Two U.S. Navy F/A-18E Super Hornets will arrive in India late May for operational demonstration off a ski-jump. The two single seat jets are currently being modified with instrumentation for the two-week capability demo for the Indian Navy at the shore-based test facility (SBTF) in Goa’s INS Hansa naval air station, centred around a ski-jump that launches jets over a cliff and out over the Arabian Sea.
The Super Hornet demo comes weeks after a pair of French Navy Rafale M fighters conducted theirs at the same facility. The Rafale jets have since returned to their home base in France. The Goa tests will be the second time Super Hornet will roar into the air off ski-jumps. In December 2020, an F/A-18E test jet conducted a similar test at the Patuxent River naval air station in the eastern United States.
The ski-jump capability demo is a mandatory step in the Indian Navy’s quest for 57 multirole carrier based fighters (MRCBF) to augment and then replace in-service Russian MiG-29K fighters.
As part of demonstrations of ski-jump launches with meaningful weapons payloads, Livefist learns the F/A-18s will be flying with two dummy Harpoon missiles — an attempt to show up the Rafale’s ability to only deploy one comparable Exocet anti-ship missile on its centreline hardpoint: