Super Hornet Demonstrates Ski Jump Launch

An F/A-18 Super Hornet successfully completes a ski jump launch demonstration for the first time on Aug. 13 at Naval Air Station Patuxent river, Md. ( U.S. Navy photo by Eric Hildebrandt)

PATUXENT RIVER, Md.—An F/A-18 Super Hornet recently completed a take-off from a ski jump ramp during a demonstration at Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River, Maryland.

The Indian Navy has expressed interest in potentially purchasing Super Hornets and the demonstration was completed to ensure the jets could launch from the Indians’ aircraft carriers, configured with Short Take-Off but Arrested Recovery (STOBAR), commonly referred to as a ski jump.

The extensive planning and day-to-day coordination between the F/A-18 & EA-18G Program Office International Business and Test and Evaluation (T&E) teams, Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23, and aircraft manufacturer, The Boeing Company, resulted in a series of test events late this summer demonstrating the capability in a variety of load configurations.

The program office T&E Lead, Jackie Dvorak, credited the Navy-Boeing collaboration and the expertise of the supporting test team for continually adjusting to make the demo successful.

“The India ski jump demonstration is exactly what we do in developmental flight test with mitigating risk through extensive and detailed test planning and safe execution,” she said.

The supporting team worked with Boeing’s simulation data and information gleaned from previous ski jumps conducted with the F/A-18 Hornet and F-35B Lightning II to develop an Interim Flight Test Clearance. They identified a suitable test jet and instrumented it to capture data in real-time and completed multiple test events.

The team also hosted Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for International Program Rear Adm. Frank Morley and representatives from the Indian Embassy, who watched a ski jump launch flight test in-person, toured the aircraft and were briefed on the potential sale of Super Hornets to the Indian Navy. India’s fighter jet procurement decision is anticipated as early as next year.

Written by Carrie Munn, F/A-18 and EA-18G Program Office Communications.