Economy

Boeing joins hands with HAL, Mahindra to manufacture F/A-18 fighter jets

Nayanima Basu Chennai | Updated on April 12, 2018 Published on April 12, 2018

(from left) Pratyush Kumar, President, Boeing India; T Suvarna Raju, CMD, Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd; and SP Shukla, Group President, Aerospace and Defence, Mahindra Group, at an MoU signing ceremony   -  Bijoy Ghosh

American aerospace giant Boeing announced its tie-up with Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd and Mahindra Defence Systems to manufacture F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter jets in India.

The announcement comes at a time when the Indian Air Force is looking to procure 110 fighters jets under a $15-billion deal and the Indian Navy is in advanced stages to purchase 57 multi-role carrier borne fighters (MRCBF) for around $12 billion.

“Boeing is excited to team up with India’s only company that manufactures combat fighters, HAL, and India’s only company that manufactures small commercial airplanes, Mahindra. This partnership brings the best of Indian public and private enterprises together in partnership with the world’s largest aerospace company, Boeing, to accelerate a contemporary 21st century ecosystem for aerospace & defence manufacturing in India,” said Pratyush Kumar, President, Boeing India, said here. Boeing had been in talks with HAL and Mahindra for more than a year now for the F/A-18 Super Hornet project. Its partnership with HAL, which already has the competency to build warplanes, is expected to drastically bring down the cost of each F/A-18, which might not be a positive news for the Russians who are looking to offer the advanced MiG-35 at a lower cost compared to others.

“Our partnership with HAL and Mahindra will enable us to optimise the full potential of India’s public and private sector to deliver next-generation F/A-18 fighter capabilities. Together we can deliver an affordable, combat-proven fighter platform for India, while adding growth momentum to the Indian aerospace ecosystem with manufacturing, skill development, innovation and engineering and job creation,” Kumar added.

‘Make in India’ drive

Boeing also said the Super Hornet ‘Make in India’ proposal is to build an entirely new production facility that can be utilised for other programmes such as India’s Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft.

T Suvarna Raju, Chairman and Managing Director, HAL said the partnership with “will create an opportunity to develop capabilities of the aerospace industry and strengthen indigenous platforms in India thereby contributing to the Make-in-India activities.”

Boeing also said the future production with Indian partners will involve maximising indigenous content and producing the F/A-18 in India for its armed forces to create a 21st century aerospace ecosystem.

Future production with Indian partners will involve maximising indigenous content and producing the F/A-18 in India for its armed forces to create a 21st century aerospace ecosystem, the company said in a statement. Companies like Lockheed Martin and SAAB have already announced their joint-venture with Tatas and Adani Group respectively for building the F-16 and Gripen E in India.

Published on April 12, 2018
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