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Who will win the Indian Navy’s new fighter jet contract? F/A 18 or Rafale

Who will win the Indian Navy's new fighter jet contract? F/A 18 or Rafale

As India continues to upgrade its defense fence around its territory, it is also updating its fleet on the oceans. India recently launched the indigenously built Vikrant aircraft carrier and is now looking for some of the most advanced and eligible fighter jets to operate from the new aircraft carrier.

The Indian Navy initially announced a tender for 57 jets in 2017. It was estimated to be worth at least $6.6 billion at the time. The Indian Navy will initially purchase 26 fighter jets, 18 of which will be single-seaters and the remaining eight will be two-seaters.

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Let us take a look at the capacity of the Vikrant aircraft carrier, where this aircraft is about to be operated. The massive 14 decks and 2,300 compartments of India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier can carry 1,700 sailors and officers. Most notably, it can house 30 MiG fighters and helicopters. It has a runway length of 206 meters and a short take-off position of 145 metres.

The new aircraft carrier for India was designed as a ski-jump launch ship, as opposed to many other such carriers, which use a catapult launch for their jets. As a result, the aircraft chosen by the Indian Navy must be capable of taking off in this manner while carrying all weapon systems and a full fuel load.

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IAC VIKRANT was built with 23,000 tonnes of military grade steel. An indigenous aircraft carrier has cost India 23,000 crore rupees to design and build.

The Navy intends to combine its multi-role carrier-based fighter jet procurement tender with the ongoing IAF tender for 114 fighters.

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According to the Navy, they were looking for an aircraft that could deliver nuclear loads, air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles, and precision-guided bombs. Last month, the Rafale-M jet was tested for 12 days in Goa. On May 21, the super hornet US F-18 fighters will be tested for INS Vikrant in Goa.

Boeing, the US defence giant, will send two F-18 Super Hornet fighters to the Indian Navy for flight tests this month. Both fighters will depart from the United States with mid-air refuelling. The last P-8I poseidon is scheduled to be delivered on the same day.

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What would be a better fit for India’s future fighter for an aircraft carrier? Well, it all depends on the various factors that come into play here. Let’s look at the operation’s specifications and capabilities.

The Rafale’s wingspan is 35 feet 9 inches, whereas the FA 18’s is 44 feet 8.5 inches. After folding, the Super Hornet’s wingspan is reduced to 30.5 feet, which is 5 feet smaller than the Rafale. The Russian MiG-29K has a wingspan of 39.4 feet, and the present carrier can accommodate up to 30 fighters, so space may not be an issue.

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There are two stronger contenders for this tender: Rafale from France and F18 from the United States.

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Dassualt, a French aviation company, manufactures the Rafale. The Rafale is already in service with the Indian Air Force. It is a multirole twin engine fighter. India possesses 36 fighter jets.

Because naval bases have fewer operating runways for takeoff and landing, they have some special requirements. However, because the Indian aircraft carrier has ski-jump runways, it will undoubtedly require some appropriate aircraft for operations. Catapults were used by a few carriers to launch aircraft. Catapult-launched aircraft can carry more weight than ski-jump-launched aircraft.

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In 2004, the Rafale Marine entered service with the French Navy. In fact, the Rafale Marine variant comes before the Rafale Air Force variant. While the two aircraft are nearly identical, the Rafale Marine is heavier due to a reinforced undercarriage and nose wheel to withstand the impact of carrier take-offs and landings, as well as a stronger ‘arrester’ hook to catch the wires that bring the aircraft to a halt on landing.

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Rafale Marine has some limitations as well. The Rafale Marine is only available in a single-seat configuration, whereas the Super Hornet is available in both single- and two-seat configurations. The Rafale Marine is also unable to fold its wings while on deck, which is a significant disadvantage given the limited space on aircraft carriers. The Super Hornet has the ability to do so.

The Rafale Marine jet is equipped with an Exocet anti-ship missile, two 2,000-liter fuel tanks, and four MICA air-to-air missiles. According to French analysts, this configuration demonstrated that the Rafale Marine could take off from a ski-jump with an external load of more than 5.5 tonnes.

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India is about to sign a new multibillion-dollar deal with the US for P-8I sub-killers.

The McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Super Hornet is a twin-engine, carrier-capable multirole fighter aircraft variant. The F/A-18E single-seat and F/A-18F tandem-seat variants of the F/A-18C and D Hornet are larger and more advanced versions of the F/A-18C and D Hornet.

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It is highlighted with The ski-jump ramp employs what naval experts refer to as STOBAR (short take-off but arrested recovery) technology.

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This aircraft was introduced in 1999 and is currently in service with the United States Navy, the Royal Australian Air Force, and the Kuwait Air Force.

The F18 has advanced electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, large cockpit displays, and a “open systems” architecture that allows for easier electronic upgrades.

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Is India planning to purchase more Chinook helicopters?

The Super Hornet had a twin-seat variant that flew off aircraft carriers, whereas the Rafale had only a single-seat version. Twin-seat jets are thought to be better suited for long-distance missions and tasks like electronic warfare and ground attack.

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Please let us know what you think about both fighter jets in the comments section.


 

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He is an aviation journalist and the founder of Jetline Marvel. Dawal gained a comprehensive understanding of the commercial aviation industry.  He has worked in a range of roles for more than 9 years in the aviation and aerospace industry. He has written more than 1700 articles in the aerospace industry. When he was 19 years old, he received a national award for his general innovations and holds the patent. He completed two postgraduate degrees simultaneously, one in Aerospace and the other in Management. Additionally, he authored nearly six textbooks on aviation and aerospace tailored for students in various educational institutions. jetlinem4(at)gmail.com

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Aerospace

Which is bigger 777x or 787 aircraft ?

Which is bigger 777x or 787 aircraft ?

The 777X is a new series of the Boeing 777 family and is designed to be larger and more efficient than its predecessor. It features two variants: the 777-8 and the 777-9, being the larger of the two.

The Boeing 777X emerges as the larger sibling within the Boeing family, representing a significant leap forward in both size and efficiency. Comprising two variants, the 777-8 and the 777-9, the latter takes the crown as the larger of the two. With its expansive fuselage and impressive wingspan, the 777X is tailored for long-range journeys and boasts a substantial passenger capacity.

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On the other hand, the Boeing 787, affectionately known as the Dreamliner, occupies a niche in the market as a smaller yet formidable aircraft designed for medium to long-range flights. Its distinguishing feature lies in its composite fuselage, a technological marvel that renders it lighter and more fuel-efficient compared to conventional aluminum counterparts. The Boeing 777X is larger than the Boeing 787 aircraft.

When it comes to passenger capacity, the 777-9 reigns supreme, typically accommodating a sizeable contingent of 400-425 passengers in its standard configuration. In contrast, the 787, with its more modest dimensions, typically carries between 240-290 passengers, depending on the variant and layout.

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One of the remarkable innovations introduced with the 777X is its folding wingtips, a feature designed to address the logistical challenges of accommodating such a large aircraft in conventional airport gates. These folding wingtips enable the 777X to retract its wings, allowing it to fit into gates designed for smaller aircraft while still reaping the benefits of an extended wingspan during flight, thereby enhancing fuel efficiency and operational flexibility

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Aerospace

China Secures Production Certificate for Mass Production of Pilotless eVTOL Aircraft

China Secures Production Certificate for Mass Production of Pilotless eVTOL Aircraft
EHang

The first passenger-carrying pilotless electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft in the world, the EH216-S, has received the Production Certificate for its eVTOL aircraft from the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC).

This is a significant milestone for EHang Holdings Limited, the leading UAM technology platform company in the world. This outstanding accomplishment is another big step towards mass manufacturing for the eVTOL aircraft and the ensuing commercial operations, building on the ground-breaking acquisition of the Type Certificate and the Standard Airworthiness Certificate for the EH216-S.

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The PC is a crucial certificate that the aircraft maker receives from the CAAC, the country’s aviation authority. By obtaining this certificate, EHang has demonstrated that it has set up a quality management system for mass production that satisfies the airworthiness regulation standards set forth by the CAAC, and the company has been given permission to continue producing mass quantities.

It is also a strong guarantee of the calibre of the goods made by EHang. Raw materials, supplier management, manufacturing organisation, production quality control, aircraft pre-delivery test, after-sales repair and maintenance, etc. are all included in the mass production quality management system for the EH216-S.

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To ensure that every aircraft and its components that roll off the production line strictly adhere to the approved type design and safety requirements, the system sets clear guidelines and documentation for every step in the production procedure. This ensures comprehensive traceability and safety control.

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Aerospace

Four Airbus A380 Superjumbos lined up to be scrapped

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In a strategic move aimed at reclaiming valuable resources from the iconic Airbus A380 aircraft, VAS Aero Services and Dr. Peters Group have announced a significant collaboration.

This partnership marks a milestone in aviation logistics and aftermarket services, with four of these colossal planes slated for teardown and redistribution of used serviceable material (USM).

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The venture between VAS Aero Services, renowned for its expertise in aircraft dismantlement, and Dr. Peters Group, a prominent Germany-based investment fund management firm, underscores a commitment to sustainable aviation practices. This isn’t their first foray into scrapping A380s; their successful partnership has already seen the dismantlement of these aircraft, making them pioneers in this niche.

Under the agreement, the latest consignment brings the tally to eight A380s entrusted to VAS by Dr. Peters Group. Managing Director Christian Mailly of Dr. Peters Group emphasized the trust placed in VAS, citing their unparalleled capabilities in dismantlement and aftermarket sales network. It’s a strategic move in response to the growing demand for quality USM parts, particularly with the resurgence in reliance on the A380.

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Notably, the teardown process will be carried out at various locations, optimizing the positioning of harvested parts to cater to different markets. While some parts will be positioned in Europe to support operators in the region and the Middle East, others will remain in the Asia-Pacific region. This meticulous strategy ensures efficient access to spare parts, benefiting MROs and airlines across these markets.

The decision to retire these A380s comes at a time when operators are reassessing fleet strategies amidst evolving market dynamics. Despite initial plans for quick retirement due to the emergence of more fuel-efficient alternatives, factors such as a rebound in long-haul demand and delays in new widebody deliveries have prompted operators to reconsider. The A380, with its unique capacity and capabilities, presents a practical solution for short-term capacity management.

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