Indian Super Hornets

F/A-18E on USS Kitty Hawk

F/A-18E Landing on USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63)

Boeing ‘authorized’ to offer AESA radar with F/A-18 fighter

I’m confused about what this really means:

The US government has ‘authorized’ Boeing to offer a state-of-the-art radar with the F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter that is vying for an Indian Air Force (IAF) order for 126 multi-role combat aircraft, the company said Sunday.

However, whether or not the technology for the radar would also be transferred ‘is an issue for the US government to decide’, a Boeing official said.

He was clarifying remarks attributed earlier Sunday to Chris Chadwick, president of Precision Engagement and Mobility Systems of Boeing Integrated Defence Systems, that the technology for the AESA (Advanced Electronically Scanned Array) radar would also be transferred with that of the aircraft for licensed manufacture in India in case Boeing wins the IAF order.

Well, that doesn’t really “clarify” anything for me. Can someone please explain?

Also, I had not realized how extensively Indian manufacturing would be involved in this if it happens:

‘In phase 0, we will supply 18 aircraft in fully assembled condition. In Phase 1, we will supply the aircraft in semi-knocked down condition with 1,800 parts and 300 tools,’ said Mike Rietz, F-18 programme manager for India.

‘In phase 2, the aircraft will come in completely knocked down condition with 17,000 parts and 1,000-plus tools. In phase 3, the aircraft and its entire range of 30,000 parts will be indigenously manufactured in India,’ he added.


  1. Yeah, this is nothing more than a reason to outsource the whole airplane to India. We’re almost lucky that the Su-30 kicks the F-18s ass, not to mention the fact it also mops up the floor with the F-15 and F-16. Not that it makes any difference here where we can cover up the truth with our politically expedient version of the truth (lies), but it probably will make a difference there. In reality, though, the defense companies will still use this competition as an excuse to lobby congress for the rights to outsource more of our defense to other countries. They will say they need this to be competitive. Whether or not they win this bid to provide jets to India, you will still lose, just like you always do.

  2. The current russian stuff can out match most of the american Fs indeed, of course the F-22 being the exception, although I dont have too much faith on the chubby F-35. So the US companies have to offer what the US has always being the best, that is the electronics.

  3. What it probably means is that the govt has authorized the release of the hardware, but not the software. Remember, today’s jets are basically big, flying computers – the radars most especially. If you don’t have the software to max out the performance of the radar, then you don’t ‘really’ have the radar… at least that’s the theory.

  4. Its called having the Indian’s grabbing Uncle Sam’s balls to see if the ‘hearts and minds follow’. We want India to be on ‘our side’, as a counter weight to China and to Russia if need be. Plus, as Pakistan goes belly up, India’s importance will only increase. So we are willing to allow them to have nukes and are willing to teach them the secrets of American fighters. The Indian’s not be stupid – see that the only way they can become a ‘great power’ is by building their own stuff. First they have to learn how. So buy American, and have the American teach them how to build an F-18.

  5. Yeah, wait until they find out they’ve already outsourced the software to India. Here is an excerpt from a recent Obama speech. This is why I’ll be voting for him in November, not because I’m ‘taking a poison pill’ or trying to prove something to the Republican party. After all, I’m an American first:

    In Ohio, a critical juncture in his fight with Clinton, Obama met with workers at a titanium plant on Monday and renewed his call for corporations to be ‘patriot employers‘ that create good jobs with full benefits for American workers. He proposed ending tax breaks for companies that relocate jobs overseas. ‘In the last year alone, 93 plants have closed in this state,’ Obama said to a mix of executives and workers at the RTI Titanium plant in Niles. ‘And yet, year after year, politicians in Washington sign trade agreements that are riddled with perks for big corporations but have absolutely no protections for American workers. It’s bad for our economy, it’s bad for our country, and it will not happen when I am president.’ Obama said the economic downturn of the last eight years and the growing income disparity in America must be reversed. He said the average worker’s wages had gone down by $1,000, factoring in inflation. ‘In the meantime, the wealthiest Americans have made out like bandits. That is not a recipe for long-term economic growth,’ Obama said. ‘If you look at how economic growth proceeded in the 50s and 60s, the 70s and the 80s, you had everybody rising – and sometimes falling if there was a recession – more or less on a similar path. We now have greater income inequality than anytime since the Great Depression. The candidates’ tone was driven in part by the sharp slowdown in the economy, which has shifted the focus of the presidential campaign away from the war and terrorism toward concerns that for most people are closer to home. It also reflected the dynamics of the Democratic race for the next two weeks, especially the primary on March 4 in Ohio, a state enduring many of the negative trends afflicting the economy. – International Herald Tribune

  6. Here is an excerpt from a recent Obama speech. This is why I’ll be voting for him in November, not because I’m ‘taking a poison pill’ or trying to prove something to the Republican party. Dfens, I’ll say about many of the self-proclaimed Conservatives who will vote Dem or not vote at all basically what I said about many of the Ron Paul supporters: They’re nuts. Now, that doesn’t mean that every Republican who votes Dem is nuts any more than it meant every Ron Paul supporter is nuts, so don’t try to claim that’s what I’m saying. But many Conservatives have flat-out claimed that they’re voting Dem to ‘save’ the Republican party or to ‘teach the GOP a lesson,’ and they’re urging others to do the same thing for the same reasons. Simple fact. I know some of them myself. I don’t agree at all, and it seems that you don’t either. Fair enough. But there are a lot of them right now. And I really have trouble believing much of what Obama says. I think the best scenario in a Obama presidency is that he’s so far out of his depth that he basically neutralizes himself as a political force.

  7. I believe, as I have stated before, that each of us should vote for our best interests. So who are you going to vote for? Are you going to vote for the media darling moderate whose policies will be a continuation of what we have now with Bush? Are you going to vote for the champion of the North American Union, NAFTA, and the World Trade Organization? Are you going to vote for our trade imbalance with communist China and the Arabs to continue to grow along with our federal budget deficit? If that’s your choice, then go with the status quo candidate. If you want change, then vote for change. It might not happen. It might not work. Doing the same thing over and over again, each time expecting a different result, though, that’s the very definition of ‘nuts’, isn’t it?

  8. This is heavily off-topic, but we don’t get to discuss this much here, and the commenters here (and our gracious host) are some of the few people whose opinion I would actually care to hear. So… ‘Are you going to vote for the media darling moderate whose policies will be a continuation of what we have now with Bush?’ Are you talking about McCain? I’m a (relatively) neutral observer – at least, I can’t vote in this upcoming election, and IMO all three potential candidates are pretty awful – I really don’t think McCain will do much to continue Bush policies. IMO Bush is a better President than McCain can be. I personally like and respect McCain a lot but he runs counter to my libertarian sensibilities. So do the Democratic candidates. Hence my bad feelings about the outcome. There are many issues I could take up with Bush but at least he’s been very stubborn on some issues where I’d like to see very little progress be made – since I think ‘progress’ in those areas could be disastrous. The best case I see is that whomever is eventually elected has their hands tied and can’t implement whatever ill-conceived plans they cook up. I like McCain’s position on the GWoT (or whatever you want to call it) but the rest of his policies are not much in line with Bush’s and I find many of them unpalatable. Maybe he’d bring some fiscal responsibility, maybe not. Outside of those two areas I’m afraid of what Maverick might get up to. Maybe we can have another thread to discuss this? On topic, I have to observe that if India are going to be building these planes from scratch with AESA there’s no way they won’t have the technology. Even if all they have is instructions on how to assemble the devices, reverse engineering them won’t be all that hard.

  9. What, you don’t think McCain was the media darling of the Repub field? Oh pleeeze. And as far as I can tell there isn’t an ounce of difference between Bush and McCain on anything. McCain’s War on Terror stragegy, if that’s what you want to call it, is to stay in Iraq for 100 years. Yeah, that’s real damn impressive. We beat Germany’s ass in 4 but it will take 100 years for Iraq. More proof McCain is brought to you by the military-industrial complex. What we really need is to have more of what we buy made overseas. Hell, the FDA can’t even keep track of what’s going on in major meat packing plants in this country. Now we find out they made a ‘clerical error’ resulting in the Chinese plant that made the poisonous ingredients to that heparin drug being cleared for export. What I want to know is why the hell I have to pay the salary of an FDA official so he can inspect a plant in F’ing communist China anyway. Why should I be subsidizing Chinese industry like that? If that’s the kind of crap you want to vote for, fine. You’ll get what you deserve.

  10. Anything would be better than the choice between dumb and dumber. I read today that Boeing is ready to move the F-15 assembly line to India too, if that’s their choice. Personally, I can’t imagine India would choose an airplane other than the Su-30. You can always add new electronics gadgets to a good airplane and make it better, but you can’t make a good airplane out of one that sucks no matter how much crap you hang on it.

  11. They won’t be shipping jobs out of America on this one. American workers would be still needed to build the JSF. F/A 18 is an old system now. The Navy and the Airforce would be phasing it out once JSF is available in 2012. And guess how long for it take to deliver the first aircraft once the contract is signed? 3 years! So out goes the production of old model to a third world country and Boeing starts manufacturing JSF. This gives the Americans 2 advantages: 1. Getting a ton of money (10 Billion dollars!) out of India for what is essentially an older system. 2. Making India dependent on Americans for their defense need and hence a pseudo partner. Indians aren’t stupid either. They also get 3 advantages out of this: 1. The India US nuclear deal goes through without a hitch considering they are throwing so much business towards American companies 2. They get the AESA radar (Nothing in their inventory is right now remotely equipped with such an advanced Radar) and the software to improve it and learn to build their own 3. Send a message to Russia that India is not solely dependent on them for their defense need, so if they wanna sell stuff, they better improve on their Quality Summarizing: The Americans are just juicing out the last drops out of the Lemon by selling the aircraft to India. India is getting leverage with the Americans and bragging rights in the Asian sub-continent Another Thought Though: Why do people hate Indians so much? I mean its not as if they arm twisted American companies to open shop in India? If Americans feel so dearly about jobs being outsourced, why not take it up with the companies? These jobs have bought the middle class in India to a new level, they are now spending more and more money on goods, goods made by which companies? American!!!! In a global survey India turned out to be the friendliest country towards the American (Above UK and Oz) but still it seems that Americans in general do not seem to like them.