India To Spend Rs 2,900 Crores On Planes To Boost Navy’s Surveillance

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India To Spend Rs 2,900 Crores On Planes To Boost Navy's Surveillance

India will buy over a dozen maritime surveillance aircraft from aviation giant Airbus SE costing an estimated 290 billion rupees ($3.5 billion), in an attempt to  boost its capabilities in the increasingly restive Indian Ocean region.

The medium-range, multi mission maritime reconnaissance aircraft will strengthen “the surveillance and interdiction capabilities of the Indian Navy and the Indian Coast Guard over the country’s vast maritime area,” a Defence Ministry statement said.

The decision to augment India’s surveillance aircraft fleet was taken by an acquisition council headed by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh Friday.

India’s navy will get nine of these aircraft, while the remaining six will go the coast guard, said senior officials who didn’t want to be named because the discussions are private.

Four of the C-295 planes will be made in the European facilities of Airbus to ensure the platforms are available quickly. The remaining aircraft will be made in India by the joint venture between Airbus and India’s Tata Advanced Systems, the people said. The same aircraft was selected by the Indian Air Force to replace its obsolete transport fleet in 2021.

The maritime versions will be customized for anti-submarine and surface warfare, and will be fitted with a sensor and weapons suit developed by India’s Defense Research & Development Organization, the people said.

India has deployed around a dozen warships, a fleet of unmanned aerial vehicles and US-made, long-range maritime surveillance aircraft in the Arabian Sea for anti-piracy operations. The addition of multi role, medium-range maritime surveillance aircraft will add more teeth to its operations in the Indian Ocean region.  

Separately, India’s defense ministry also cleared the purchase of six new refueling aircraft for the Indian Air Force.

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