Boeing CEO pitches F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter jet to India

Published: February 3, 2016



US aircraft maker Boeing Co is in a “conversation” on manufacturing its F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter jet in India, Chief Executive Officer Dennis Muilenburg was quoted on Wednesday as saying on his first visit to the country.

“We see the Super Hornet as an opportunity … to tie directly into the ‘Make in India’ strategy,” Muilenburg told the Hindustan Times in an interview whose authenticity was confirmed by the company. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Make in India’ drive is designed to expand India’s industrial base.

US Air Force, Boeing begin work on new Air Force One

Boeing was willing to back the project with billions of dollars in investment to India meet its operational needs, according to Muilenburg’s comments in the interview.

India is locked in talks with France’s Dassault Aviation SA to buy 36 French-built Rafale combat jets at a price said to be close to $200 million apiece.

But an earlier tender to buy 126 Rafales collapsed.

Plane makers are queuing up to fill the shortfall with revised offers, stressing their readiness to locate production in India, with Saab AB of Sweden also pushing its single-engine Gripen aircraft.

The twin-engine Super Hornet was eliminated in India’s original tender for Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA), however, and the future of its production facility in St Louis is uncertain.

Twin-engine fighter: Pakistan in talks with Russia to buy Su-35 jets

“I would not say there is an official order. This is a conversation we are having right now,” Muilenburg was quoted by the Hindustan Times as saying.

Muilenburg also flagged the F-22 Raptor, a fifth-generation fighter jointly developed with Lockheed Martin Corp, as a future sales prospect for India, calling it “an area of future investment for which we are interested”.

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Reader Comments (34)

  • Acorn Guts
    Feb 3, 2016 - 1:25PM

    36 jets for $200million apiece and still looking to buy more? Invest that money in your neighbours with an honest heart and you’d never need to fight again.Recommend

  • Allah Hafiz
    Feb 3, 2016 - 2:26PM

    @Acorn…Neighbour…who….If pakistan can take this money @8-10% interest rate….we are happy to give just like china…afterall we have surplus…Recommend

  • ghazal
    Feb 3, 2016 - 2:26PM

    @Acorn Guts: thank you, greatly appreciate your advice. it is not just us but three fourth of the worlds agencies are investing in our neighbor.Recommend

  • Tryst
    Feb 3, 2016 - 2:34PM

    @Acorn Guts:
    Agreed. Unfortunately, two of our neighbours do not have a clean heart to begin with, and have stabbed us in the back on multiple occasions. So we also need to invest elsewhere. I’m sure you’ll understand….Recommend

  • Chipmunks Go Nuts
    Feb 3, 2016 - 2:44PM

    @Acorn Guts: You mean the way America was investing its money in Pakistan to fight terrorists and finally realizing Osama was in Pakistan all along ? No thanks. India doesnt need to invest money in Pakistan or any other neighbor and commit suicide.
    Thanks for the suggestion but we respectfully decline. Recommend

  • Saad
    Feb 3, 2016 - 2:56PM

    PAF has JF-17 Thunder. It is the only 7th Generation fighter plane in the world. Recommend

  • Rahul
    Feb 3, 2016 - 3:46PM

    @Saad: “PAF has JF-17 Thunder. It is the only 7th Generation fighter plane in the world.”

    Pfffffahahaha dude JF-17 is barely 4th generation. India’s Tejas is 4.5 generation. Recommend

  • Pankaj
    Feb 3, 2016 - 4:27PM

    “Make in India” is success now!!! The same plan Pakistan is willing to buy but refused will be built in India now. Similar offer came from Sweden’s Grippin last month. This kind of deals will help India in two ways 1) Low cost of fighter aircraft and 2) millions of jobs for Indians.Recommend

  • Malik Bhaijan
    Feb 3, 2016 - 4:37PM

    Only pakistanis believe that indian military ambitions are pakistan-specific.Recommend

  • Acorn Guts
    Feb 3, 2016 - 4:56PM

    @neighbours oh my, with that attitude no wonder you lot need to spend so much on defence.Recommend

  • Feb 3, 2016 - 4:59PM

    A Rafale war jet costing USD 200 million a piece must be a misprint. However, if its price is the inescapable truth, then India is a donkey’s uncle. And India must get down to polishing its own shoes.
    If America starts to manufacture Super Hornets in India, then of course, it goes without saying, the Super Hornet war jets will be freely used against Pakistan and USA will gladly help them.
    No matter how nicely India shines their shoes, USA and France will not let the price come down. So, India better start cosying up to grab a share in a peace deal with China, Russia, Iran and Pakistan. Salams Recommend

  • Kamran
    Feb 3, 2016 - 5:40PM

    Paksitan should go for Su35.Recommend

  • rama
    Feb 3, 2016 - 6:24PM


    Yes, That is why it is not inducted in China and no country in the world are willing to buy even though it priced half of it generation aircraftRecommend

  • @Bla bla bla
    Feb 3, 2016 - 6:27PM

    At Rahul

    **JF 17 Block II thunder is much better in many aspects and regards in comparison to Tejas which has still hundreds of bugs and a lot of problems . The new JF17 Block III would be made up of composite material ,AESA radar with IRST infrared search and scan helmet mounted display (HMDS),beyong visual range missile (BVR) range >100km antiship and tank missile . Hindustan Aeronautical complex can just dream about such a fighter jet. They are just good in spending trillion of dollar in buying stuff from France and now USA want to make some enjoy . The aim is to sell western stuff for a good price and to keep the world biggest poverty to remain in worst condition . Shame on Indian democracy and the nation. Recommend

  • someone
    Feb 3, 2016 - 6:28PM

    7th? No man its 17th generation Junk Fighter.Hence JF-17. Recommend

  • WOW
    Feb 3, 2016 - 7:18PM

    It is the only 17th Generation fighter plane Recommend

  • Mostly Bull
    Feb 3, 2016 - 7:32PM

    @ Acorn Guts

    Don’t flatter yourself mate….India doesn’t spend “so” much on defence as you seem to think or imply that its all directed against the land of the pure…, THAT would be the overstatement …..(and the year’s just begun…)..!!!!

    But then again, when you can power cars on water, you can also “produce” a 17th-generation aircraft such as JF-17..!!!

    No surprise on that account now, is there?Recommend

  • Mostly Bull
    Feb 3, 2016 - 7:38PM

    @ Acorn Guts..

    Don’t flatter yourself mate…..India doesn’t spend “so” much as you seem to think or imply that its all directed against the Land of the Pure…!!!! Now THAT would be an overstatement, wouldn’t it?….(and the year’s just begun….)..!!!

    But then, when you can power cars on water (endorsed by Land of the Pure’s own Head/Chief of National Research Agency)…its no surprise that JF-17…is not just 7th gen, but actually 17th Gen….!!!

    The world knows what Pakistan “makes”…..those products are just about everywhere…!!!Recommend

  • Raj - USA
    Feb 3, 2016 - 7:45PM

    India should go for F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter jet. After year 2000, no other country has done more to India than US. I would be very happy if >50% of India’s defense orders and >40% of India’s orders for nuclear reactors goes to US. Recommend

  • PakPower
    Feb 3, 2016 - 10:59PM

    Go look up the specifications and ratings from independent sources like Hallion, Winchester and APDC. It is the other way around. The Teja is barely 4th gen while JF-17 is 4.5. JF-17 Block III that are to be inducted in 2019 are almost 5, with Air Force Magazine classifying their specs as 4++.Recommend

  • Sid
    Feb 3, 2016 - 11:11PM

    Don;t be so humble about your master’s technological capability JF-17 is the 17th generation plane, isn’t that what the 17 stands for ?Recommend

  • Sid
    Feb 3, 2016 - 11:12PM

    @Acorn Guts:
    Yes, we wish we get free donations from EU , China and USA for military gadgets as Pakistan extorts in name of war on terrorism.Recommend

  • Sid
    Feb 3, 2016 - 11:15PM

    @@Bla bla bla:
    Is this why JF-17 chickened out from Bahrain air show ? They scheduled for a dog fight with Tejas and didn’t even show up. Funny thing is this whole thing was so not mentioned in any Pakistani media. Recommend

  • Rahul
    Feb 4, 2016 - 12:16AM

    @@Bla bla bla:
    Tejas is already made out of composite material, is a stealth fighter and already has HMD (helmet mounted displays). Tejas already has the things which Block 3 jet would get in the future. Educate yourself my friend. You say that Hindustan Aeronauticals cannot dream of such things? Well they have already made a jet which has these technologies and more. Recommend

  • buba
    Feb 4, 2016 - 12:18AM

    American F/A-18’s produced in India? I can hear the Pakistani sphincter’s slamming shut from here. Strategically brilliant move – F/A-18 is a combat proven plane used throughout the World – not too expensive and capable of handling anything in Pakistan/China. Wouldn’t be surprised if India takes the deal because it will drive Pakistan crazy.Recommend

  • 3rdRockFromTheSun
    Feb 4, 2016 - 12:25AM

    The F/A 18 has reached the end of its life – even the US Marines and Navy are not buying more – instead they are all pinning their hopes on the much troubled F 35.

    Additionally, any US weapon comes with strings attached – which the US can pull, when they want. That is the reason India has only purchased transport / patrol aircraft from them : C 17, C130 and P8I (even in all of these, India declined to sign the CISMOA) – which would have given the aircraft additional communications ability; but at the same time allowed the US to snoop on Indian activities.

    So Boeing can offer all they want, Indians are not interested.Recommend

  • Omer
    Feb 4, 2016 - 1:29AM

    soon Americans are about to ground F-16 and F-18 after induction of F-39
    so Americans are selling scrap to Indians simple making profit out product which will be no use to themRecommend

  • blunt
    Feb 4, 2016 - 2:08AM

    Interesting proposal but India officials tend to be influenced by bribes/kickbacks and the USA enacted the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in 1977 which has stiff penalties and jail time for officers of US Corporations involved in bribing foreign officials. France on the other hand has a long history of military contracts with India which involved bribery/kickbacks. I doubt India will select USA company.Recommend

  • Samir
    Feb 4, 2016 - 2:13AM

    “Muilenburg also flagged the F-22 Raptor, a fifth-generation fighter jointly developed with Lockheed Martin Corp, as a future sales prospect for India, calling it “an area of future investment for which we are interested”.”

    The F-22 is a wonderful fighter but the US Congress presently has a ban on exports. Not even Israel has been allowed to buy a single F-22. Nor NATO!

    It’s also very expensive to operate – about $50K per hour. It needs hours and hours of massage and maintenance for each hour it flies.

    aisi naubat kabhi na aaye…Recommend

  • someone
    Feb 4, 2016 - 6:48AM

    I think Pakistani don’t realize the fact that this Junk Fighter is not being used by its own master, Chinese Air Force. Chinese are waiting for some real time results of the performance of this junk fighter with something else. It would be disastrous for Pakistani air force to go with this junk in fight with any other plane. No wonder PAF is waiting eagerly for old F-16 for years. Recommend

  • Salim Khan
    Feb 4, 2016 - 7:36AM

    F-18 is the mainstay of most powerful militaries of the world like Japan, Germany, and other NATO countries, If its manufactured in India, then it will create quite a stir because it will not only be cheaper so more countries will buy. But will also have innovative technologies that only south Indians can think of. Recommend

  • Indian
    Feb 4, 2016 - 10:50AM

    @@Bla bla bla: A Pakistani criticizing Indian democracy! lol…. Check which country has more respect world over… Recommend

  • Waqas
    Feb 4, 2016 - 8:22PM

    That 4.5 generation can’take compete with JF17 thunder…it’s fuel will finish before even this would be able to catch JF17…teja combat range is 400km vs 1300 by JF17Recommend

  • TiffinBox
    Feb 8, 2016 - 12:05AM

    @Waqas, Forgot Sukhoi 30 MKI ? You think in a combat India will only fly Tejas and send the Sukhoi to party with TiffinBox?

    India’s lead war plane (as per yet) is the Sukhoi and Tejas will play the role of a second fiddle (till its at par with the best)Recommend

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