Indian Navy Looks for Six MRMRs

Jan 12, 2009
Neelam Mathews/New Delhi mathews.neelam@gmail.com

India has issued a request for proposals (RFPs) for six so-called medium-range maritime reconnaissance (MRMR) aircraft. The move comes amid India's choice of Boeing's future P-8I multimission aircraft with four options to replace India's eight aging TU-142s on Jan 1.

The Indian Coast Guard also is looking for six MRMRs but without an Airborne Early Warning system.

Rivals for the Navy's RFP - for which bids have been already submitted - include a variant of Boeing's P-8I, and possibly the turboprop ATR-72MP, EADS C-295, Dassault's Falcon 900MPA and Embraer P-99A platforms. For the Coast Guard RFP, contenders could be the ATR-42MP, C-295 or CN-235MP.

The Navy's MRMR is supposed to replace the aging Islander fleet of 10 aircraft, which will be used for training and possibly shared with the Coast Guard. Two have already been gifted to Myanmar. The aircraft will have a range of over 500 nautical miles with an endurance of around 6 hours.

"The Navy is looking at Naval Staff Qualitative Requirements (NSQR) in the MRMR, rather than platforms," a senior Indian official here told Aerospace Daily.

In addition to eight Boeing P-8Is, the Navy will also be getting 11 new Dornier short-range aircraft. India has been focusing on the need for new and updated technology. The P-8I provides India with speed, reliability, persistence and room for growth to satisfy the country's requirements well into the future, Boeing claims. The aircraft features an open-system architecture, advanced sensor and display technologies, and a worldwide base of suppliers, parts and support equipment, a company statement says.

"The result of these efforts will bring the Indian navy advanced technology that is unmatched in maritime reconnaissance aircraft, and the reach and capability it needs to defend India's vast coastline and maritime waters," says Vivek Lall, Boeing IDS vice president and India country head.

P-8A Photo: Boeing

AVIATION WEEK Copyright 2008, The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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