India should use amphibious seaplanes: Experts

Even as the security agencies in the country, including the armed forces, are going through regular modernisation processes to embrace new, more efficient technologies, experts in Bangalore opined that India may suffer a great loss by ignoring the amphibious seaplanes.

Experts from the National Design and Research Forum (NDRF) that is engaged in research work pertaining to aerospace for years now, believe that seaplanes can be of great help in naval operations, especially to the coastal police and Coast Guard.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, K Ramachandra of NDRF, who is also the CEO of the National Programme for MAVs (NP-MICAV) funded by the Centre, said: “We have had several serious discussions about this and are now in the process of taking up the matter with the Ports Authority, among other concerned agencies, to see if it can be implemented. We are also planning to have a workshop on the issue in January-February, 2013.” He said amphibious planes will come in handy for the Coast Guard and other authorities in naval operations in a way that conventional planes cannot.

“If there is a problem about 100-km into the sea, the existing planes can’t land there, which results in delaying of operations and the movement of water-borne vessels also takes time. But seaplanes can land anywhere in water making them the most suitable vehicles for such operations,” he said.

Conceding that there could be challenges in terms of setting up the required infrastructure and, consequently, economic challenges, he said there must be, at least, a serious discussion on the issue before the seaplanes are rejected.

Besides aiding the security agencies, the amphibious seaplanes can also boost tourism. NDRF experts said it was surprising that India, with such a long coastline, has never thought of this before.

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