There will be a bit of Bangalore in the new fighter jets to be inducted in Uncle Sam’s Navy.
The Bangalore-based Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), India’s largest aerospace company, has begun supplying gun bay doors and wire harnesses for Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornets, the backbone of the US Navy’s strike fighter force.
The HAL-supplied gun bay doors will hold the fighter’s M61A2 20mm Gatling gun. The wire harness assemblies will serve as the nervous system of the fighter jet to transmit signals from nose to tail.
Boeing Defense, Space and Security India head Vivek Lall said, “HAL has already dispatched the first shipment. This collaboration is part of a $1 billion (Rs 4,500 crore) memorandum of understanding signed in 2007.”
Boeing’s F/A-18 Super Hornet is locked in fierce competition with five global bidders for India’s $10 billion (Rs 45,000 crore) contract for 126 fighter planes. Lockheed Martin’s F-16 Super Viper, RAC’s MiG-35, Dassault’s Rafale, EADS’ Eurofighter Typhoon and Saab’s Gripen are also taking part in the hotly contested Indian sweepstakes.
In another collaborative effort, HAL will provide weapon bays door for eight P-8I long-range maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine aircraft that will be delivered to the Indian Navy between 2013-2015. Under the $4.7 million (Rs 21 crore) contract, HAL will deliver the first set of doors by the year-end. India concluded a $2.1-billion (Rs 9,450 crore) contract with Boeing in January 2009 for the P-8Is.