The United States has once again asked India to seriously consider buying the F/A-18 Super Hornets.
The acquisition of the F/A-18 Fighter Jets came up during the visit of Admiral John Acquilino of the Hawaii-based US Pacific Command last month to India. The United has been insisting India to switch to American Made Fighter jets to enable commonality of weapon platform so that it would become easier for the two countries to work together at a time of crisis. Reaction time would be faster if both India and the United States had the F/A-18 Super Hornets based on each others aircraft carriers.
However, India has not got back to the United States on the selection or the acquisition of the twin-engine, multi-role Super Hornet. The Fighter Jet is being manufactured by Boeing and the US has inducted these in hundreds. The US has made multiple offers to India for the F/A-18 Super Hornets.
The Admiral mentioned that China was bullying its neighbours. He reminded India that Chinese Aircraft Carrier battle-groups would soon be seen in India's backyard, the Indian Ocean in the near future. China's military build-up in the region was continuing at a very aggressive pace and there was an urgent need to team up to take on this challenge.
China's 1st Aircraft Carrier, the Liaoning, has begun deterrent patrols in the South China sea and beyond. It is fast catching up with nations like the US, Russia, UK, France and India who have mastered the art of operating aircraft carriers in live war situations. China needs more experience pilots that can take-off and land from carriers. At this point they barely have 50 trained pilots.
India's sole aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya is equipped with Russian Mig-29K Fighters. India is also building a second aircraft carrier at Cochin Shipyard. The complement of fighters on the 2nd under construction aircraft carrier is yet to be decided.
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Article written exclusively for www.DefenceNews.in