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Boeing holds talks with HAL and MDS on F/A-18 Super Hornet "Make in India" plan

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BENGALURU (PTI): Aerospace company Boeing Thursday held discussions with its partners, Mahindra Defence Systems (MDS) and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), on the proposed F/A-18 Super Hornet 'Make in India' plan.

The partners are developing comprehensive plans to set-up a new 'factory of the future' to manufacture Super Hornet locally, Boeing said after the discussions at the Aero India air show at the Yelahanka air base here.

The program is expected to work with several Indian suppliers to grow a thriving defense aerospace base which could accelerate other programs, a company statement said.

The facility will create a world-class, highly trained aerospace workforce, it said.

The public-private partnership is intended to bring Boeing, HAL and MDS' global scale and supply chain, its best-in-industry precision manufacturing processes, as well as experience in designing and optimising aerospace production facilities to expand India's aerospace ecosystem and help realise the 'Make in India' vision.

Boeing's Super Hornet is a proven platform that offers the fighter of the future for India networked, survivable and reliable, the statement said.

Introduced in 2007, the F/A-18 Super Hornet is the world's preeminent carrier capable aircraft and best suited for India's naval fighter requirements designed from day one for carrier operations, according to Boeing.

The Super Hornet is highly capable across the full mission spectrum for the Indian Air Force and is a true multi-role aircraft, able to perform virtually every mission in the tactical spectrum, it said.

In addition, Boeing also laid out at Aero India its future defence plans proposing the KC-46A aerial refueler, AH-64E Apache attack helicopter, additional P-8 long-range maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine aircraft, and the twin-engine Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) aircraft.

Boeing also highlighted its growing services, sustainment and training footprint in India which is delivering exceptional operational capability and readiness for current platforms at a competitive cost structure, another release from the company said.

The P-8I and C-17 operated by the Indian Navy and Indian Air Force have high mission readiness rates of >85%, as a result of this commitment.

For the soon-to-be-inducted AH-64E Apaches and CH-47F(I) Chinooks, the first batch of Indian Air Force pilots have been undergoing training in the United States, it said.

Boeing also plans to establish rotor craft training and support capabilities in India as deliveries commence this year, it said.

Boeing also shared its success on 'Make in India', highlighting the contributions of its 160+ suppliers that provide parts and assemblies covering aerostructures, wire harness, composites, forgings, avionics mission systems, and ground support equipment for some of its most advanced defence platforms.

Boeing also highlighted the deliveries of the first batch of AH-64 Apache fuselages by Tata Boeing Aerospace Limited, the Joint Venture with Tata Advanced Systems Limited, which is the sole-producer of fuselages globally.

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