Pushing F 18 E/F under Make in India
There is an Interesting poster found in the ongoing England's Defense and Security Equipment International Exhibition, that Indian pavilion is showing the F 18 E/F Fighter Aircraft's in a make in India poster. unfortunately the F 18 is lost in the MMRCA race, after Indian cancelled the MMRCA and moved with off shelf Purchase of Rafale directly from France, there is huge cap of multi role air craft's and light combat aircraft in the IAF inventory, India and US are more closer in military relationship,US is offering many kind of Fighter jets and Missile, and it's excepted that US will once again push the IAF to buy F 18 super Hornets.
There is many possibilities of using the Super Hornets, Indian Navy is expected to buy those Naval based F 18 for it's future EMAL aircraft carrier, Rafale M is the other best contender, however because of the EMAL technology transfer US may force the Indians to buy the Super hornets, the Indian Navy's future carrier is currently in design stage along with the support of US Navy's Future Carrier Development team, who already involved in the US Navy's Gerald R Ford class carrier program, the first ship with the modern low cost powerful EMAL aircraft launching system,
The Americans earlier offered the F 16 IN Block 60 Aircraft for multi role missions and offered the Scorpion for Intelligent and reconnaissance mission, however IAF didn't even think about those platforms, they always strict with the Rafale, as already mentioned all Indian Armed forces are under government control, so they can only suggest the government to what exactly they need, The Government will take final decisions whether it's needed or not, The same also happening in the MMRCA too, for operational missions IAF need some 126 plus Rafale's, and the decision maker Indian government ordered just 36 Rafale, and they even didn't signed the last proposed Rafale deal. It's on the government's hands, whether they will sign the deal or move away from the deal, no one knows that.
The Indian Prime minister due a visit to America next week, where Modi will meet the US president Obama and his democratic members along with US military decision makers, where he will discuss about the pending deals, the IAF has scheduled to be operate many US made flying systems, however It's not signed since decades, the most awaited Apache AH 64, Chinook CH 47 is such an example, also PM will discuss with the US military leaders about the earlier offer of F 16 IN and assisting the Carrier building, PM will be accompanied with IAF and IN officials during the US visit.
There is no doubt that F 18 is a best fighter Jet, a good alternative against the Rafale, in cost wise Rafale is double money than the F 18, how ever the overall flying cost will be lesser in Rafale compared to F 18, simply Rafale is higher procurement cost and lesser operating cost and F 18 is vice verse, as many suggested we can spare some amounts to keep the F 18 running all time like how we maintaining the Su 30 fleet, and it's hard to put double money in initial procurement,
The Rafale deal itself hits in the roadblock, with the governments proposal of offset clause and some other missile integration issues, it's already missed many deadlines, and no clear signs about the deal, and it's bit confusion mostly the Government will walk away from the deal. Inducting completely newer version of fighter jets makes many problems in the IAF, new training new methods new controls and newer data links, the same will not needed in Rafale since IAF so familiar with the french fighters,
The IAF itself asked the government many times to buy the EA 18 growler for dedicated electronic attack capability, and It's good to see IAF operating one squadron of dedicated Jamming aircraft, the F 18 comes with an advanced AN/APG AESA radar, and the F 18 uses towed decoy to spoof long range radar guided missiles, such technology is not available in Rafale, and Rafale fully depend on it's Spectra EW suite.
The Rafale is designed to fly very low level, used it's design techniques to penetrate enemy air defense and strike deep inside the enemy's heart. the F 18 is primarily a multi role platform, who follows the AESA provided ground mapping for low level penetration, who needed the Radar to keep scanning, which draws attentions of enemy radar warning receivers.
It's clear that we should wait for a week to what the government is going to announce in Washington, whether it's the Scorpion or F 16 or the F 18 or nothing.