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- By ragee1318, March 3, 2012
- By GRN Reddy, February 27, 2012
- By manoj mishra, January 11, 2012
- By Damien, January 5, 2012
- By Damien, January 4, 2012
Green signal for MRMR aircraft for the Indian Navy
The Indian defence ministry has sanctioned the proposal put forward by the Indian Navy, to purchase nine technologically advanced versions of the Medium Range Maritime Reconnaissance (MRMR) aircrafts.
The proposed deal is estimated to cost the defence ministry around INR 50 billion. The new additions will come in handy for the Indian Navy, which had finalized a similar deal for the even more expensive Long Range Maritime Reconnaissance (MRMR) aircrafts in 2009. The deal with the Boeing Defense, Space & Security for the purchase of eight Boeing P-8 Poseidon aircrafts was finalized in 2009. The deal is worth around INR 150 billion (USD 3.1 billion) and the delivery is expected to be complete by the year 2015. A follow up offer for another four P-8 aircrafts is likely to be made.
AK Antony, the defence minister of India, gave his approval for the MRMR deal last week through the Defence Acquisitions Council, which is chaired by him. A number of global aircraft and defence companies, including heavyweights like Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Saab AB, Dassault Aviation, Embraer SA, and the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS) are in contention for the huge contract.
MRMR aircrafts are similar to the LRMR in design, and have embedded radars, with the capacity to monitor airspace and marine surface for a distance of up to 600 kilometres (350 miles). They are armed with short to medium range missiles, and torpedoes, which can come in handy during various anti-warship and anti-submarine operations. The aircrafts will give the Indian Navy a huge boost in terms of marine patrolling capacity.
The Indian navy has divided the marine surveillance grid of India in to three regions. The P-8 Poseidons will be used for patrolling the outermost section. Dornier Flugzeugwerke aircrafts, along with the Israeli designed IAI Searcher and IAI Heron (Machatz-1) will patrol the innermost sector. The MRMR drones will fill the gap between the two.
Indian Navy has been boosting its surveillance and defence capacity in the last few years, triggered partially by the hijacking of several Indian ships by the pirates in Somalia and Malacca Strait. A number of deals have been made during the period, boosting the number of ships and other equipment which can be used for marine patrol. But constant surveillance can be a headache for the Navy, which has to guard the 3,370 mile long Indian coastline, from illegal poaching and smuggling. The Indian EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone) is estimated cover an area of 200,000 sq.kms.
The navy aims to buy naval aviation equipment worth $17 billion over the next few years. Contracts worth $5.6 billion has been signed and awarded already. There is another one and a half dozen projects, which are in various stages of finalizing. These contracts are estimated to cost the Navy around $3.6 billion.
The Navy is planning to operate the refurbished former Soviet aircraft carrier, INS Vikramaditya (Admiral Gorschkov) as early as this year end. Another Vikrant class aircraft carrier is under construction and is expected to enter the service soon. A defence deal for the purchase of 45 Mikoyan MiG-29K multirole fighter jets is almost finalized with Russia, and is estimated to be worth some $2 billion. The jets will operate from both the aircraft carriers.
The navy is also planning to replace the Sikorsky SH-3 Sea King helicopters, which were inducted in to the navy many decades ago. Authorities are planning to buy a total of 90 multirole helicopters, which can be used for both air warfare and rescue operations. Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation is the frontrunner to grab the deal with its S-70 Firehawk, but the NH90 military helicopter, which is designed by the NHIndustries (NHI), is expected to give them a run for their money.