Boeing teams up with HAL, Mahindra for F/A-18 Super Hornet production
13 April 2018
Boeing on Thursday announced a partnership with India’s state-run Hindustan Aeronautics and Mahindra Defence Systems for local production of F/A-18 Super Hornet, as the US aviation and defence major eyes India’s largest fighter jet acquisition programme.
Mahindra Defence, Boeing and Hindustan Aeronautics jointly announced the creation of a strategic alliance for building F/A Super Hornet fighter planes in India, on the sidelines of the ongoing DefExpo 2018.
The 'Make-in-India’ partnership brings together two Indian private and public sector companies and a leading global aircraft manufacturer.
The announcement comes after the defence ministry last week issued a request for information for 110 combat jets for the Indian Air Force, marking the first step toward a long-delayed defence procurement that could be worth more than $15 billion.
"With the F/A-18 SuperHornet programme, Boeing wants to build a deeper, capable aerospace supply chain, building on the 160+ suppliers we already have," Dan Gillian, vice president, F/A-18 programme, Boeing, said.
“Team F/A-18 comes together with MahindraRise, Boeing_In, HAL, GE Aviation, GKN Aero, Northropgrumman and Raytheon to `Make in India’ the fighter plane for India, with India,” Boeing tweeted.
“Proud to partner with MahindraRise and HAL for F/A-18 Super Hornet 'Make in India' ”. Working together to develop the Indian defence production ecosystem,” it added.
Boeing said the Super Hornet 'Make-in-India' proposal is to build an entirely new and state-of-the-art production facility that can be utilised for other programmes like India’s Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) programme.
“Our F/A-18 Super Hornet is one of the world's most capable and lethal fighters. Boeing's F/A-18 `Make in India’ will advance the Indian aerospace ecosystem, advance indigenous technology and build a path to AMCA,” said Boeing.
Boeing said it will accelerate its commitment to ‘Make in India’ and defence modernisation.
Boeing India president Pratyush Kumar congratulated defence minister Nirmala Sitaraman for achieving "convergence of defence procurement and production policies, that'll drive the scale needed to create a globally competitive aerospace and defence industrial ecosystem in India.
The planes have to be built locally as part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Make-in-India drive to build a domestic industrial base.
Boeing said it stood ready to build an aerospace manufacturing system in India along with its partners that will help India’s own aircraft manufacturing programmes.
Other global defence and aviation majors like Lockheed Martin, Saab and Dassault Aviation are also expected to compete for the Air Force order, one of the world’s biggest fighter jet deals.
Lockheed has offered to move its F-16 production line in Fort Worth, Texas, to India, to build the planes in partnership with Tata Advanced Systems.
Sweden’s Saab has said it will build the planes in collaboration with infrastructure and resources major Adani Group.
The Air Force will tender for single engine and twin-engine combat jets, widening the field and allowing new contenders like Eurofighter Typhoon and Russian aircraft makers like MiG 35.
Boeing’s Super Hornet is also competing for a separate order for 57 carrier-borne fighter jets that the navy is seeking.