USA Offers F-18 Fighter Jets For Indian Navy’s Aircraft Carriers The Indian Navy too had expressed its interest to procure 57 combat jets that would be operated from its aircraft carriers, INS Vikramaditya and the indigenous aircraft carrier which is under construction. In addition, apart from the F-18 fighter jets, the USA has also offered its unmanned aircraft Sea Guardian for the Indian Navy along with other defense assets. The Indian Navy has also been assessing the F-18 and Rafale’s naval variants as its current fighter jets are likely to be replaced by the end of this decade or the beginning of the next. The process is a part of the Indian Navy’s measure to boost its present and futuristic requirements for its carrier-based operations.
The F-18 was also offered to Indian Air Force for its requirement of 126 multirole medium combat aircraft. The other two options were the Eurofighter and the Rafale. The F-18 fighter can be operated from the Indian Aircraft carriers. Moreover, both the Rafale and F-18 have showcased the simulated capability of their fighter aircraft to take-off and land from the INS Vikramaditya.
In the recent defense developments, the Indian Navy has shifted more towards American-built assets. The long-range surveillance aircraft consists of a fleet of 12 P-8I aircraft. Six more of these are scheduled to arrive in the future. In addition, the Sea King multirole helicopters will also be replaced by 24 MH-60 Romeos under a government-to-government deal.
United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary Mark Esper on Tuesday held talks with their counterparts EAM S Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh. Both sides signed the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA). BECA will allow India to access precision data, topographical images, maps, nautical and aeronautical data, and other classified satellite data on a real-time basis from USA military satellites which will aid in providing better accuracy of stand-off weapons like cruise, ballistic missiles, and drones.