|F/A 18 Super Hornet
Committing to make long-term investments in India, US defence and aviation giant Boeing has said that it is seeking to create enabling capacities here across the value chain – from design, engineering and manufacturing to sustainment of weapon systems.
Speaking with ET, Ted Colbert, CEO, Boeing Defence, Space & Security, said that if its F/A 18 Super Hornet is selected by the navy for its requirement of carrier-borne fighters, the company estimates that the project will have a $ 3.6 billion impact on the Indian economy. This, the company says, would come from creating a supply chain, research and engineering and even incremental manufacturing of the jets that could be brought to India.
“My dream is for the next generation to wake up in the morning and see the Boeing logo and believe it is an Indian company. The only way to do that is by continuing to grow our investments across the entire life cycle – design, engineering, supply chain, training, maintenance and support,” Colbert said on the sidelines of DefExpo, India’s biggest military exhibition.
Boeing has already supplied cutting-edge weapon systems to India – including the P8I maritime aircraft and Apache attack helicopters – and is currently in competition with French manufacturer Dassault for an Indian requirement of carrier-borne jets.
“We believe we put forth a very good offering and we have feedback that the user loves our product. The interoperability (of the F/A 18) with our other products like the P8 I to support missions is a strong piece of the offering,” he said.
The navy is currently accessing results of trials it carried out on both the US and French offerings and a shortlisting is expected before end of the year. The order for new jets will be placed under the government-to-government procurement mode.
On other possible collaborations, the Boeing executive said that the Mk2 version of the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) and India’s new medium-lift helicopter plans are being considered. Colbert said that there are opportunities to co-develop and co-produce the aircraft, leveraging Boeing’s partnership with the Tata Group that produces components and parts for several platforms, including the Apache helicopters.