P-8i: India’s Navy Picks Its Future High-End Maritime Patrol Aircraft






India’s fleet of Soviet-era maritime patrol aircraft has been upgraded, but it needs to be replaced. Indian naval responsibilities are growing, and the 2008 terrorist atrocities in Mumbai made it crystal-clear that control of their coasts was a necessity. Fortunately, they already had a competition underway. In December 2005, after an attempted buy of Lockheed Martin P-3s fell through, India’s navy had floated an RFP for at least 8 new sea control aircraft. Bids from a variety of contenders, including Lockheed Martin, were submitted in April 2007. Subsequent statements by India’s Admiral Prakash suggested that they could be looking for as many as 30 aircraft by 2020.
The plan had been for price negotiations to be completed in 2007, with first deliveries to commence within 48 months. India’s Ministry of Defence has extreme problems with announced schedules, but their existing fleet was wearing out, international requests for India’s maritime patrol help are rising, and Mumbai’s events provided an extra shove. By January 2009, India had picked its aircraft: the 737-derivative P-8i Neptune, a variant of the P-8A that’s readying for service as the P-3’s successor within the US Navy. DID discusses the geopolitical drivers, the current fleet, the known competitors, Boeing’s P-8i, and key contracts and events:

With Growing Naval Power Comes Growing Naval Responsibility


Successful procurement of modern maritime patrol aircraft would certainly expand India’s capabilities, as its naval responsibilities undergo rapid growth. To the west, India is also undertaking anti-piracy efforts on the East African coast, with a base in Madagascar and a recent military co-operation agreement with Mozambique that includes coastal patrol responsibilities.The competition and refurbishment efforts are being given greater impetus by international developments. In February 2006, IPT reported that warning bells have been sounded at an international summit over the mounting terrorist threats to sea lanes around Indonesia and the Straits of Malacca, which serves as a choke-point for a significant percentage of global shipping. At a subsequent high-level meeting in the United States that included Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan and others, Stratfor reported that India was asked to play a major policing role against sea-piracy in the region.

Additional patrols and interdiction within and beyond that area are undertaken by its 8 ultra-long-range TU-142 Bear aircraft and its remaining IL-38 May maritime surveillance aircraft, which have been upgraded to IL-38SD status. The IL-38SDs was expected to rise to 5 operational planes the by end of 2008, but the planes have been a flashpoint for controversy due to a May 14/07 report from India’s Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) which said that the first 2 are missing essential avionics and weapon systems that are “seriously limiting their operational capabilities.”The Indian Navy currently relies on its fleet of around 15 Dornier 228-101 aircraft and 12 Israeli Searcher Mark II and Heron unmanned aerial vehicles to monitor India’s 7,516 km long coastline, 1,197 islands and a 2.01 square km exclusive economic zone.
New resources are needed. At the low end, India is buying Dornier 228NGs. A mid-tier option is under consideration, but at the high end, India decided that the Boeing’s P-8i’s fast long-range cruise, and advanced ground and ocean monitoring systems, made it their best option for patrolling the Indian Ocean’s vast expanses.
India’s P-8is will be based from Naval Air Station Rajali, at Arakkonam in Tamil Nadu. It’s also the base for India’s current fleet of 8 Tu-142 ‘Bear’ aircraft, offering a long runway, and a southern location which increases the planes’ patrol coverage over the Indian Ocean.

P-8i: Program Timeline & Industrial Participants


In response, December 2005 featured an RFP that sought 8 aircraft, and threw the competition open. Bids were received from various candidates in April 2006, and initial schedules involved a signed contract by the end of 2007, and deliveries by the end of 2009. Of course, that didn’t happen. A July 2007 Defense News report said that an Indian procurement team would be sending preliminary evaluations to the Defence Ministry by September 2007, which would lead to a short list. A preliminary decision and price negotiations were scheduled to begin “within two years,” i.e. by mid-2009.In November 2005, India’s $133 million deal for 2 P-3C Orion maritime-optimized patrol and surveillance planes fell through on grounds of expense, support costs, and timing. Apparently, it would have taken 18-24 months for the US Navy to retrofit the aircraft to the Indian Navy’s specifications, once the lease had been finalized.
Experience has demonstrated that price negotiations with India’s MoD can take years themselves – or even sink deals entirely, vid. the various collapsed deals for second-hand Mirage 2000 fighter jets. In this case, however, the $2.1 billion deal for 8 jets was done by January 2009. By October 2010, India’s Navy was pushing to extend the buy, and enlarge its fleet of Boeing P-8 Poseidon aircraft to 12. Now, senior naval officials are openly talking about buying 24 jets.
First deliveries aren’t expected until 2013 at the earliest, and the jets are expected to enter service “before 2015.”
Confirmed weapons at this time include the Mk-54 lightweight torpedo, which can be enhanced with the HAAWC kit for high-altitude, GPS-guided drops. India has submitted a formal DSCA request for these torpedos. For longer-range surface atacks, AGM-84 Harpoon Block II missiles are carried on external pylons. These sub-sonic cruise missiles can hit ships or land targets, thanks to a combination of GPS guidance, and improved radar resolution that can cut through near-shore clutter. Boeing reportedly has a license to export the longer-range AGM-84K SLAM-ER, which adds longer range and better land attack features, but India’s hasn’t formally requested them. Some pictures, like the one in this section, even show P-8Is carrying smart bombs. The P-8 is designed to be even more capable than its P-3 predecessor on overland surveillance missions, and adding weapons like GPS-guided bombs would give India a new capability for long-range, long-endurance surveillance and strike.
The P-8A has its own industrial team, and most of them will also be involved in the P-8i project. A number of electronic and sensor systems will differ, however, due to a combination of Indian insistence on indigenous content, and American security concerns that forced the use of alternatives. Industrial partners in India, or specific to India’s version, reportedly include:
P-8i Industrial Partners
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Contracts and Key Events


Feb 13/12: Radars. Raytheon announces that it has delivered the 1st AN/APY-10 International radar to Boeing, for installation in the nose of India’s 1st P-8i. They also confirm that, per rumors reported on Feb 3/10:
“To meet unique requirements for the Indian navy, Raytheon has added an air-to-air mode, which provides the detection and tracking of airborne targets, allowing customers to detect threats in the air as well as at sea. In addition, an interleaved weather and surface search capability has been added to provide the cockpit with up-to-date weather avoidance information while performing surveillance missions.”
Dec 5/11: 24? Indian Navy Chief Admiral Nirmal Verma has told India Strategic magazine that the first 8 P-8is have been making satisfactory progress, that approval for the follow-on buy of 4 more is expected by the end of their fiscal year in March 2012, and that ultimately, India will want another 12 planes to bring their P-8i fleet to 24.
Dec 5/11: Bear’s back. Indian Tu-142ME maritime patrol aircraft, tail number 312, leaves Beriev Aircraft Company for its home base, following an overhaul and service life extension, and required flight testing. It’s 1 of 8 “Bear ASW” aircraft manufactured at Taganrog at the end of the 1980s for India, and Beriev still provides support and maintenance services through Rosoboronexport.
Beriev expects to continue the overhaul program until 2020, which implies that India’s TU-142s will serve for a while yet. JSC Beriev.
Sept 28/11: 1st flight. Initial flight for the P-8i, which takes off from Renton Field, WA and lands 2:31 later at Boeing Field in Seattle, WA. During the flight, Boeing test pilots performed airborne systems checks including engine accelerations and decelerations and autopilot flight modes, and took the P-8i to a maximum altitude of 41,000 feet. Boeing.
June 24/11: Weapons. The US DSCA announces [PDF] India’s request to buy 32 MK-54 All-Up-Round Lightweight Torpedoes, 3 recoverable exercise torpedoes, 1 training shape, plus containers, spare and repair parts, support and test equipment, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, transportation, and other forms of U.S. Government and contractor support. The estimated cost is $86 million, but actual costs will depend on a negotiated contract.
India intends to use the torpedoes on its forthcoming 8 P-8I Neptune maritime patrol aircraft, and the numbers involved mark this as an initial familiarity and training buy. Prime contractors are listed as “Boeing Company in St. Louis, Missouri, and a yet to be identified U.S. torpedo contractor.” Which is odd. Technically, Boeing is the P-8i lead integrator, but the Mk54 is a Raytheon design. On the other hand, Lockheed Martin offers the GPS-guided, high altitude launch HAAWC/Longshot, consisting of an adapter kit mounted on a Mk.54. If India wants HAAWCs, Lockheed Martin could be listed as the contractor.
There is a possible industrial offset agreement in connection with the proposed sale, and implementation will require an unfinalized number of U.S. Government and contractor representatives in-country visits on a temporary basis for technical reviews, support, and oversight.
April 13/11: Industrial. IANS reports that Boeing has submitted a $300-million plan for investment in the Indian defense industry, covering 30% of the $1 billion (Rs.4,500 crore) that another 4 P-8i aircraft would cost. Boeing Military Aircraft president Christopher M. Chadwick, mentioned the draft offsets proposal, and told IANS that:
“The P8I order, which we won a few years ago, is on track and we are delivering the first of the eight P8Is in January 2013. The customer has informally talked about the potential for four more P8Is. That will take it (the order) to 12 (aircraft). That programme is on track, on cost and on schedule…”
Feb 11/11: SLAM? A Defense News report quotes Boeing’s P-8i program manager Leland Wright, who confirmed that Boeing has a license to export the AGM-84K Standoff Land Attack Missile-Expanded Response (SLAM-ER) to India, but said that P-8is will initially carry 4 of the less capable Harpoon anti-ship missiles instead. On the other hand, the Harpoon is the standard anti-ship missile of the US Navy, and India’s Block II missiles will be more advanced than USN versions.
Feb 3/11: 12? Indian Navy PR officer Commander PVS Satish tells India’s Economic Times that the Navy has decided to exercise its option for 4 more P-8is, “in a bid to boost its maritime patrol capabilities as well as counter piracy threats and the growing Chinese influence in the Indian Ocean.” The deal is expected to range between $1 billion to $1.5 billion, but government approvals to negotiate don’t mean a contract just yet.
No confirming announcement yet at Aero India 2011. Boeing India VP Dr. Vivek Lall confirmed that the Indian government is “considering” the option, and said Boeing has submitted its draft industrial offset program to the Indian MoD. domain-B | India’s Economic Times |StrategyPage.
Jan 20/11: MAD. CAE in Montreal, QB, Canada announces a subcontract from Boeing to provide its AN/ASQ-508A Advanced Integrated Magnetic Anomaly Detection (MAD) System for India’s 8 P-8is. The value is cloaked by its presence within a scattershot set of announcementsworth a total of “more than $140 million.”
MAD systems work by identifying magnetic variations or anomalies caused by large metal objects, such as a submarine, in the Earth’s magnetic field. CAE’s MAD system is already in use by a number of countries and platforms: P-3 Orion derivatives flown by Brazil, Canada, and South Korea; Turkey’s CN-235MP and ATR-72 MPAs; Chile’s C-295 MPAs; and Japan’s locally-developed XP-1 maritime patrol aircraft.
Dec 23/10: IFF. Defence PSU Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) has delivered an Indian-designed Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) Interrogator to Boeing, for installation into India’s P-8i. Other Indian electronics eing provided for final integration include BEL’s Data Link II communications system, Avantel’s mobile satellite system, and the Electronic Corporation of India Ltd’s (ECIL) speech secrecy system. IANS via Thaindian | The Hindu.

Dec 21/10: Weapons. The US DSCA announces [PDF] India’s formal request for up to 21 AGM-84L Harpoon Block II Missiles, 5 ATM-84L Block II Training Missiles, Captive Air Training Missiles, containers, spare and repair parts, support and test equipment, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, and related U.S. Government and contractor support. The estimated cost is up to $200 million, and this request is very explicit about their use:
“India intends to use the missiles on its Indian Navy P-8I Neptune maritime patrol aircraft which will provide enhanced capabilities in effective defense of critical sea lines of communication. India has already purchased HARPOON Block II missiles for integration on the Indian Air Force Jaguar aircraft and will have no difficulty absorbing these weapons into its armed forces.”
Note that the P-8i is known as the Poseidon in the USA – “Neptune” was the Roman name for the same Greek deity. The prime contractors will be The Boeing Company in St. Louis, MO, and Delex Systems Incorporated in Vienna, VA. Implementation of this proposed sale will require annual trips to India involving U.S. Government and contractor representatives for technical reviews, support, and oversight on for approximately 5 years. Details of a potential industrial offset agreement in connection with the proposed sale were not known when the DSCA made the announcement. See also Tehelka.
Nov 22/10: Radars. Griffon Corp. subsidiary Telephonics Corporation announces a contract from Boeing to supply its AN/APS-143Cv3 OceanEye Multi-Mode Radar as the P-8i’s aft radar. The contract includes systems for 8 installations, plus integration and support services. Cost is not disclosed. The Feb 3/10 report regarding an aft radar from Raytheon, instead of the eventual winner Telephonics, means the OceanEye was probably picked over Raytheon’sAN/APS-143 SeaVue.
The AN/APS-143Cv3 OceanEye [PDF] currently serves on the US Coast Guard’s HC-144A Maritime Patrol Aircraft and HU-25D Falcon Jet, as well as “most international S-70 Naval Hawk helicopters and certain NH-90 [DID: Swedish NH90-NFH], Super Lynx and other Maritime Helicopters.” It’s an advanced mechanically scanned array that’s lightweight, low power, and has a long lineage to draw on, including the related AN/APS-147 radar used on the US Navy’s new MH-60R helicopter. Maximum range is 200 nm against larger targets, with the standard clutter rejection features and a default set of Search, Weather, Beacon, and Small Target Detect modes. Options include land-looking ISAR and Stripmap SAR modes, Range profiling, and an integrated Identification Friend or Foe interrogator.
On the flip side, the radar is still missing SAR/GMTI (Ground Moving Target Indicator) and AIS (Automated Identification System) modes. Its electronics are also a technology step behind AESA competitors like Selex Galileo’s Seaspreay series, which equips the USCG’s HC-130Hs, Britain’s forthcoming AW159 Wildcat helicopters, and some CN-235 and ATR-72 MPA aircraft.
Oct 4/10: Fleet plans, gaps. India’s navy wants to grow its P-8i fleet to 12 planes, by exercising a $1 billion option for 4 more. Indian sources are telling the media that the prices and offset agreements would be the same as the original $2.1 billion contract for 8 aircraft. The decision follows a recent visit by Indian defense minister Antony and Chief Admiral Nirmal Verma. The proposal will now be sent to India’s Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) for approval, and other steps also remain on the to do list. The Times of India:
“P-8Is are being customised to Indian naval requirements, with communication, electronic warfare and other systems being sourced from India. For instance, defence PSU Bharat Electronics is delivering Data Link-II, a communication system to enable rapid exchange of information among Indian warships, submarines aircraft and shore establishments, for the P-8Is to Boeing. There is, however, the question of India having not yet inked the Communication Interoperability and Security Memorandum Agreement (CISMOA) being pushed by the US as ‘’a sensitive technology-enabler’’ for P-8I and other arms procurements.”
See: India Defence | Times of India | Zee News | China’s Xinhua.
July 20/10: A new F/A-18E is delivered as the 1st US Navy Super Hornet featuring a gun bay door manufactured by India-based Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). The gun bay door contract is the first military contract between Boeing and HAL, and stems from Boeing’s industrial participation commitment to India for the P-8i contract. Boeing.
Sept 17/10: Industrial. Dow Jones reports that Mahindra & Mahindra subsidiary Mahindra Aerospace Pvt. Ltd. has signed a deal to buy aircraft parts-making machinery from Boeing’s plant in Melbourne, Australia, for expected delivery by the end of 2010. The company hopes it will improve the quality of aircraft parts it produces, and boost orders placed under offset clauses. In addition to the P-8i deal, for instance, there have also been offset clauses in government airline orders, creating a lucrative (if rentier) market.
The Mahindra Group has become active in the aerospace sector, and reportedly plans to invest about $55 illion (INR 2.5 billion) in its aerospace business over the next few years. In 2009, they bought 75.1% stakes Australia’s Gippsland Aeronautics and Aerostaff Australia for almost $38 million. Mahindra Systech President Hemant Luthra waqs coy about this deal’s value, saying only that it’s ”...a slightly complex deal and I wouldn’t want to get into a specific value.”
Sept 8/10: Industrial. India’s Economic Times reports that Maini Global Aerospace (MGA) has bagged an outsourcing contract worth up to $10 million to make structural components for the extended range fuel cells of the Boeing P-8A Poseidon multi-mission maritime (MMR) aircraft. These components would be common to the P-8A and P-8i.
July 18/10: Radars. Raytheon announces a contract from Boeing to develop an international version of the AN/APY-10 surveillance radar for India’s P-8i. It’s a private arrangement, and Raytheon’s director of strategy and business development, Neil K Peterson, tells DNA India that details of the contract are still being worked out. He adds that “The radar we will be giving to the Indian Navy’s planes will have more features than those with The US Navy.”
This is the first sale of the APY-10 beyond the USA. The challenge is to provide excellent performance, without including some of the American radar’s protected features. Raytheon describes the APY-10 as a “long-range, multimission, maritime and overland surveillance radar.” So far, Raytheon is under contract with Boeing to provide 6 AN/APY-10 systems and spares for the US Navy’s P-8A program, and has delivered 4. The firm says that it remains on or ahead of the production schedule. Raytheon | DNA India.
July 16/10: Final Design Review. Boeing successfully completes the P-8i’s 5-day final design review with the Indian Navy in Renton, WA, USA. That locks in the design for the aircraft, radar, communications, navigation, mission computing, acoustics and sensors, as well as the ground and test support equipment. It also paves the way for the program to begin assembling the first P-8I aircraft, which will include Indian-built sub-systems. Boeing P-8i program manager Leland Wight says that Boeing is on track to start building the P-8I’s empennage section before the end of 2010. Boeing.
March 2/10: Avionics. BAE Systems announces that it will provide India’s P-8i with mission computer systems, and says it will begin deliveries to Boeing in 2011. BAE provides the same computers for the P-8A.
Feb 3/10: Radars. Flight International reports that Boeing plans to put an additional Raytheon radar on the aft section of India’s P-8is, and is exploring an air-to-air mode for the APY-10. India wanted air-to-air capability and a 360 degree radar, and the AN/APY-10 provides only 240 degree coverage from the P-8’s nose section.

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Oct 2/09: Industrial. domain-b reports that Boeing has signed P-8i related agreements with several Indian public sector defense firms, as part of the P-8i’s offset commitments. See also Feb 2/09 entry. Boeing India chief Vivek Lall:
“We have signed agreements with Indian companies such as Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL), Electronic Corporation of India Ltd (ECIL) and Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL).... They will be supplying indigenous equipment and spares such as transponders and other electronic equipment for the aircraft.”
Aug 8/09: The Times of India reports that:
“The last hurdle for the execution of the biggest-ever defence deal with US, the $2.1 billion contract for eight Boeing P-8I long-range maritime reconnaissance (LRMR) aircraft, has now been cleared.”
That hurdle is the technical assistance agreement (TAA) for the P-8i contract, which follows on the heels of a contentious July 2009 agreement with the USA defining End-Use Monitoring Agreements. With these agreements in place, all aspects of the P-8i contract are now set. See also: Express Buzz | Sindh Today | UPI Asia.
April 20/09: Basing. IANS reports that India’s P-8is will be based from Naval Air Station Rajali at Arakkonam (in Tamil Nadu), which is also the base for India’s current fleet of 8 Tu-142 ‘Bear’ aircraft. This location is preferred for its long runway, and for its southern location, which increases the planes’ patrol coverage over the Indian Ocean.
March 12/09: DCS sale. In a notice to the US Congress, the State Department has said that it will license the direct commercial sale of P-8i aircraft to India, having factored in “political, military, economic, human rights and arms control considerations.” India’s domain-b.
While a direct commercial sale faces far fewer hurdles than a Foreign Military Sale, there are still some legal hurdles and agreements that must be present before the aircraft are delivered to the customer.
Feb 11/09: Reports surface that standard American provisions around “End Use Monitoring”, and information sharing restrictions that accompany American defense exports, are beginning to become a problem for the P-8i sale.
Feb 2/09: Industrial. The Wall Street Journal’s LiveMint reports that Boeing will buy aerospace structures and aviation electronics products worth at least INR 29.41 billion (about $600 million) from Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL), Dynamatic Technologies Ltd, HCL Technologies Ltd, Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), Larsen and Toubro Ltd (L&T), Wipro Ltd, and simulator-maker CAE’s subsidiary Macmet Technologies Ltd.
Wipro, HCL, L&T and HAL declined to comment, but a Dynamatics executive confirmed that their firm had been chosen. A BEL executive said the firm had entered into an agreement with Boeing for communication equipment, radars, electronic warfare systems and contract manufacturing, but a contract was yet to be signed. Swati Rangachari, a spokeswoman for Boeing in India:
“Our team is working on the offset strategy and will be in touch with industry partners in a while…. We will concentrate in the areas of avionics (aviation electronics) and aerostructures.”
Meanwhile, Flight International takes a deeper look at India’s nascent private aerospace industry, and its challenges, in “Can India’s aerospace manufacturers step up?
India Flag
Jan 5/09: Winner! The Indian government announces that it has signed a $2.1 billion deal with Boeing for 8 maritime patrol aircraft in “P-8i” configuration. The $2.1 billion figure is the commonly reported total at the moment; DID cautions readers that exact dollar figures for Indian contracts often take some time to clarify. The contract reportedly includes lifetime maintenance support, and an option for another 8 aircraft. Indian Navy spokesman Commander Nirad Sinha:
“Though we have signed a deal, final clearance is still required from a U.S. authority…. The first plane delivery is four years from the final contract signing, so I think it should come in 2013.”
Boeing’s release commits to delivering the 8th aircraft by 2015. See: Boeing | India Defence |CNN Money.
Dec 29/08: The P-8I deal for India appears to be moving closer. India Defence reports that “virtually all the steps” required for the contract to be signed, including tabling of it in the Cabinet Committee on Security for approval, are complete. Reports place the deal at Rs 8,500 crore (about $1.7 billion) for 8 jets, with first delivery coming within 4 years and all deliveries by 2015. India currently flies 8 Tu-142s. India Defence | StrategyPage.
Aug 10/08: Sindh Today reports that India ’s contract negotiating committee has completed its report on price negotiations with Boeing, after the P-8I won the technical bid and the trials of the product. Negotiations were reportedly stuck due to the end-user agreement, under which Boeing can conduct physical inspections of the aircraft as and when it wants to check if the product is being used for the purpose it has been acquired. This is linked to requirements under American ITAR laws, which regulate sales of military equipment whether they are conducted as FMS or direct commercial sales. India’s defence ministry reportedly separated that set of negotiations from the deal itself, knowing that a signed deal will be significantly harder to cancel, on either side.
The contract will reportedly be a direct commercial agreement between the Boeing company and the Indian Navy, rather than an announced Foreign Military Sale. The cost is reportedly around around $2.2 billion, and that deal will now go to the defence acquisition committee (DAC) and then to the cabinet committee on security (CCS) for approval.
Aug 9/08: During a lecture in New Delhi, Indian Naval Chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta reportedly vowed that:
“By 2022, we plan to have 160-plus ship navy, including three aircraft carriers, 60 major combatants including submarines and close to 400 aircraft of different types. This will be a formidable three dimensional force with satellite surveillance and networking to provide force multiplication”
“India is set to sign a $2.2 billion deal, its biggest with the US, for eight long-range maritime reconnaissance (LRMR) aircraft, even as the Indian Navy chief opposed ‘’intrusiveness’’ in the use of military hardware the country purchases.
Negotiations for the purchase of the Boeing-P8I LRMR aircraft are in the final stages and are likely to be wrapped up during Indian Navy chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta’s visit to the US that began Sunday [DID: That did not happen]. The agreement for the purchase under the US Foreign Military Sales (FMS) route will be signed between the two governments in New Delhi later this year, official sources said.”
A319 Indian Airlines
A319, Indian Air
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Sept 7/07: India’s IANS wire service reports that the Indian Navy has completed evaluations of maritime patrol aircraft (MRA) on schedule, including a 4-member navy team led by a one-star officer who observed MRA derivative trials and simulations in July 2007 for the Airbus A319 in Spain and Boeing’s P-8A Poseidon MMA in the US.WebIndia story.
They also offer a list of bids submitted: Boeing, EADS Airbus, IAI/Elta, Lockheed Martin, and Rosoboronexport; plus this interesting tidbit:
“But official sources said since the navy was more interested in the longer range MRAs still under development, it was “seriously considering” acquiring two or three of the existing shorter range aircraft as an interim measure to plug a vital operational void in patrolling India’s vast coastline.
July 3/07: Defense News reports that Indian officials will be studying Boeing and Airbus aircraft in France, Germany, Spain and the United States as they prepare for a decision re: their maritime patrol aircraft competition. Defense News.
Don’t get too excited about outcomes, though; India’s procurement system has already solicited bids, and will be sending preliminary evaluations go to the Defence Ministry by September 2007, which will lead to a short list of bidders. A preliminary decision and price negotiations will begin “within two years.” Past experience has demonstrated that such price negotiations can take years themselves – or even sink deals entirely.
May 14/07: Ill 38s? India’s Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) warned in a report that the first 2 of 5 upgraded IL-38SDs remain without essential avionics and weapon systems that are “seriously limiting their [the Il-38SD’s] operational capabilities.” The problem? As usual… “unrealistic assumption” about the capability of timely indigenous development of certain avionics systems, and lead-time for import of necessary weapon systems. India Defence |Times of India
April 20/06: Lockheed’s deal reportedly includes a combination offer: 8 upgraded US Navy P-3C aircraft for $550-700 million; and 16 multi-mission MH-60R helicopters from Sikorsky costing $350-400 million.
April 15/06: Bids in. The Times of India reports that all bids are in:
“Thursday was the last day for the aviation majors to submit their proposals. We hope to fast-track the process and sign the contract by early-2007 after technical and commercial negotiations. Deliveries of the selected aircraft would begin 48 months after that,” said a senior Navy officer.”
April 13/06: Team Boeing announces its proposal to develop and deliver 8 P-8I Multi-mission Maritime Aircraft variants, touting its commonality and supportability benefits. The Boeing team includes CFM, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and Smiths Aerospace, and their proposal includes the development of a unique Indian navy P-8 configuration, significant participation for Indian industry, test and certification activities, and 8 aircraft delivered over a 4-year period. See release – and note that Boeing just pledged to invest $1.5 billion in India’s aerospace industry, as part of a $6 billion deal with Air India.
Feb 14/06: Flight International reported that India’s navy has set a March 2007 deadline to receive bids for 16-24 more anti-submarine warfare helicopters; but the manufacturers that were handed the tender (AgustaWestland, Eurocopter, Kamov and Sikorsky) asked for an extension.
That program ended up taking far longer than the maritime patrol aircraft competition, but some MPA bidders looked to bundle the 2 together in a single solution. India eventually bought the P-8is as a “clean” acquisition.
December 2005: RFP. The Indian Navy issues its maritime patrol aircraft RFP.

The Competitors

According to Indian media reports, India’s 8-10 TU-142 Bear aircraft are being retired, after negotiations with Russia and Israel to retrofit them were called off. Invited bidders (and their relevant offerings) reportedly included:
  • BAE (Nimrod)
  • Boeing (P-8A MMA)
  • IAI/Elta (Dassault Falcon 900 MPA)
  • Lockheed Martin (P-3C Orion)
  • Northrop-Grumman (Global Hawk, presumably)
  • EADS (CN-235MP, AT3 Atlantique, ATR-72MP, modified A319)
  • Rosoboronexport (IL-38 “May” and TU-142 “Bear”, both currently in service)
P-8A MMA and cutaway
P-8A MMA
(click for labeled cutaway)
India has shown interest in the Boeing 737-derived P-8A MMA. This P-3 Orion’s successor will feature long range, very advanced radars that will also be useful for ground surveillance and may have air-to-air uses; advanced electro-optics for day/night viewing, and an array of weapons and sensors that will include Harpoon anti-ship and land-attack missiles, torpedoes, sonobuoys, etc. All in a package that’s broadly compatible with existing global 737 commercial fleets.
The P-8A is not expected to be available before 2013-2014. Nevertheless, The Times of India’s sources in the Indian Navy believed that the P-8A would match the combined operational profile presently being executed by its existing fleet of Ilyushin Il-38 Mays and TU-142 Bears. Given the limited remaining lifetime of even the refurbished IL-38SDs, a long-term, long-range solution was attractive.
From the beginning, India has treated its potential involvement in the Boeing P-8 MMA program as a test of Washington’s long-term military and strategic commitment. Significant distrust remains in the wake of the USA’s 1988 embargo of military exports to India and Pakistan following underground nuclear tests – an embargo that was only lifted fully in September of 2004. While its timeline may pose problems, just having the P-8A offered and cleared for export has been the one of the biggest benefits India received from this RFP.T the Pentagon has also pledged to make additional technical military capabilities available to New Delhi as they enter US service.
In the end, Team Boeing submitted its proposal to develop and deliver 8 P-8I Multi-mission Maritime Aircraft variants, touting its commonality and supportability benefits (q.v. April 13/07 timeline entry). The proposal included the development of a unique Indian navy P-8 configuration, significant participation for Indian industry, test and certification activities, and 8 aircraft delivered over a 4-year period. Thanks to its combination of compatibility, range, technology, and the stability and future development guaranteed by US Navy orders, Boeing’s P-8i won.
TU-142M
TU-142M “Bear”
The TU-142 Bear is the current incumbent. It was originally built as the TU-95 heavy bomber in the pre-jet era, before going on to a very long and successful career as the Eastern Bloc’s most important and longest ranging maritime surveillance and attack aircraft. A TU-142 can fly from Mumbai (Bombay) to Johannesburg, South Africa and back – without refueling. Bharat-Rakshak reports that 8-10 Bears remain in service with the Indian Naval Air Arm. Supplied to India in 1987-1988, all of them have been refurbished at least once.
Bharat-Rakshak notes that proposals had been floated to Russian and Israeli firms to significantly upgrade the TU-142 with the Leninets Sea Dragon common patrol suite, as well as other electronic enhancements useful for surveillance and even electronic warfare. Proposed Sea Dragon upgrades were rejected on cost and performance grounds, which led to discussions concerning an Israeli IAI Elta surveillance and communications package based around theAN/M-2202A radar used in Spain’s P-3C upgrades. These upgrades may even have been installed on at least one aircraft.



Russia’s smaller IL-38 had 2 big advantages. One was its recent refurbishment, and use by the navy. The other was the likely timeline for long-range replacement aircraft from Boeing or Airbus. Russia’s IL-38 May is about the same vintage as the P-3C Orion. Only 3 aircraft remain in Indian service from the original set of 5, after 2 of the aircraft were lost in an airshow collision. Unlike the TU-142s, however, the status of their upgrades is clear. India Defence reports that the first of 3 improved Il-38SD maritime anti-submarine warfare (ASW) aircraft has been delivered to the Indian Navy following Russian upgrades that cost about $35 million per plane. Another 4 similarly upgraded IL-38SDs were scheduled for delivery to the Indian Navy by early in 2007, bringing the fleet to 7 – but the upgrades themselves have had problems due to poor delivery from DRDO.
The IL-38 upgrade includes the Leninets Morskoy Zmei (Sea Dragon) digital common patrol suite, which is designed to detect and intercept surface vessels and submarines as well as detect mines and carry out surveillance. Like the Israeli M-2202A, the suite can also detect airborne targets, and it can be linked to the Russian Glonass GPS satellite navigation system. India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation has supplied the new IL-38SD’s electronic intelligence system, electronic countermeasures station system, digital firing decoys and radio communication system. India also plans to mount the medium-range PJ-10 BrahMossupersonic cruise missile on this aircraft in the near future.
The age of refurbished airframes had to be a concern for a long-term buy like India’s LRMR competition, but IL-38SD may have become an “interim buy” option, if India’s preferred choice was delayed or unavailable for other reasons. Russia reportedly submitted proposals based on its TU-142 and IL-38, but they were not compelling enough. India’s existing fleets will retire, without new additions or refits.

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Even though India’s MPA competition began with the cancellation of aP-3C Orion order, Lockheed Martin could not be counted out. Their bid reportedly included a combination offer: 8 upgraded US Navy P-3C aircraft for $550-700 million; and 16 multi-mission MH-60R helicopters from Sikorsky costing $350-400 million.
The P-3 platform is in service with 15 nations, and Lockheed-Martin still hoped to reach 16 by adding India. A February 2006 Press Trust of India report quoted Lockheed VP Richard Kirkland as saying their bid will offer “P-3C Orions which have completely been refurbished with new wing-spans and tails to serve almost a life time of 20 years… We are offering the Navy the choice of sensors and equipment to be placed onboard and the configuration it wants either for long-range maritime reconnaissance or anti-submarine mode.”
The previous P-3C contract had been canceled due to long delivery times, but Lockheed has been taking steps to shorten that process. It opened a plant to manufacture new wings for old P-3C aircraft, as a way of keeping fleets flying in their 15 customer nations. The refurbished aircraft are already being delivered to the US Navy and to international customers, along with new composite-wing spans and tails.
Kirkland believed that shorter delivery time would be an advantage for Lockheed this time around, and September 2007 reports added that the lead time for a long-range P-8A or Airbus 319 solution had led to a second look at the P-3C as an interim option. In the end, that option faded, and the P-3C/MH-60R offer did not win the competition.

In the end, however, EADS’ primary offering was “none of the above.” A July 2007 Defense News report suggested that rather than using any of these proven designs, EADS wa leveraging equipment from those efforts to propose a maritime patrol variant of the Airbus A319 passenger jet for this competition. The design was not expected to become operational before 2014, however, which means that EADS’ shorter-range options could have become relevant again if India’s Navy sought an interim buy as part of a package deal, or wanted to complement its forces with medium range aircraft from the same source.EADS’ maritime patrol offerings include EADS-CASA’s CN-235MP Persuader in service with a number of countries, and the twin-turboprop AT3 Atlantique offered as part of the SECBAT consortium (EADS, Dassault Aviation of France, Alenia of Italy, and SABCA-SONACA of Belgium). While these are capable aircraft, their range and payload limitations may make them a dubious contender to replace the TU-142. Further up the range scale, maritime variants of their ATR 42 and ATR 72 short-haul passenger turboprops are produced for some customers, and EADS also refurbishes and maintains Spanish P-3C Orion aircraft.
Airbus and Boeing both made substantial investments in India, and both looked into partnering with Indian companies to jointly develop communications, data-link and identification friend-or-foe (IFF) equipment as part of their bids. An Indian order would launch the A319 MPA as a serious international contender, and help underwrite the cost of developing the aircraft at a time when projects like the A350 and A400M are squeezing Airbus’ cash and financing capacity. Unfortunately for Airbus, what it saw as opportunity, India saw as risk. The A319 was considered very seriously, but it did not win.



There were reports in April 2005 that India might be interested in a modified MPA based on Dassault’s high-end Falcon 900 business jet. Though the platform was absent from most subsequent coverage, the reports turned out to be true.
In September 2007, IANS reported that Israel Aerospace Industriesand its subsidiary Elta Systems had submitted a proposal based on this jet, leveraging Elta systems extensive experience with naval radars and other surveillance systems, and IAI’s experience converting business jets into surveillance platforms. The tri-engine Falcon 900 may be a business jet, but it’s known as a VIP class offering with a lot of space and a long 4,100-4,500 nautical mile (7,600-8,330 km) unrefueled range.
The Falcon 900 is many things, but ‘cheap’ is not one of them. Bid prices could easily approach those of larger aircraft like the refurbished P-3Cs, which complicated IAI’s odds of being selected as an interim solution. On the other hand, Israel has deep relationships of its own in India, and IAI’s Heron and Searcher II UAVs could allow IAI to offer an integrated manned/ unmanned surveillance system that costs far less than higher-end options like the P-8A/BAMS, and offers proven aircraft/UAV integration that can be added to larger aircraft like the A319 or P-8A later on.
The biggest advantage of a solution based on a business jet would be operating costs. The biggest disadvantage is lack of space, which means fewer sensor and weapon options. In this case, the fact that India would be the team’s first customer also added substantial risk to the choice. India did not need an interim option, and saw Boeing’s P-8i as a more attractive option.

Listed, But Not Submitted

Some manufacturers were included in the tender, but did not submit a bid.

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BAE Systems’ modernized Nimrod MRA4 program received consideration from the USA as a replacement option for its P-3C Orions, but pressures for standardization with the global civil air fleet and a desire for a “made in America” solution pushed them to adopt the 737-based P-8A instead. A British program was begun in 1996 to rebuild their existing Nimrod Mk2 fleet to the MRA4 standard with new wings, engines, internal systems, and mission systems. Unfortunately, that program faced a series of budget cuts, stalls, and conditions before getting a go-ahead for 12 aircraft in July 2006.
The entire program was questioned in Britain’s 2010 strategic review, and the program was ultimately scrapped with 1 aircraft fully ready and 4 of the remaining 8 being 90% ready. But knowing that would require clairvoyance, and refurbishing very old airframes, all of which are essentially custom built, was always a dubious option for India. In the end, the Nimrod was not even bid.
Northrop-Grumman, which has held discussions with India around its E-2D Hawkeye 2000 carrier-capable AWACS aircraft, is also listed as one of the solicited companies by the India Defence report. The only asset they have which would fit the maritime surveillance category, however, is the RQ-4 Global Hawk High-Altitude, Long Endurance (HALE) UAV. The Global Hawk is slated for a Maritime Surveillance role with the USA and Australia; indeed, a “Pacific pool” approach similar to the NATO E-3 AWACS model, and involving The USA, Australia, Japan, Singapore, and Thailand, has been proposed.
It certainly has the range. A demonstration flight using a smaller RQ-4A Global Hawk took off from Adelaide, Australia and spent loiter time over Japan and Singapore before returning to Adelaide. While the Global Hawk lacks the payload capacity for sonobuoys, missiles, etc. possessed by all other contenders, the prospect of joining other friendly countries and sharing in the resulting intelligence data from all over the Pacific might still be very interesting. If pursued in combination with the P-8is, it would give India a combination similar to the US Navy’s P-8A/ RQ-4N BAMS. If pursued alone, it would sharply blunt India’s long-range offensive capabilities once the TU-142s were retired; but if this was seen as a bridge until the P-8A’s arrival, the intelligence benefits could make the proposal very attractive. Nevertheless, media reports did not list Northrop Grumman among the RFP respondents.

source:DID


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  1. Woow... The best article so far I have come across.. Good job.

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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

P-8i: India’s Navy Picks Its Future High-End Maritime Patrol Aircraft





India’s fleet of Soviet-era maritime patrol aircraft has been upgraded, but it needs to be replaced. Indian naval responsibilities are growing, and the 2008 terrorist atrocities in Mumbai made it crystal-clear that control of their coasts was a necessity. Fortunately, they already had a competition underway. In December 2005, after an attempted buy of Lockheed Martin P-3s fell through, India’s navy had floated an RFP for at least 8 new sea control aircraft. Bids from a variety of contenders, including Lockheed Martin, were submitted in April 2007. Subsequent statements by India’s Admiral Prakash suggested that they could be looking for as many as 30 aircraft by 2020.
The plan had been for price negotiations to be completed in 2007, with first deliveries to commence within 48 months. India’s Ministry of Defence has extreme problems with announced schedules, but their existing fleet was wearing out, international requests for India’s maritime patrol help are rising, and Mumbai’s events provided an extra shove. By January 2009, India had picked its aircraft: the 737-derivative P-8i Neptune, a variant of the P-8A that’s readying for service as the P-3’s successor within the US Navy. DID discusses the geopolitical drivers, the current fleet, the known competitors, Boeing’s P-8i, and key contracts and events:

With Growing Naval Power Comes Growing Naval Responsibility


Successful procurement of modern maritime patrol aircraft would certainly expand India’s capabilities, as its naval responsibilities undergo rapid growth. To the west, India is also undertaking anti-piracy efforts on the East African coast, with a base in Madagascar and a recent military co-operation agreement with Mozambique that includes coastal patrol responsibilities.The competition and refurbishment efforts are being given greater impetus by international developments. In February 2006, IPT reported that warning bells have been sounded at an international summit over the mounting terrorist threats to sea lanes around Indonesia and the Straits of Malacca, which serves as a choke-point for a significant percentage of global shipping. At a subsequent high-level meeting in the United States that included Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan and others, Stratfor reported that India was asked to play a major policing role against sea-piracy in the region.

Additional patrols and interdiction within and beyond that area are undertaken by its 8 ultra-long-range TU-142 Bear aircraft and its remaining IL-38 May maritime surveillance aircraft, which have been upgraded to IL-38SD status. The IL-38SDs was expected to rise to 5 operational planes the by end of 2008, but the planes have been a flashpoint for controversy due to a May 14/07 report from India’s Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) which said that the first 2 are missing essential avionics and weapon systems that are “seriously limiting their operational capabilities.”The Indian Navy currently relies on its fleet of around 15 Dornier 228-101 aircraft and 12 Israeli Searcher Mark II and Heron unmanned aerial vehicles to monitor India’s 7,516 km long coastline, 1,197 islands and a 2.01 square km exclusive economic zone.
New resources are needed. At the low end, India is buying Dornier 228NGs. A mid-tier option is under consideration, but at the high end, India decided that the Boeing’s P-8i’s fast long-range cruise, and advanced ground and ocean monitoring systems, made it their best option for patrolling the Indian Ocean’s vast expanses.
India’s P-8is will be based from Naval Air Station Rajali, at Arakkonam in Tamil Nadu. It’s also the base for India’s current fleet of 8 Tu-142 ‘Bear’ aircraft, offering a long runway, and a southern location which increases the planes’ patrol coverage over the Indian Ocean.

P-8i: Program Timeline & Industrial Participants


In response, December 2005 featured an RFP that sought 8 aircraft, and threw the competition open. Bids were received from various candidates in April 2006, and initial schedules involved a signed contract by the end of 2007, and deliveries by the end of 2009. Of course, that didn’t happen. A July 2007 Defense News report said that an Indian procurement team would be sending preliminary evaluations to the Defence Ministry by September 2007, which would lead to a short list. A preliminary decision and price negotiations were scheduled to begin “within two years,” i.e. by mid-2009.In November 2005, India’s $133 million deal for 2 P-3C Orion maritime-optimized patrol and surveillance planes fell through on grounds of expense, support costs, and timing. Apparently, it would have taken 18-24 months for the US Navy to retrofit the aircraft to the Indian Navy’s specifications, once the lease had been finalized.
Experience has demonstrated that price negotiations with India’s MoD can take years themselves – or even sink deals entirely, vid. the various collapsed deals for second-hand Mirage 2000 fighter jets. In this case, however, the $2.1 billion deal for 8 jets was done by January 2009. By October 2010, India’s Navy was pushing to extend the buy, and enlarge its fleet of Boeing P-8 Poseidon aircraft to 12. Now, senior naval officials are openly talking about buying 24 jets.
First deliveries aren’t expected until 2013 at the earliest, and the jets are expected to enter service “before 2015.”
Confirmed weapons at this time include the Mk-54 lightweight torpedo, which can be enhanced with the HAAWC kit for high-altitude, GPS-guided drops. India has submitted a formal DSCA request for these torpedos. For longer-range surface atacks, AGM-84 Harpoon Block II missiles are carried on external pylons. These sub-sonic cruise missiles can hit ships or land targets, thanks to a combination of GPS guidance, and improved radar resolution that can cut through near-shore clutter. Boeing reportedly has a license to export the longer-range AGM-84K SLAM-ER, which adds longer range and better land attack features, but India’s hasn’t formally requested them. Some pictures, like the one in this section, even show P-8Is carrying smart bombs. The P-8 is designed to be even more capable than its P-3 predecessor on overland surveillance missions, and adding weapons like GPS-guided bombs would give India a new capability for long-range, long-endurance surveillance and strike.
The P-8A has its own industrial team, and most of them will also be involved in the P-8i project. A number of electronic and sensor systems will differ, however, due to a combination of Indian insistence on indigenous content, and American security concerns that forced the use of alternatives. Industrial partners in India, or specific to India’s version, reportedly include:
P-8i Industrial Partners
(click to view full)

Contracts and Key Events


Feb 13/12: Radars. Raytheon announces that it has delivered the 1st AN/APY-10 International radar to Boeing, for installation in the nose of India’s 1st P-8i. They also confirm that, per rumors reported on Feb 3/10:
“To meet unique requirements for the Indian navy, Raytheon has added an air-to-air mode, which provides the detection and tracking of airborne targets, allowing customers to detect threats in the air as well as at sea. In addition, an interleaved weather and surface search capability has been added to provide the cockpit with up-to-date weather avoidance information while performing surveillance missions.”
Dec 5/11: 24? Indian Navy Chief Admiral Nirmal Verma has told India Strategic magazine that the first 8 P-8is have been making satisfactory progress, that approval for the follow-on buy of 4 more is expected by the end of their fiscal year in March 2012, and that ultimately, India will want another 12 planes to bring their P-8i fleet to 24.
Dec 5/11: Bear’s back. Indian Tu-142ME maritime patrol aircraft, tail number 312, leaves Beriev Aircraft Company for its home base, following an overhaul and service life extension, and required flight testing. It’s 1 of 8 “Bear ASW” aircraft manufactured at Taganrog at the end of the 1980s for India, and Beriev still provides support and maintenance services through Rosoboronexport.
Beriev expects to continue the overhaul program until 2020, which implies that India’s TU-142s will serve for a while yet. JSC Beriev.
Sept 28/11: 1st flight. Initial flight for the P-8i, which takes off from Renton Field, WA and lands 2:31 later at Boeing Field in Seattle, WA. During the flight, Boeing test pilots performed airborne systems checks including engine accelerations and decelerations and autopilot flight modes, and took the P-8i to a maximum altitude of 41,000 feet. Boeing.
June 24/11: Weapons. The US DSCA announces [PDF] India’s request to buy 32 MK-54 All-Up-Round Lightweight Torpedoes, 3 recoverable exercise torpedoes, 1 training shape, plus containers, spare and repair parts, support and test equipment, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, transportation, and other forms of U.S. Government and contractor support. The estimated cost is $86 million, but actual costs will depend on a negotiated contract.
India intends to use the torpedoes on its forthcoming 8 P-8I Neptune maritime patrol aircraft, and the numbers involved mark this as an initial familiarity and training buy. Prime contractors are listed as “Boeing Company in St. Louis, Missouri, and a yet to be identified U.S. torpedo contractor.” Which is odd. Technically, Boeing is the P-8i lead integrator, but the Mk54 is a Raytheon design. On the other hand, Lockheed Martin offers the GPS-guided, high altitude launch HAAWC/Longshot, consisting of an adapter kit mounted on a Mk.54. If India wants HAAWCs, Lockheed Martin could be listed as the contractor.
There is a possible industrial offset agreement in connection with the proposed sale, and implementation will require an unfinalized number of U.S. Government and contractor representatives in-country visits on a temporary basis for technical reviews, support, and oversight.
April 13/11: Industrial. IANS reports that Boeing has submitted a $300-million plan for investment in the Indian defense industry, covering 30% of the $1 billion (Rs.4,500 crore) that another 4 P-8i aircraft would cost. Boeing Military Aircraft president Christopher M. Chadwick, mentioned the draft offsets proposal, and told IANS that:
“The P8I order, which we won a few years ago, is on track and we are delivering the first of the eight P8Is in January 2013. The customer has informally talked about the potential for four more P8Is. That will take it (the order) to 12 (aircraft). That programme is on track, on cost and on schedule…”
Feb 11/11: SLAM? A Defense News report quotes Boeing’s P-8i program manager Leland Wright, who confirmed that Boeing has a license to export the AGM-84K Standoff Land Attack Missile-Expanded Response (SLAM-ER) to India, but said that P-8is will initially carry 4 of the less capable Harpoon anti-ship missiles instead. On the other hand, the Harpoon is the standard anti-ship missile of the US Navy, and India’s Block II missiles will be more advanced than USN versions.
Feb 3/11: 12? Indian Navy PR officer Commander PVS Satish tells India’s Economic Times that the Navy has decided to exercise its option for 4 more P-8is, “in a bid to boost its maritime patrol capabilities as well as counter piracy threats and the growing Chinese influence in the Indian Ocean.” The deal is expected to range between $1 billion to $1.5 billion, but government approvals to negotiate don’t mean a contract just yet.
No confirming announcement yet at Aero India 2011. Boeing India VP Dr. Vivek Lall confirmed that the Indian government is “considering” the option, and said Boeing has submitted its draft industrial offset program to the Indian MoD. domain-B | India’s Economic Times |StrategyPage.
Jan 20/11: MAD. CAE in Montreal, QB, Canada announces a subcontract from Boeing to provide its AN/ASQ-508A Advanced Integrated Magnetic Anomaly Detection (MAD) System for India’s 8 P-8is. The value is cloaked by its presence within a scattershot set of announcementsworth a total of “more than $140 million.”
MAD systems work by identifying magnetic variations or anomalies caused by large metal objects, such as a submarine, in the Earth’s magnetic field. CAE’s MAD system is already in use by a number of countries and platforms: P-3 Orion derivatives flown by Brazil, Canada, and South Korea; Turkey’s CN-235MP and ATR-72 MPAs; Chile’s C-295 MPAs; and Japan’s locally-developed XP-1 maritime patrol aircraft.
Dec 23/10: IFF. Defence PSU Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) has delivered an Indian-designed Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) Interrogator to Boeing, for installation into India’s P-8i. Other Indian electronics eing provided for final integration include BEL’s Data Link II communications system, Avantel’s mobile satellite system, and the Electronic Corporation of India Ltd’s (ECIL) speech secrecy system. IANS via Thaindian | The Hindu.

Dec 21/10: Weapons. The US DSCA announces [PDF] India’s formal request for up to 21 AGM-84L Harpoon Block II Missiles, 5 ATM-84L Block II Training Missiles, Captive Air Training Missiles, containers, spare and repair parts, support and test equipment, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, and related U.S. Government and contractor support. The estimated cost is up to $200 million, and this request is very explicit about their use:
“India intends to use the missiles on its Indian Navy P-8I Neptune maritime patrol aircraft which will provide enhanced capabilities in effective defense of critical sea lines of communication. India has already purchased HARPOON Block II missiles for integration on the Indian Air Force Jaguar aircraft and will have no difficulty absorbing these weapons into its armed forces.”
Note that the P-8i is known as the Poseidon in the USA – “Neptune” was the Roman name for the same Greek deity. The prime contractors will be The Boeing Company in St. Louis, MO, and Delex Systems Incorporated in Vienna, VA. Implementation of this proposed sale will require annual trips to India involving U.S. Government and contractor representatives for technical reviews, support, and oversight on for approximately 5 years. Details of a potential industrial offset agreement in connection with the proposed sale were not known when the DSCA made the announcement. See also Tehelka.
Nov 22/10: Radars. Griffon Corp. subsidiary Telephonics Corporation announces a contract from Boeing to supply its AN/APS-143Cv3 OceanEye Multi-Mode Radar as the P-8i’s aft radar. The contract includes systems for 8 installations, plus integration and support services. Cost is not disclosed. The Feb 3/10 report regarding an aft radar from Raytheon, instead of the eventual winner Telephonics, means the OceanEye was probably picked over Raytheon’sAN/APS-143 SeaVue.
The AN/APS-143Cv3 OceanEye [PDF] currently serves on the US Coast Guard’s HC-144A Maritime Patrol Aircraft and HU-25D Falcon Jet, as well as “most international S-70 Naval Hawk helicopters and certain NH-90 [DID: Swedish NH90-NFH], Super Lynx and other Maritime Helicopters.” It’s an advanced mechanically scanned array that’s lightweight, low power, and has a long lineage to draw on, including the related AN/APS-147 radar used on the US Navy’s new MH-60R helicopter. Maximum range is 200 nm against larger targets, with the standard clutter rejection features and a default set of Search, Weather, Beacon, and Small Target Detect modes. Options include land-looking ISAR and Stripmap SAR modes, Range profiling, and an integrated Identification Friend or Foe interrogator.
On the flip side, the radar is still missing SAR/GMTI (Ground Moving Target Indicator) and AIS (Automated Identification System) modes. Its electronics are also a technology step behind AESA competitors like Selex Galileo’s Seaspreay series, which equips the USCG’s HC-130Hs, Britain’s forthcoming AW159 Wildcat helicopters, and some CN-235 and ATR-72 MPA aircraft.
Oct 4/10: Fleet plans, gaps. India’s navy wants to grow its P-8i fleet to 12 planes, by exercising a $1 billion option for 4 more. Indian sources are telling the media that the prices and offset agreements would be the same as the original $2.1 billion contract for 8 aircraft. The decision follows a recent visit by Indian defense minister Antony and Chief Admiral Nirmal Verma. The proposal will now be sent to India’s Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) for approval, and other steps also remain on the to do list. The Times of India:
“P-8Is are being customised to Indian naval requirements, with communication, electronic warfare and other systems being sourced from India. For instance, defence PSU Bharat Electronics is delivering Data Link-II, a communication system to enable rapid exchange of information among Indian warships, submarines aircraft and shore establishments, for the P-8Is to Boeing. There is, however, the question of India having not yet inked the Communication Interoperability and Security Memorandum Agreement (CISMOA) being pushed by the US as ‘’a sensitive technology-enabler’’ for P-8I and other arms procurements.”
See: India Defence | Times of India | Zee News | China’s Xinhua.
July 20/10: A new F/A-18E is delivered as the 1st US Navy Super Hornet featuring a gun bay door manufactured by India-based Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). The gun bay door contract is the first military contract between Boeing and HAL, and stems from Boeing’s industrial participation commitment to India for the P-8i contract. Boeing.
Sept 17/10: Industrial. Dow Jones reports that Mahindra & Mahindra subsidiary Mahindra Aerospace Pvt. Ltd. has signed a deal to buy aircraft parts-making machinery from Boeing’s plant in Melbourne, Australia, for expected delivery by the end of 2010. The company hopes it will improve the quality of aircraft parts it produces, and boost orders placed under offset clauses. In addition to the P-8i deal, for instance, there have also been offset clauses in government airline orders, creating a lucrative (if rentier) market.
The Mahindra Group has become active in the aerospace sector, and reportedly plans to invest about $55 illion (INR 2.5 billion) in its aerospace business over the next few years. In 2009, they bought 75.1% stakes Australia’s Gippsland Aeronautics and Aerostaff Australia for almost $38 million. Mahindra Systech President Hemant Luthra waqs coy about this deal’s value, saying only that it’s ”...a slightly complex deal and I wouldn’t want to get into a specific value.”
Sept 8/10: Industrial. India’s Economic Times reports that Maini Global Aerospace (MGA) has bagged an outsourcing contract worth up to $10 million to make structural components for the extended range fuel cells of the Boeing P-8A Poseidon multi-mission maritime (MMR) aircraft. These components would be common to the P-8A and P-8i.
July 18/10: Radars. Raytheon announces a contract from Boeing to develop an international version of the AN/APY-10 surveillance radar for India’s P-8i. It’s a private arrangement, and Raytheon’s director of strategy and business development, Neil K Peterson, tells DNA India that details of the contract are still being worked out. He adds that “The radar we will be giving to the Indian Navy’s planes will have more features than those with The US Navy.”
This is the first sale of the APY-10 beyond the USA. The challenge is to provide excellent performance, without including some of the American radar’s protected features. Raytheon describes the APY-10 as a “long-range, multimission, maritime and overland surveillance radar.” So far, Raytheon is under contract with Boeing to provide 6 AN/APY-10 systems and spares for the US Navy’s P-8A program, and has delivered 4. The firm says that it remains on or ahead of the production schedule. Raytheon | DNA India.
July 16/10: Final Design Review. Boeing successfully completes the P-8i’s 5-day final design review with the Indian Navy in Renton, WA, USA. That locks in the design for the aircraft, radar, communications, navigation, mission computing, acoustics and sensors, as well as the ground and test support equipment. It also paves the way for the program to begin assembling the first P-8I aircraft, which will include Indian-built sub-systems. Boeing P-8i program manager Leland Wight says that Boeing is on track to start building the P-8I’s empennage section before the end of 2010. Boeing.
March 2/10: Avionics. BAE Systems announces that it will provide India’s P-8i with mission computer systems, and says it will begin deliveries to Boeing in 2011. BAE provides the same computers for the P-8A.
Feb 3/10: Radars. Flight International reports that Boeing plans to put an additional Raytheon radar on the aft section of India’s P-8is, and is exploring an air-to-air mode for the APY-10. India wanted air-to-air capability and a 360 degree radar, and the AN/APY-10 provides only 240 degree coverage from the P-8’s nose section.

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Oct 2/09: Industrial. domain-b reports that Boeing has signed P-8i related agreements with several Indian public sector defense firms, as part of the P-8i’s offset commitments. See also Feb 2/09 entry. Boeing India chief Vivek Lall:
“We have signed agreements with Indian companies such as Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL), Electronic Corporation of India Ltd (ECIL) and Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL).... They will be supplying indigenous equipment and spares such as transponders and other electronic equipment for the aircraft.”
Aug 8/09: The Times of India reports that:
“The last hurdle for the execution of the biggest-ever defence deal with US, the $2.1 billion contract for eight Boeing P-8I long-range maritime reconnaissance (LRMR) aircraft, has now been cleared.”
That hurdle is the technical assistance agreement (TAA) for the P-8i contract, which follows on the heels of a contentious July 2009 agreement with the USA defining End-Use Monitoring Agreements. With these agreements in place, all aspects of the P-8i contract are now set. See also: Express Buzz | Sindh Today | UPI Asia.
April 20/09: Basing. IANS reports that India’s P-8is will be based from Naval Air Station Rajali at Arakkonam (in Tamil Nadu), which is also the base for India’s current fleet of 8 Tu-142 ‘Bear’ aircraft. This location is preferred for its long runway, and for its southern location, which increases the planes’ patrol coverage over the Indian Ocean.
March 12/09: DCS sale. In a notice to the US Congress, the State Department has said that it will license the direct commercial sale of P-8i aircraft to India, having factored in “political, military, economic, human rights and arms control considerations.” India’s domain-b.
While a direct commercial sale faces far fewer hurdles than a Foreign Military Sale, there are still some legal hurdles and agreements that must be present before the aircraft are delivered to the customer.
Feb 11/09: Reports surface that standard American provisions around “End Use Monitoring”, and information sharing restrictions that accompany American defense exports, are beginning to become a problem for the P-8i sale.
Feb 2/09: Industrial. The Wall Street Journal’s LiveMint reports that Boeing will buy aerospace structures and aviation electronics products worth at least INR 29.41 billion (about $600 million) from Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL), Dynamatic Technologies Ltd, HCL Technologies Ltd, Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), Larsen and Toubro Ltd (L&T), Wipro Ltd, and simulator-maker CAE’s subsidiary Macmet Technologies Ltd.
Wipro, HCL, L&T and HAL declined to comment, but a Dynamatics executive confirmed that their firm had been chosen. A BEL executive said the firm had entered into an agreement with Boeing for communication equipment, radars, electronic warfare systems and contract manufacturing, but a contract was yet to be signed. Swati Rangachari, a spokeswoman for Boeing in India:
“Our team is working on the offset strategy and will be in touch with industry partners in a while…. We will concentrate in the areas of avionics (aviation electronics) and aerostructures.”
Meanwhile, Flight International takes a deeper look at India’s nascent private aerospace industry, and its challenges, in “Can India’s aerospace manufacturers step up?
India Flag
Jan 5/09: Winner! The Indian government announces that it has signed a $2.1 billion deal with Boeing for 8 maritime patrol aircraft in “P-8i” configuration. The $2.1 billion figure is the commonly reported total at the moment; DID cautions readers that exact dollar figures for Indian contracts often take some time to clarify. The contract reportedly includes lifetime maintenance support, and an option for another 8 aircraft. Indian Navy spokesman Commander Nirad Sinha:
“Though we have signed a deal, final clearance is still required from a U.S. authority…. The first plane delivery is four years from the final contract signing, so I think it should come in 2013.”
Boeing’s release commits to delivering the 8th aircraft by 2015. See: Boeing | India Defence |CNN Money.
Dec 29/08: The P-8I deal for India appears to be moving closer. India Defence reports that “virtually all the steps” required for the contract to be signed, including tabling of it in the Cabinet Committee on Security for approval, are complete. Reports place the deal at Rs 8,500 crore (about $1.7 billion) for 8 jets, with first delivery coming within 4 years and all deliveries by 2015. India currently flies 8 Tu-142s. India Defence | StrategyPage.
Aug 10/08: Sindh Today reports that India ’s contract negotiating committee has completed its report on price negotiations with Boeing, after the P-8I won the technical bid and the trials of the product. Negotiations were reportedly stuck due to the end-user agreement, under which Boeing can conduct physical inspections of the aircraft as and when it wants to check if the product is being used for the purpose it has been acquired. This is linked to requirements under American ITAR laws, which regulate sales of military equipment whether they are conducted as FMS or direct commercial sales. India’s defence ministry reportedly separated that set of negotiations from the deal itself, knowing that a signed deal will be significantly harder to cancel, on either side.
The contract will reportedly be a direct commercial agreement between the Boeing company and the Indian Navy, rather than an announced Foreign Military Sale. The cost is reportedly around around $2.2 billion, and that deal will now go to the defence acquisition committee (DAC) and then to the cabinet committee on security (CCS) for approval.
Aug 9/08: During a lecture in New Delhi, Indian Naval Chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta reportedly vowed that:
“By 2022, we plan to have 160-plus ship navy, including three aircraft carriers, 60 major combatants including submarines and close to 400 aircraft of different types. This will be a formidable three dimensional force with satellite surveillance and networking to provide force multiplication”
“India is set to sign a $2.2 billion deal, its biggest with the US, for eight long-range maritime reconnaissance (LRMR) aircraft, even as the Indian Navy chief opposed ‘’intrusiveness’’ in the use of military hardware the country purchases.
Negotiations for the purchase of the Boeing-P8I LRMR aircraft are in the final stages and are likely to be wrapped up during Indian Navy chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta’s visit to the US that began Sunday [DID: That did not happen]. The agreement for the purchase under the US Foreign Military Sales (FMS) route will be signed between the two governments in New Delhi later this year, official sources said.”
A319 Indian Airlines
A319, Indian Air
(click to view full)
Sept 7/07: India’s IANS wire service reports that the Indian Navy has completed evaluations of maritime patrol aircraft (MRA) on schedule, including a 4-member navy team led by a one-star officer who observed MRA derivative trials and simulations in July 2007 for the Airbus A319 in Spain and Boeing’s P-8A Poseidon MMA in the US.WebIndia story.
They also offer a list of bids submitted: Boeing, EADS Airbus, IAI/Elta, Lockheed Martin, and Rosoboronexport; plus this interesting tidbit:
“But official sources said since the navy was more interested in the longer range MRAs still under development, it was “seriously considering” acquiring two or three of the existing shorter range aircraft as an interim measure to plug a vital operational void in patrolling India’s vast coastline.
July 3/07: Defense News reports that Indian officials will be studying Boeing and Airbus aircraft in France, Germany, Spain and the United States as they prepare for a decision re: their maritime patrol aircraft competition. Defense News.
Don’t get too excited about outcomes, though; India’s procurement system has already solicited bids, and will be sending preliminary evaluations go to the Defence Ministry by September 2007, which will lead to a short list of bidders. A preliminary decision and price negotiations will begin “within two years.” Past experience has demonstrated that such price negotiations can take years themselves – or even sink deals entirely.
May 14/07: Ill 38s? India’s Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) warned in a report that the first 2 of 5 upgraded IL-38SDs remain without essential avionics and weapon systems that are “seriously limiting their [the Il-38SD’s] operational capabilities.” The problem? As usual… “unrealistic assumption” about the capability of timely indigenous development of certain avionics systems, and lead-time for import of necessary weapon systems. India Defence |Times of India
April 20/06: Lockheed’s deal reportedly includes a combination offer: 8 upgraded US Navy P-3C aircraft for $550-700 million; and 16 multi-mission MH-60R helicopters from Sikorsky costing $350-400 million.
April 15/06: Bids in. The Times of India reports that all bids are in:
“Thursday was the last day for the aviation majors to submit their proposals. We hope to fast-track the process and sign the contract by early-2007 after technical and commercial negotiations. Deliveries of the selected aircraft would begin 48 months after that,” said a senior Navy officer.”
April 13/06: Team Boeing announces its proposal to develop and deliver 8 P-8I Multi-mission Maritime Aircraft variants, touting its commonality and supportability benefits. The Boeing team includes CFM, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and Smiths Aerospace, and their proposal includes the development of a unique Indian navy P-8 configuration, significant participation for Indian industry, test and certification activities, and 8 aircraft delivered over a 4-year period. See release – and note that Boeing just pledged to invest $1.5 billion in India’s aerospace industry, as part of a $6 billion deal with Air India.
Feb 14/06: Flight International reported that India’s navy has set a March 2007 deadline to receive bids for 16-24 more anti-submarine warfare helicopters; but the manufacturers that were handed the tender (AgustaWestland, Eurocopter, Kamov and Sikorsky) asked for an extension.
That program ended up taking far longer than the maritime patrol aircraft competition, but some MPA bidders looked to bundle the 2 together in a single solution. India eventually bought the P-8is as a “clean” acquisition.
December 2005: RFP. The Indian Navy issues its maritime patrol aircraft RFP.

The Competitors

According to Indian media reports, India’s 8-10 TU-142 Bear aircraft are being retired, after negotiations with Russia and Israel to retrofit them were called off. Invited bidders (and their relevant offerings) reportedly included:
  • BAE (Nimrod)
  • Boeing (P-8A MMA)
  • IAI/Elta (Dassault Falcon 900 MPA)
  • Lockheed Martin (P-3C Orion)
  • Northrop-Grumman (Global Hawk, presumably)
  • EADS (CN-235MP, AT3 Atlantique, ATR-72MP, modified A319)
  • Rosoboronexport (IL-38 “May” and TU-142 “Bear”, both currently in service)
P-8A MMA and cutaway
P-8A MMA
(click for labeled cutaway)
India has shown interest in the Boeing 737-derived P-8A MMA. This P-3 Orion’s successor will feature long range, very advanced radars that will also be useful for ground surveillance and may have air-to-air uses; advanced electro-optics for day/night viewing, and an array of weapons and sensors that will include Harpoon anti-ship and land-attack missiles, torpedoes, sonobuoys, etc. All in a package that’s broadly compatible with existing global 737 commercial fleets.
The P-8A is not expected to be available before 2013-2014. Nevertheless, The Times of India’s sources in the Indian Navy believed that the P-8A would match the combined operational profile presently being executed by its existing fleet of Ilyushin Il-38 Mays and TU-142 Bears. Given the limited remaining lifetime of even the refurbished IL-38SDs, a long-term, long-range solution was attractive.
From the beginning, India has treated its potential involvement in the Boeing P-8 MMA program as a test of Washington’s long-term military and strategic commitment. Significant distrust remains in the wake of the USA’s 1988 embargo of military exports to India and Pakistan following underground nuclear tests – an embargo that was only lifted fully in September of 2004. While its timeline may pose problems, just having the P-8A offered and cleared for export has been the one of the biggest benefits India received from this RFP.T the Pentagon has also pledged to make additional technical military capabilities available to New Delhi as they enter US service.
In the end, Team Boeing submitted its proposal to develop and deliver 8 P-8I Multi-mission Maritime Aircraft variants, touting its commonality and supportability benefits (q.v. April 13/07 timeline entry). The proposal included the development of a unique Indian navy P-8 configuration, significant participation for Indian industry, test and certification activities, and 8 aircraft delivered over a 4-year period. Thanks to its combination of compatibility, range, technology, and the stability and future development guaranteed by US Navy orders, Boeing’s P-8i won.
TU-142M
TU-142M “Bear”
The TU-142 Bear is the current incumbent. It was originally built as the TU-95 heavy bomber in the pre-jet era, before going on to a very long and successful career as the Eastern Bloc’s most important and longest ranging maritime surveillance and attack aircraft. A TU-142 can fly from Mumbai (Bombay) to Johannesburg, South Africa and back – without refueling. Bharat-Rakshak reports that 8-10 Bears remain in service with the Indian Naval Air Arm. Supplied to India in 1987-1988, all of them have been refurbished at least once.
Bharat-Rakshak notes that proposals had been floated to Russian and Israeli firms to significantly upgrade the TU-142 with the Leninets Sea Dragon common patrol suite, as well as other electronic enhancements useful for surveillance and even electronic warfare. Proposed Sea Dragon upgrades were rejected on cost and performance grounds, which led to discussions concerning an Israeli IAI Elta surveillance and communications package based around theAN/M-2202A radar used in Spain’s P-3C upgrades. These upgrades may even have been installed on at least one aircraft.



Russia’s smaller IL-38 had 2 big advantages. One was its recent refurbishment, and use by the navy. The other was the likely timeline for long-range replacement aircraft from Boeing or Airbus. Russia’s IL-38 May is about the same vintage as the P-3C Orion. Only 3 aircraft remain in Indian service from the original set of 5, after 2 of the aircraft were lost in an airshow collision. Unlike the TU-142s, however, the status of their upgrades is clear. India Defence reports that the first of 3 improved Il-38SD maritime anti-submarine warfare (ASW) aircraft has been delivered to the Indian Navy following Russian upgrades that cost about $35 million per plane. Another 4 similarly upgraded IL-38SDs were scheduled for delivery to the Indian Navy by early in 2007, bringing the fleet to 7 – but the upgrades themselves have had problems due to poor delivery from DRDO.
The IL-38 upgrade includes the Leninets Morskoy Zmei (Sea Dragon) digital common patrol suite, which is designed to detect and intercept surface vessels and submarines as well as detect mines and carry out surveillance. Like the Israeli M-2202A, the suite can also detect airborne targets, and it can be linked to the Russian Glonass GPS satellite navigation system. India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation has supplied the new IL-38SD’s electronic intelligence system, electronic countermeasures station system, digital firing decoys and radio communication system. India also plans to mount the medium-range PJ-10 BrahMossupersonic cruise missile on this aircraft in the near future.
The age of refurbished airframes had to be a concern for a long-term buy like India’s LRMR competition, but IL-38SD may have become an “interim buy” option, if India’s preferred choice was delayed or unavailable for other reasons. Russia reportedly submitted proposals based on its TU-142 and IL-38, but they were not compelling enough. India’s existing fleets will retire, without new additions or refits.

)
Even though India’s MPA competition began with the cancellation of aP-3C Orion order, Lockheed Martin could not be counted out. Their bid reportedly included a combination offer: 8 upgraded US Navy P-3C aircraft for $550-700 million; and 16 multi-mission MH-60R helicopters from Sikorsky costing $350-400 million.
The P-3 platform is in service with 15 nations, and Lockheed-Martin still hoped to reach 16 by adding India. A February 2006 Press Trust of India report quoted Lockheed VP Richard Kirkland as saying their bid will offer “P-3C Orions which have completely been refurbished with new wing-spans and tails to serve almost a life time of 20 years… We are offering the Navy the choice of sensors and equipment to be placed onboard and the configuration it wants either for long-range maritime reconnaissance or anti-submarine mode.”
The previous P-3C contract had been canceled due to long delivery times, but Lockheed has been taking steps to shorten that process. It opened a plant to manufacture new wings for old P-3C aircraft, as a way of keeping fleets flying in their 15 customer nations. The refurbished aircraft are already being delivered to the US Navy and to international customers, along with new composite-wing spans and tails.
Kirkland believed that shorter delivery time would be an advantage for Lockheed this time around, and September 2007 reports added that the lead time for a long-range P-8A or Airbus 319 solution had led to a second look at the P-3C as an interim option. In the end, that option faded, and the P-3C/MH-60R offer did not win the competition.

In the end, however, EADS’ primary offering was “none of the above.” A July 2007 Defense News report suggested that rather than using any of these proven designs, EADS wa leveraging equipment from those efforts to propose a maritime patrol variant of the Airbus A319 passenger jet for this competition. The design was not expected to become operational before 2014, however, which means that EADS’ shorter-range options could have become relevant again if India’s Navy sought an interim buy as part of a package deal, or wanted to complement its forces with medium range aircraft from the same source.EADS’ maritime patrol offerings include EADS-CASA’s CN-235MP Persuader in service with a number of countries, and the twin-turboprop AT3 Atlantique offered as part of the SECBAT consortium (EADS, Dassault Aviation of France, Alenia of Italy, and SABCA-SONACA of Belgium). While these are capable aircraft, their range and payload limitations may make them a dubious contender to replace the TU-142. Further up the range scale, maritime variants of their ATR 42 and ATR 72 short-haul passenger turboprops are produced for some customers, and EADS also refurbishes and maintains Spanish P-3C Orion aircraft.
Airbus and Boeing both made substantial investments in India, and both looked into partnering with Indian companies to jointly develop communications, data-link and identification friend-or-foe (IFF) equipment as part of their bids. An Indian order would launch the A319 MPA as a serious international contender, and help underwrite the cost of developing the aircraft at a time when projects like the A350 and A400M are squeezing Airbus’ cash and financing capacity. Unfortunately for Airbus, what it saw as opportunity, India saw as risk. The A319 was considered very seriously, but it did not win.



There were reports in April 2005 that India might be interested in a modified MPA based on Dassault’s high-end Falcon 900 business jet. Though the platform was absent from most subsequent coverage, the reports turned out to be true.
In September 2007, IANS reported that Israel Aerospace Industriesand its subsidiary Elta Systems had submitted a proposal based on this jet, leveraging Elta systems extensive experience with naval radars and other surveillance systems, and IAI’s experience converting business jets into surveillance platforms. The tri-engine Falcon 900 may be a business jet, but it’s known as a VIP class offering with a lot of space and a long 4,100-4,500 nautical mile (7,600-8,330 km) unrefueled range.
The Falcon 900 is many things, but ‘cheap’ is not one of them. Bid prices could easily approach those of larger aircraft like the refurbished P-3Cs, which complicated IAI’s odds of being selected as an interim solution. On the other hand, Israel has deep relationships of its own in India, and IAI’s Heron and Searcher II UAVs could allow IAI to offer an integrated manned/ unmanned surveillance system that costs far less than higher-end options like the P-8A/BAMS, and offers proven aircraft/UAV integration that can be added to larger aircraft like the A319 or P-8A later on.
The biggest advantage of a solution based on a business jet would be operating costs. The biggest disadvantage is lack of space, which means fewer sensor and weapon options. In this case, the fact that India would be the team’s first customer also added substantial risk to the choice. India did not need an interim option, and saw Boeing’s P-8i as a more attractive option.

Listed, But Not Submitted

Some manufacturers were included in the tender, but did not submit a bid.

)
BAE Systems’ modernized Nimrod MRA4 program received consideration from the USA as a replacement option for its P-3C Orions, but pressures for standardization with the global civil air fleet and a desire for a “made in America” solution pushed them to adopt the 737-based P-8A instead. A British program was begun in 1996 to rebuild their existing Nimrod Mk2 fleet to the MRA4 standard with new wings, engines, internal systems, and mission systems. Unfortunately, that program faced a series of budget cuts, stalls, and conditions before getting a go-ahead for 12 aircraft in July 2006.
The entire program was questioned in Britain’s 2010 strategic review, and the program was ultimately scrapped with 1 aircraft fully ready and 4 of the remaining 8 being 90% ready. But knowing that would require clairvoyance, and refurbishing very old airframes, all of which are essentially custom built, was always a dubious option for India. In the end, the Nimrod was not even bid.
Northrop-Grumman, which has held discussions with India around its E-2D Hawkeye 2000 carrier-capable AWACS aircraft, is also listed as one of the solicited companies by the India Defence report. The only asset they have which would fit the maritime surveillance category, however, is the RQ-4 Global Hawk High-Altitude, Long Endurance (HALE) UAV. The Global Hawk is slated for a Maritime Surveillance role with the USA and Australia; indeed, a “Pacific pool” approach similar to the NATO E-3 AWACS model, and involving The USA, Australia, Japan, Singapore, and Thailand, has been proposed.
It certainly has the range. A demonstration flight using a smaller RQ-4A Global Hawk took off from Adelaide, Australia and spent loiter time over Japan and Singapore before returning to Adelaide. While the Global Hawk lacks the payload capacity for sonobuoys, missiles, etc. possessed by all other contenders, the prospect of joining other friendly countries and sharing in the resulting intelligence data from all over the Pacific might still be very interesting. If pursued in combination with the P-8is, it would give India a combination similar to the US Navy’s P-8A/ RQ-4N BAMS. If pursued alone, it would sharply blunt India’s long-range offensive capabilities once the TU-142s were retired; but if this was seen as a bridge until the P-8A’s arrival, the intelligence benefits could make the proposal very attractive. Nevertheless, media reports did not list Northrop Grumman among the RFP respondents.

source:DID


1 comment:

  1. Woow... The best article so far I have come across.. Good job.

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