Detailing its plan for the Make in India contest – India wants to produce 100-200 fighters domestically with technology transfer to meet deficiencies in the fleet – Boeing has said that it is in talks with several Indian companies to select a partner but the final decision would depend on the government’s strategic partnership model.
"We are not talking about moving an existing line to India but about setting up a brand new factory that will have all the lessons that we have learnt over time. We will bring the best of modern manufacturing capabilities to make a 21st century factory. It will be capable of producing future platforms as well," Dan Gillian, Vice President of the F/A 18 Program says.
Presenting an advanced version of the F/A 18 Super Hornet, top Boeing officials have said that commonalities like an advanced version of the GE 414 engine to produce 18 percent greater thrust makes it the suitable path to the AMCA. "We have had multiple stake holder discussions (on the AMCA) that includes the DRDO as well," Gillian said adding that the US government is on board with the proposal to create a new generation fighter factory in India.
Pitching the Super Hornet as frontline US fighter that will be in service till the 2040s, Boeing says that it is also the most economical fighter with the US armed forces and costs less to fly per hour than any other tactical aircraft in service.
Also read: Click here to know everything about the Super Hornet
An advanced version of the Super Hornet is also under development that could potentially include conformal fuel tanks to give it an extended range of 120 nautical miles, enhanced engines and upgrades to the AESA radar that is the heart of the fighter’s combat system. The enhanced engine in particular is being showcased as a major advantage for the Indian AMCA plan.
In the first detailed presentation on its Make in India offer for the F/A 18, Boeing shared its future production plan in India that aims to maximize indigenous content and bring in aerostructures, engine, avionics production and final assembly into India.
India has shown interest in producing a single engine fighter under the make in India initiative and there are indications that a program to make twin engine jets is also on the anvil. The fighters are needed in the 2020-2025 time frame as the air force will see a major depletion of its combat fleet due to the de induction of MiG fighters that have reached the end of their service life.
(This Correspondent is in St Louis on the invitation of the Boeing Company)
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