July 26, 2021

Watch an F/A-18 Super Hornet Take Off From a Ski Jump Ramp

Boeing is testing the F/A-18 Super Hornet’s ability to take off using a ski ramp.A ski ramp helps loft a carrier-based fighter jet into the air.The testing will help ensure compatibility with the Indian Navy’s aircraft carriers.Boeing is conducting an unusual series of tests that could end with the company’s F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter serving with the Indian Navy.Boeing is launching a Super Hornet from a ski ramp, a device used by many navies to get airplanes into the air without the use of a catapult launch system. If successful, the Indian Navy could order nearly 60 Super Hornets.Boeing India released a video of a land-based ski ramp launch over the weekend:The purpose of the testing is to ensure compatibility with the Indian Navy’s aircraft carriers, which use ski ramps instead of catapults to launch planes.Many foreign aircraft carriers, including those operated by Russia, China, and the U.K., use ski ramps. They’re cheaper, simpler, and more reliable than the catapults used by the carriers of the U.S. Navy.The downside? Ski ramp-launched aircraft tend to carry less fuel and weapons, restricting their range and combat effectiveness, in order to just get into the air.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p9DcPnr9jOQIndia has one aircraft carrier in active service, the 45,000-ton Vikramaditya, which currently operates a seagoing variant of the Russian MiG-29K fighter. A second carrier, the 35,000-ton Vikrant, is undergoing sea trials. India wants to eventually field a three-carrier force, but a third ship is facing budget difficulties.✈ Our Favorite Hobby RC PlanesIndia is looking for 57 new carrier-based fighters, both to replace the MiG-29Ks and operate from the new Vikrant. The new fighters would enter service by 2032, according to The Hindu.Photo credit: MANJUNATH KIRAN – Getty ImagesPhoto credit: MANJUNATH KIRAN – Getty ImagesBoeing is pitching the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet as a proven, single- or two-seat carrier-based fighter for the Indian Navy. The U.S. Navy has operated the Super Hornet since 1999, but it has never operated them from ski jump ramps.The U.S. is slowly courting India as an ally against a mutual adversary, China. India is capable of cutting off China’s access to the Indian Ocean in a conflict. A Super Hornet-equipped Indian Navy would raise the prospect of closer cooperation between the U.S. and Indian navies, plus the ability to share logistics at sea.

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