NEW DELHI: At the time India’s Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) is in the advanced phase of sea trials, two US manufactured Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornets reached Goa on Monday for trials on the Indian Navy’s Shore Based Test Facility (SBTF).
Confirming the news, sources said, “The aim of the sea trials is to demonstrate compatibility and suitability of the jets to operate from Indian aircraft carriers. The demonstration and trials will go on till June first week.”
It was in January this year that a similar demonstration was carried out by the French Rafale-M (marine variant) at the SBTF. While the Rafale-Ms operate from French navy’s nuclear powered aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, The US Navy has squadrons of the F/A 18 Super Hornets operating from its super carriers like the USS Nimitz and USS Ronald Reagan. The SBTF was created at Goa to replicate the aircraft carrier with a Ski Jump for take-off and arresting gear cable for arrested landing.
While India operates INS Vikramaditya with its air combat complement of MiG 29K, it will have to induct more maritime combat aircrafts not only for the IAC but also for its third aircraft carrier.