Ankur Kanaglekar, Boeing Head in India for Boeing Defense, Space, and Security speaking to an Indian media outlet has said that the company is willing to demonstrate the operation of its F/A-18 Block III Super Hornet on offer to the Indian Navy (IN) on both INS Vikramaditya and IAC-1 aircraft carrier, even though aircraft was not designed to operate from `ski-jump ramp’.

Kanaglekar said that the company has conducted more than 150 simulation studies and also has carried out the ski-jump test from a land-based facility to confirm that F/A-18 Block III can operate from both Indian aircraft carriers with ease.

Boeing along with Dassault and Mig Corporation had responded to the Indian Navy’s Request for Information (RFI) for 57 Multi-Role Carrier Borne Fighter (MRCBF) tender requirements that can operate from two Indian aircraft carriers. Boeing has offered its F/A-18 Block III jets with more powerful F414-GE-400 engines that now generate 116 kN Dry Thrust and will be available from 2024, Dassault had offered its Rafale-M a Naval variant of the Rafale that is already in service with IAF, and Mig corporation has offered its MiG-29K

The Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) under the DRDO has started work on Twin Engine Deck Based Fighter (TEDBF) which ADA claims will be ready for its flight trials from 2026 onwards and will enter production from 2031 onwards as the Navy plans to retire its fleet of 45 Mig-29K that it operates from INS Vikramaditya starting from 2035 onwards. The Navy has claimed that due to the ongoing development of the TEDBF it has reduced its initial MRCBF unit requirement from 57 to 37, but it is not clear if the Navy will get clearance to acquire another jet when it is investing in the development of TEDBF program.

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