Boeing is displaying a mock-up of a proposed conformal fuel tank fit (CFT) for its F/A-18E/F Super Hornet combat aircraft at the Langkawi International Maritime & Aerospace (LIMA) exhibition in Malaysia.
A US Navy F-model aircraft is on static display at the show with two above-wing CFT shapes installed. Boeing ground crew added the "strap-on" mock-ups following the aircraft's arrival from the USA. The same mock-ups were used on the Super Hornet that appeared on static display at the Aero India show in Bengaluru in February 2011.
The USN is currently considering the addition for its Super Hornets, and Boeing plans flight tests with a CFT-equipped Super Hornet "this summer".
The CFTs, which Boeing has pitched to potential buyers as part of its Super Hornet international roadmap, would allow the F/A-18E/F to carry more than 1,590kg (3,500lb) of additional fuel.
The Super Hornet is a contender in Kuala Lumpur's 18-unit multi-role combat aircraft (MRCA) competition. A formal request for proposals has yet to be issued for the requirement, but the Royal Malaysian Air Force will need to replace its 10 RAC MiG-29 fighters some time after 2015. Only eight of the Russian-supplied type are currently operational, according to one industry source.
The other MRCA contenders are the Dassault Rafale, Eurofighter Typhoon and Saab Gripen. All four contenders are on static display and also performing in the flying display at LIMA. Visiting Rafales are operated by the French air force, Typhoons by the UK Royal Air Force and Gripens by the Royal Thai Air Force.
Malaysia's combat aircraft inventory includes eight F/A-18Ds (three pictured below, on opening day of LIMA 2013), which Flightglobal's MiliCAS database records as having been delivered in 1997.