Boeing chairman James McNerney commented that his company Boeing will be pleased to manufacture its fighter jet F/A-18 Super Hornet in India if the Indian Air Force (IAF) were to buy it. He also met the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday, and believes this to be the best government he has witnessed in India in the last 35 years.
Currently, the IAF has mostly outdated and depleting fleet. Therefore, the top brass is keenly looking for a twin-engine fighter aircraft as well as a single-engine one.
The F/A-18 was mainly designed for the US Navy. It is a twin-engine, supersonic, multi-role and all-weather fighter jet.
“…it is obvious to me there is active interest in more fighters… however it shapes up, Boeing will have a fighter that can meet the requirement. What is different is our commitment to indigenise the manufacture of this fighter,” McNerney, on a quick visit to the country, said in an exclusive interview to HT.
Boeing’s approach, he said, would be to involve state-of-the-art fighter technology as well as transfer of a significant amount of the production system to India, something India is looking for. If it happens, it will have a broad-based effect. It will fuel growth in defence and other related industries.
Boeing is likely to supply two of its helicopter models, Chinook, which is used for heavy lifting, and Apache, an attack aircraft to the IAF.
He likes the change in the way the Indian government and bureaucracy respond. “I think what makes Prime Minister Modi special is that he is both a visionary and has his feet firmly on the ground… He understands how hard it is to do the little things as well as how important it is to do the big things.”
McNerney cited the dialogue on the offset obligation as a fine example of the change in the bureaucracy’s approach. “They have listened to people like us, and made some improvements. There is a dialogue. There never used to be dialogue, there used to be take-it-or-leave-it.”