Defence Min approves $1.5 bn aircraft deal for Navy

The nine MRMR planes will be in addition to the 12 American-origin P-8I long-range aircraft already being acquired by Navy at a USD 3.1 billion price tag.

Last Updated: Feb 27, 2012, 21:39 PM IST

New Delhi: To boost maritime surveillance capabilities of the Navy, the Defence Ministry has approved the proposal to procure nine medium range reconnaissance aircraft expected to cost over USD 1.5 billion.
The approval for procuring the advanced medium range maritime reconnaissance (MRMR) aircraft was granted by the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) on Friday, Ministry
officials said here today.

The nine MRMR planes will be in addition to the 12 American-origin P-8I long-range (LRMR) aircraft already being acquired by Navy at a USD 3.1 billion price tag.

Several global aviation majors including American Lockheed Martin, Swedish SAAB, French Dassault Aviation, Brazilian Embraer and European EADS are in contention for this big
contract.

With an operating range of over 350 nautical miles, the
MRMR planes will act as Navy`s eyes and ears over Indian
Ocean in the medium range.

While the P-8Is, with an operating range of around 1,200
nautical miles, will patrol the outermost layer of India`s
three-tier maritime surveillance grid, Israeli spy drones like
Heron and Searcher-II as well as Dorniers make up the inner
most layer.

PTI