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Boeing - Proposal to Equip Indian Air Force with Super Hornet Fighters

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: 27 April, 2008  (Special Report)
Boeing has delivered a detailed, 7,000-page proposal offering its advanced F/A-18E/F Super Hornet to the Indian Air Force as part of India's Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) competition.
'Our proposal team worked diligently to fully understand and meet the requirements set out by the Indian Ministry of Defense (MOD). We are offering India the best-value, most advanced and proven multirole combat fighter in production today,' said Jim Albaugh, president and CEO, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems (IDS).

India issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) for 126 new multirole combat fighters in August 2007. Boeing completed its proposal before the initial March 3 deadline, which the MOD rescheduled for April 28.

'Boeing's strategic goal has been to seek a long-term partnership with India to help strengthen the country's aerospace capabilities and enhance its national security,' said Chris Chadwick, president of Boeing Precision Engagement & Mobility Systems. 'Choosing the F/A-18E/F would give Indians a direct hand in building an advanced fighter aircraft that will robustly defend their shores and airspace, infuse new strength into the Indian Air Force, and serve as a catalyst for India's growing defense aerospace industry.'

The Super Hornet variant being offered to India, the F/A-18IN, is based on the F/A-18E/F model flown by the U.S. Navy and currently being built for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). Advanced technology -- such as Raytheon's APG-79 Active Electronically Scanned Array radar -- and proven reliability are drawing U.S. and international customers' increasing interest in the aircraft as a cost-effective and lethal air defense.

Boeing has delivered more than 340 Super Hornets to the U.S. Navy. Australia has ordered 24 Super Hornets to bolster its fleet of F/A-18 Hornets, and Boeing is in discussions with several other international customers about their interest in procuring the Super Hornet.

'One of the concerns here in India is the cost of owning and maintaining combat fighters over their lifetime,' said Vivek Lall, Boeing IDS vice president and India country head. 'The F/A-18E/F Super Hornet offers a very attractive life-cycle-cost dynamic, since the fighter won't need a scheduled visit to a maintenance depot until it has clocked a minimum of 6,000 hours of flying time, and even well beyond that.'

Over the past 36 months, Boeing IDS has reached out to the Indian aerospace and technology sectors to identify potential public and private industrial partners. To date, it has signed long-term partnership agreements with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, Tata Industries, and Larson and Toubro. If the F/A-18IN Super Hornet is selected, these companies and others are expected to play a significant role as Boeing transfers some production and assembly to India.

The U.S. Embassy in New Delhi will formally turn over the Boeing-U.S. Navy submission to the Indian Ministry of Defense. Delivery of the first F/A-18IN Super Hornets can begin approximately 36 months after contract award.
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