At the Indian Navy’s INS Hansa testing site, the F/A-18E will be evaluated for its capabilities. Earlier on in the year, the Marine Rafale already participated in the tests with the INS Hansa. The Indian Navy is aiming to purchase 26 multi-role fighters so that they can equip their homegrown aircraft carrier, the INS Vikrant.
The Indian Navy wants to replace the MiG-29K fighter jets that are already on board the indigenous INS Vikrant with 26 new fighter jets and get rid of the MiG-29Ks because of various documented safety problems. Next week, flying tests with Boeing’s F/A-18E Super Hornets will get underway at the Navy’s inland test station, the INS Hansa, which is located in Goa.
During the month of February, the Indian Navy conducted more maritime Rafale testing off the coast of Goa from the INS Hansa using a 283-meter long mock ski-jump platform.
The Block III iteration of the Super Hornet is largely in competition with the Marine Rafale for the role of carrier-capable fighter jets for the Indian Navy. Later on this month, it is anticipated that the Super Hornet will also participate in testing of this nature. Let’s have a look at the airplane that will be put through its tests the following week.
What Does It Mean to Be a F/A-18E Super Hornet?
The McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Super Hornet served as the basis for the development of the Super Hornet, which is a naval aircraft designed for use from aircraft carriers. The M-61 Vulcan gun and air-to-air missiles are both within their carrying capacity at any given time.
In comparison to its predecessors, it is equipped with a total of eleven weapon stations and has the capacity to deliver back to the aircraft carrier a payload that is three times greater than what its predecessors were able to bring.
It has a high level of mission readiness, minimal support equipment requirements, and a low cost per flying hour, all of which make it ideal for high-pressure operations.
The F/A-18E Hornet is the next iteration of the combat-proven F/A-18A/B Hornet. During the strikes that took place in Libya in 1986, the fighter jets were utilised to launch a handful of high-speed anti-radiation missiles (HARMs) at their air defense radars and missile positions.
The Rafale and the F/A-18E are Contrasted Here.
In addition to its regular size comparison with length, wing area, span, weight, power, etc., the dogfight comparison and BVR (Beyond visual range) ratings will be one of the deciding factors in addition to the trials. This will be the case regardless of whether or not the aircraft has been modified.
The Super Hornet is outfitted with an M61A1 Vulcan rotating weapon, whereas the Rafale has a GIAT 30M/719B placed on it. Both of these cannons are capable of regulated bursts of either 0.5 or 1 second in length. In comparison, the Rafale can only shoot 2,500 rounds per minute, whereas the Super Hornet can fire 6,000 bullets per minute.
The primary missile that is carried by the Rafale is the multi-target, fire-and-forget, air-to-air MBDA MICA missile. In contrast, the primary missile that is carried by the Super Hornet is the semi-active radar homing Air Intercept Missile (AIM-7 Sparrow).
On the other side, the Rafale has been shown to have superior combat maneuverability when compared to the Super Hornet.
The Rafale is equipped with the MBDA Meteor air-to-air missile, whereas the Super Hornet carries the AIM-120 AMRAAM.
In terms of BVR ratings, the Rafale has a range of 100 kilometers, whereas the Super Hornet has a range of 75 kilometers.
The Rafale and the Super Hornet are surprisingly similar in a number of ways, including having the same maximum speed restriction of 4,248 kilometers per hour, powerful radars, and large operational ranges.
The Governing Influence
It is important to note that the findings of the tests performed on the two fighter jets could very well be different from one another. The decisive factor, however, will be whether or not they are compatible with India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier, INS Vikrant, and whether or not they serve the same function. This carrier is expected to begin operations within the next month. Eight of the carrier-based multi-role fighter jets that the Navy plans to procure for the INS Vikrant will be utilized for both flight training and actual combat missions. The remaining 22 will be used solely for combat missions.
In contrast to the majority of other aircraft carriers, which utilize catapults to launch their jet aircraft, the INS Vikrant was built to do a ski-jump launch.
The aircraft that is ultimately chosen by the Indian Navy must be able to demonstrate that it is capable of taking off in this manner, known as the ski jump manner, while simultaneously carrying all of its armament systems and a full fuel load. Additionally, the aircraft needs to be able to cooperate with the technology known as Short Take-Off But Arrested Recovery (STOBAR), which is found on the majority of Indian aircraft carriers.
They are searching for a plane that can carry nuclear weapons, air-to-air missiles, and precision-guided bombs.
However, the final aircraft will be selected by the Indian Navy based on the results of these trials. It is obvious that both of the suppliers will offer to make certain modifications to accommodate the requirements of the Indian Navy, and in fact, they have already made some of these adjustments.