Navy to buy 6 Medium Range Maritime Reconnaissance aircraft

The Navy had first issued a global Request for Proposal (RFP) for procuring the MRMR aircraft in June 2008 before the 26/11 attacks on Mumbai but the deal was scrapped later by the Defence Ministry after the submission of bids by contenders in the race.

The aircraft to be procured will replace the ageing fleet of 12 Islander aircraft in service, Navy officials said here. The companies likely to receive the tender for the contract include American Boeing with P-8 (a derivative of P-8I), Russian Illyushin, French Dassault Falcon and EADS.

With an expected endurance of over six hours, these aircraft will carry out surveillance in areas up to 200 miles from the coast, they added.

Surveillance in areas beyond this distance will be carried out by the P-8I's, which are going to replace the Russian-origin Tupelov 142 aircraft.

The government has already signed a deal worth over USD 2.1 billion with the US to procure eight long-range maritime surveillance P-8I aircraft from Boeing.

The MRMR aircraft will be joining Dorniers and the Il-38s of the Navy and the Coast Guard to secure coastal areas. Navy will have 11 more Dorniers for the purpose.

Islander aircraft are also being used by the Navy currently but it plans to phase them out once new aircraft are inducted. In 2008, India had gifted two Islanders to Myanmar also.

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