boeing India last year.
Boeing is among the leading military aircraft producers like Lockheed Martin, SAAB, Dassault and Russian Aircraft Corporation MiG that are likely to vie for the deal to supply 110 fighter jets to the IAF in one of the biggest such procurement in recent years globally which could be worth over USD 15 billion.
Boeing said the partnership will for production of an affordable, combat-proven fighter platform for India, while adding it will result growth momentum to the Indian aerospace ecosystem with manufacturing, skill development, innovation and engineering and job creation. As the most advanced and least expensive aircraft per flight hour of its kind, the F/A-18 Super Hornet will deliver on India's need for a carrier and land based multi-role fighter, the company said, it said.
"The Super Hornet does not only have a low acquisition cost, but it costs less per flight hour to operate than any other tactical aircraft in U.S. forces inventory. And with a plan for constant innovation, the F/A-18 Super Hornet will outpace threats, bolster defence capabilities and make India stronger for decades to come," it said.
The F/A-18 Super Hornet has a long life ahead, with the US Navy making significant investments in the latest evolution, the Block III, Boeing noted. Kumar said that partnership with HAL and Mahindra will enable Boeing India to optimize the full potential of the country's public and private sector to deliver next-generation F/A-18 fighter capabilities.
With Inputs from PTI