India will be celebrating Navy Day 2019 on Wednesday, December 4, for which the Indian Navy is rehearsing their skills. While the Indian Navy personnel will demonstrate exceptional skills during Naval Day celebrations, the existing fleet of Indian Navy aircraft was expanded to include more P-8Is.
The Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) approved the procurement of 6 additional Boeing P-8I long-range maritime surveillance and anti-submarine aircraft for the Indian Navy. With the latest order, the total number of P-8Is in the Indian Navy reaches 18, which is a clear indication that the Indian government is pleased with Boeing's long-ranger. Since induction in 2015, the P-8I maritime patrol fleet has surpassed 25,000 flight hours for the Indian Navy.
While there's no indication of Indian Navy expanding the P-8I fleet further, Boeing makes a clever proposal ahead of Navy Day. In a tweet on Monday, Boeing India recommended the Indian Navy to expand the fleet with F/A-18 Super Hornet. Boeing suggests the fighter jets can work with the P-8Is in the future battlespace.
Why F/A-18 Super Hornet?
Boeing's F/A-18 Super Hornet is a capable combat jet that makes for a great fit in the Indian Navy fleet. Boeing's recommendation doesn't come without a cause. Here are some of the noteworthy features of F/A-18 Super Hornet and why it makes sense.
The F/A-18 Super Hornet is a twin-engine multirole fighter jet. It delivers on India's need for a carrier and land-based fighter with lifecycle affordability factor. It has advanced survivability, tactical strike, aerial reconnaissance, air defence and enhanced range and reliability. Being F/A-18 Super Hornet offers the lowest cost per flight hour in the entire US tactical combat fighter portfolio.
As for the technical specifications, the F/A-18 Super Hornet weighs 32,100 lb (14,552 kg) and has a maximum takeoff weight of 66,000 lb (29,937 kg). The F/A-18 Super Hornet has a max speed of Mach 1.6, which is close to 2,000 kmph.
Besides the P-8Is, the Indian Navy's fleet consists of more than 200 aircraft, which include MIG 29-K, UAV Heron and Searcher, ALH, Chetak, Kamov-28 and Kamov-31 helicopters and more. As for fighter jets, the Indian Navy's fleet consists of MIG 29-K and Hawk Mk 132 (HAL). It remains to be seen if the Indian government will take up Boeing's suggestion to buy F/A-18 Super Hornet, but at least the US aircraft company's approach was better than that of Rafael in pitching its Spike LR missiles to the DRDO.