New Delhi: In a boost to Make in India in military sector, defence minister Manohar Parrikar has cleared a proposal to develop six indigenous surveillance planes for the coast guard.
Hitting two birds with one stone for Make in India, the planes to be used for the project would be the C-295 transport aircraft to be built by Tata-Airbus consortium.
This would help in increasing the order for the Avro aircraft replacements being built for the Indian Air Force.
“The air force wants 56 planes for replacing their fleet of Avro planes and the coast guard order would take it to 62,” defence sources told Mail Today.
This would also help in bringing down the cost of the Tata-Airbus jointly manufactured plane due to increase in numbers, they said.
Giving details of the project, defence ministry officials said, “The Defence Acquisition Council cleared the deal worth over Rs 5,500 crore and once developed by the DRDO, they will be known as multimission maritime reconnaissance aircraft for the coast guard.”
“The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) will design and develop state of art mission suite for these aircrafts. The suite comprises advanced electronic systems,” the officials said. The sensor suite would be suited for Coast Guard specific missions as they would be able to detect oil spills also as the force is mandated to tackle sea pollution as well.
The planes would be fitted with sensors to scan deep across the maritime boundaries with Pakistan and would also be built to detect any suspicious movement towards Indian waters.
“This would help in preventing incidents like that of 26/11, where terrorists had boarded an Indian boat, MV Kuber and attacked Mumbai for three days,” they said.
The case for P-8I aircraft being used by navy was also being pushed for the coast guard. However, it chose the indigenous option as it felt its requirements could be fulfiled by the DRDO.
Once completed, the DRDO would also look into the possibility of exporting thematic surveillance aircraft to friendly foreign countries.
Coast Guard has been going indigenous way in modernising it’s aviation wing as it is also buying 16 advanced light helicopters for ship-borne operations.
It is also in the final stages of buying 14 EC-725 medium weight choppers from Airbus as part of its shore-based fleet to carry out surveillance and search and rescue missions there.
The hub for the Coast Guard choppers would be set up in Goa, where the original equipment manufacturer would maintain the fleet.