Sunday, January 18, 2009

India: MRMR Required To Have Range Of 500 Nautical Miles, Flight Endurance Of 6 Hours - Analyze / MRMR New Aircraft Replacing Islander, To Be Equipped

India: MRMR Required To Have Range Of 500 Nautical Miles, Flight Endurance Of 6 Hours - Analyze / MRMR New Aircraft Replacing Islander, To Be Equipped With AEWS - Report / India’s Mid-Tier Maritime Patrol Aircraft Competitions / India's Reconnaissance And Airborne Early Warning Aircraft Competitions (NSI News Source Info) January 18, 2009: India’s growing power is creating growing naval responsibility around the Indian Ocean, from the strategic chokepoint and shipping channel represented by Indonesia’s Straits of Malacca in the east, to anti-piracy operations off the coast of Somalia and basing agreements with Madagascar in the west. Hence the January 2009 deal for 8-16 of Boeing’s 737-derived P-8i Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft, which will replace Russian-built TU-142’s as India’s long-range patrol aircraft. The R-99B is a remote sensing aircraft. It employs a synthetic aperture radar, combination electro-optical and FLIR systems as well as a multi-spectral scanner. The aircraft also possesses signal intelligence and C3I capabilities. Closer to home, however, India has its own long coastline to patrol, and nations like Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan that represent existing or potential trouble spots along its borders. The P-8i will work those problems, too, but less-expensive and shorter-range aircraft will be needed to supplement their coverage – and to replace India’s aging Britten-Norman Islander and Dornier Do-228 aircraft. UAVs will also play a role, and India’s Israeli-built Searcher and Heron UAVs are already doing so. Their role does not exclude smaller manned aircraft, however, which will still have a job to do in India’s Navy and its Coast Guard. In January 2009, India began a pair of follow-on competitions in order to fill exactly these roles. Reports indicate that India’s Ministry of Defence has issued an RFP for 6 medium-range maritime reconnaissance (MRMR) aircraft. They will replace the aging Islander fleet, which may be shifted to a training role, handed over to the cost guard, or even gifted to other countries like the 2 that were given as a gift to the Myanmar junta. The coast guard’s requirements also involve 6 aircraft, but they will require less sophisticated equipment. The aircraft will need to have a range of over 500 nautical miles, and an endurance of around 6 hours. These are easy criteria to meet, and there are a number of contenders. At least 2 of the rumored Navy contenders participated in India’s previous maritime patrol aircraft competition. Falcon 900DX There are rumors that Boeing would offer a modified version of the P-8i for the medium range role as well. A modified P-8i would offer commonality, handle required industrial offsets smoothly, and may include some savings due to a larger order volume, but the platform itself is not cheap. Cost is likely to be the biggest stumbling block for this option. The Falcon 900 is a development of the Falcon 50, itself a development of the earlier Falcon 20. The Falcon 900 development included computer-aided design and the incorporation of composite materials. Improved models include the Falcon 900B, featuring improved engines and increased range, and the Falcon 900EX featuring further improvements in engines and range and an all-glass flight deck. The Falcon 900C is a lower-cost companion to the Falcon 900EX and replaces the Falcon 900B. The current versions are the Falcon 900EX EASy and the Falcon 900DX. At EBACE 2008, Dassault announced another development of the 900 series; the Falcon 900LX. The other MPA holdover is a maritime patrol version of Dassault’s Falcon 900, which was reportedly submitted by Israel’s IAI Elta. The tri-engined aircraft offers more attractive operating costs than a P-8, and its 4,100-4,500 nautical mile/ 7,600-8,330 km unrefueled range would allow for both long patrols of India’s coastline and deployments across the Indian Ocean. Israel has a good reputation for delivering capable and reliable military equipment, and a MRMR aircraft that can also fill high-end roles may be attractive, but the Falcon 900 will be more expensive than several of the other rumored contenders. In a similar vein, Brazil’s Embraer modifies its own EMB-145 regional jets into sophisticated surveillance platforms. The P-99 MPA has been ordered by Mexico (2), and is rumored as a contender for India’s MRMR as well. At 1,876 miles/ 3,019 km, its range is less than the Falcon’s but still more than adequate for the requirement. Embraer, like Canada’s Bombardier, is working to make inroads into India’s civil aviation industry, and this could help position it well for industrial offset requirements. ATR-72 ASW Concept The next 2 rumored contenders are both turboprops. They offer more economical low-level flight costs, in exchange for shorter ranges and slower transit time to patrol areas or emergency situations. The ATR 72 is a twin-turboprop short-haul regional airliner built in France and Italy by ATR. It seats up to 74 passengers in a single-class configuration and is operated by a two-pilot crew. EADS subsidiary ATR and Alenia Aeronautica have crated the larger ATR-72, which has been ordered by Turkey and Italy to fulfill maritime patrol requirements. The ATR and its smaller ATR-42 are both regional civil transport aircraft. Alenia’s modifications include sophisticated surveillance gear and, in the case of the ATR-72 ASW, a long Magnetic Anomaly Detector in the back that helps it find submarines, and pylons/launchers for weapons. The ATR-72 ASW is rumored as a candidate for the Indian Navy’s MRMR, while the smaller ATR-42MP Surveyor, which has been ordered by Italy, Nigeria, and Libya, and has attracted interest from Pakistan, is a rumored candidate for the Coast Guard’s MRMR. C-295MP Concept EADS other subsidiary EADS-CASA has carved out a leading role for its maritime surveillance turboprops.
CN235 MPA: Maritime patrol version - The CASA/IPTN CN-235 is a medium-range twin-turbo-prop aircraft developed jointly between CASA in Spain and IPTN in Indonesia as a regional airliner and military transport. Amongst its military roles are maritime patrol, surveillance and troop transport.The largest user is Turkey which has a total of 61 aircraft.
The CN-235MP Persuader is in service with a number of countries, including the US Coast Guard, and has just been ordered by South Korea’s Coast Guard. Unsurprisingly, it’s a rumored candidate for India’s Coast Guard MRMR. If so, it’s likely to be a leading candidate, and the affiliation with Airbus gives them good industrial benefits options. The larger C-295MP has been ordered by Chile, and modified C-295 light transport aircraft already serve in a search and rescue role with a number of countries. Contracts and Key Events Do-228, India Jan 12/09: Reports surface that India’s Navy and Coast Guard have issued their MRMR solicitations, and rumored candidates are identified in the press. The Dornier Do 228 is a small twin turboprop STOL-utility aircraft, manufactured by Dornier GmbH from 1981 until 1998. In 1983 Hindustan Aeronautics bought a production licence and manufactures the 228 for the Asian market sphere. Approximately 270 Do 228 were built at Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany and Kanpur, India. In August 2006 127 Dornier Do 228 aircraft (all variants) remain in airline service. RUAG will commence building a Dornier 228 New Generation at the same place in Germany using structural parts supplied by HAL. It will be basically the same aircraft with improved technologies and performances, such as a new five blade propeller, glass cockpit or longer range. India Defence adds that “the Navy will also be getting 11 new Dornier short-range aircraft,” but this is not confirmed by other sources. It is true that in 1983, Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. bought a production license for the Do-228, and the Swiss firm RUAG Aerospace will commence building the Dornier 228 New Generation model at Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany using structural parts supplied by HAL. RUAG will also integrate specialty equipment into existing or future Do-228s, including surveillance and search-and-rescue gear.