Recent border issues with China has prompted the Indian Navy and Air Force to assess its need for advanced fighters to arm itself with. One of these firms is Boeing that wants to sell the Super Hornet as an option.

The F/A-18E/F is the best naval fighter Boeing produces, which is under testing before it is sold to U.S. allies. Normally, the F-18 operates from steam catapult equipped carriers in the U.S. Navy. Trials will be done to test how they will fare with India's sky jump equipped aircraft carriers. If proven capable, the Hornet will be on the INS Vikramaditya and the Vikrant to be ready by 2022. Another Carrier the INS Vishal is still in planning, reported Defense News.

According to Boeing, the F-18 is in the starting phase of putting the plane through launching from a ski ramp. The location for these tests is at the Naval Air Station Patuxent River to compliant with STOBAR compliance for the Indian Navy.

STOBAR (short take-off but arrested recovery) is used in aircraft carrier operations without a catapult when fighters launch with a ski jump on the flight deck. Landing is done by aiming for a cable that will snag the plane and slow it down. Both the INS Vikramditya and Vikrant are STOBAR type carriers.

F-18s and their flat tops are catapult assisted take-off but arrested recovery (CATOBAR), which only American carriers are equipped with. On exception is the Vishal that will have a catapult, similar to the Type 003 of the PLA Navy.

Technologically the U.S. leads in catapult assisted take-off, and carriers have it. Ski Jumps carriers are the majority in operation in most navies. Having a catapult gives more advantages to carrier craft like better fuel economy and weapons load.

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As preparation for the ski-jump testing, there have been more than 150 computer simulations. Initial assessment if the Block III Super Hornet expects it capable of ski-jump takeoff or STOBAR.

Testing facilities for land-based ski-jumps were made to test the F-35B Lightning II for short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) version. Similar structures for ski-jump testing are found in the GOA base, which is also testing the Tejas fighter (carrier type).

During 2017, the Indian Navy commenced the acquisition of 57 multi-role carrier-borne fighters (MRCBF). A Request for Information (RFI) in regards to fighters that are capable of multiple roles and conduct a series of operations in one airframe. These requirements are important to operate craft on Indian aircraft carriers.

 All firms offering aircraft had to satisfy the 2017 RFI, which indicates they can operate STOBAR and CATOBAR systems. Before this, the India Navy was not satisfied with the 45 MiG-29K/KUB fighters, which were part of the INS Vikramaditya sale from Russia.

Development of the Tejas Naval light Fighter has been delayed and it spurred the need for carrier-capable fighters. Naval planners are not interested in a single-engine plane that is limited for carrier operation. Instead, a two-engine fighter is preferred by top Indian brass that is can carry more payload and more power too, by 2025.

Planes that will be part of the MRCBF tender is the Super Hornet, MiG-29K/KUB, Rafale, and Gripen E naval versions. These planes will form the front lines to the Russian copies of the PLA AF and Chinese-developed planes.

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