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By William Patalon III
Money Morning/The Money Morning Report
U.S. aerospace giant Boeing Co. (BA) said that it's "actively pursuing" the sale of the advanced F/A-18 Super Hornet attack aircraft to India, hoping to strengthen business relations with a country that's planning to spend $30 billion on defense wares over the next five years.
"We are actively pursuing the sale of F-18 Super Hornets," Boeing Senior Vice President Rick Stephens said at the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry-U.S. Indian Business Council summit in Chicago late this week.
The Super Hornets are competing with the Lockheed Martin (LMT) F-16 Fighting Falcon, the Eurofighter Typhoon, the Russian MiG-35 and the French Dassault Rafale jet fighters to fill the Indian Air Force requirement for 126 medium-range multi-role combat aircraft.
The Super Hornet, a supersonic, carrer-based jet fighter-bomber, is a larger and more advanced derivative of the F/A-18C/D Hornet, and entered service in 1999 with the U.S. Navy. It's a larger, modernized, more-powerful version of the F/A-18 Hornet jet fighter.
It military parlance, the "F" prefix stands for "Fighter," while the "A" prefix stands for "Attack." The Super Hornet is one of the few modern jet aircraft designed to fill both roles.
The Hornet is an all-weather carrier designed to attack both ground and aerial targets. Designed in the 1970s for U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps, the Hornet has since been adopted by the air forces of several other nations around the world.
And since 1986, the Hornet is the aircraft used by the U.S. Navy Blue Angels flight-demonstration team.
Stephens said Boeing was also quite keen to sell its P-8 Poseidon sub-hunter aircraft, CH-47 Chinook and Boeing AH-64 Apache helicopters, and C-17 Globemaster III heavy-lifting transport jet to India.
India has jumped to the forefront as a country of key strategic importance to Boeing – and not just because of the potential sales.
"We want to see India become a critical link in our global supply chain," Stephens told journalists at the summit.
Here's an example: Boeing, in partnership with Air India, would build a $75 million Alteon pilot training center in India. Alteon, a wholly owned subsidiary of Boeing, supports airline training needs by offering flight and maintenance training in the 100-plus seat aircraft category.
Boeing entered into an agreement last month with Indian conglomerate Tata Group to build floor beams for the airliner-maker's new 787 Dreamliner using new technology that utilizes both advanced titanium and composite materials. These advancements would help reduce the weight of the airplane.
News and Related Story Links:
- The Information Co:
Boeing "Actively Pursuing" Sale of F/A 18 Fighters to India.
Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet.
F-16 Fighting Falcon.
- Web Site:
Indian Air Force.
About the Author
Before he moved into the investment-research business in 2005, William (Bill) Patalon III spent 22 years as an award-winning financial reporter, columnist, and editor. Today he is the Executive Editor and Senior Research Analyst for Money Morning. With his latest project, Private Briefing, Bill takes you "behind the scenes" of his established investment news website for a closer look at the action. Members get all the expert analysis and exclusive scoops he can't publish... and some of the most valuable picks that turn up in Bill's closed-door sessions with editors and experts.