Boeing delivers F/A-18 combat jet with HAL gun bay door

July 27th, 2010 - 2:01 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, July 27 (IANS) Boeing has delivered to the US Navy the first F/A-18 Super Hornet combat jet featuring a gun bay door manufactured by Bangalore-based Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).

“The gun bay door contract is the first military contract between Boeing and HAL. It is a direct result of Boeing’s industrial participation commitment to India, which includes creating jobs with indigenous companies,” a company statement said.

Boeing and HAL are also working together on projects for the P-8I multi-mission maritime aircraft for the Indian Navy and for the commercial Boeing 777 airplane.

The gun bay door covers the F/A-18’s six-barrel 20 mm, externally powered M61A2 Gatling gun system that can fire 4,000-6,000 rounds per minute. Made by US military systems giant General Dynamics, the gun, however, carries only about 600 rounds.

The gun can be used in a dogfight if it erupts, although the aircraft is loaded with long-range precision strike weapons and missiles as the emphasis now is on beyond visual range (BVR) engagement.

HAL has already sent five sets of the gun bay doors to Boeing and 13 more are under manufacture as part of an initial contract. HAL is also hoping for a repeat order.

So far, Boeing has been sourcing gun bay doors from the Czech Republic’s AERO Vodochody, which has already supplied more than 300.

While the F/A-18 is one of the jets in contention for an Indian Air Force order for 126 medium multi-role combat aircraft, Vivek Lall, vice president and country head for Boeing Defense, Space and Security (Boeing DSS), says the gun bay door contract was not tied to this but was part of a Boeing initiative to source $1 one billion worth of parts and services from HAL.

As part of this, Boeing is also sourcing wire harnesses for the F/A-18 from HAL.

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