INDIA’S HUNT FOR MRMR STILL ON AS 2007 IS CANCELLED
By Bulbul Singh
04 May 09. The Indian Navy has cancelled the global bid floated in 2007 to procure six Medium range Maritime reconnaissance [MRMR] aircraft worth over $400 million as none of the overseas firms approached filed their bid. Indian Navy is looking to procure six MRMR aircraft capable of maritime surveillance, anti-surface capabilities including self-attack capabilities. Sources in the Indian defence ministry say the program will be bid again this year.
In 2007, bids were sent to Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation of
United States, Bombardier Aerospace of Canada, Dassault of France,
Dornier of Germany, Casa of Spain, Alenia Aeronautica, Italy, Embrear of Brazil, Antonov of Ukraine.
The Indian Navy has a requirement of MRMR which will be used for maritime surveillance and anti-shipping capabilities including self-attack capabilities.
An Indian Navy official said, ”The MRMR should have a steady reliable airframe with proven fuel efficient engines and fully integrated advanced avionics incorporating ability for detection, identification and classification of all types of surface targets. Detection and tracking capability against air targets would been essential requirement. The other requirements of the Indian Navy requires the MRMR to be easily maintainable and able to perform its mission either by itself or in conjunction with a naval task group providing both close and distant air support to combat ships and also be able to carry out speedy information processing amongst participating units.”
The MRMR system should have a viable capability in the Indian Ocean environment for at least twenty five years after induction.
The primary role of the MRMR will be maritime patrol and anti-surface warfare while the secondary role of the aircraft would be Electronics Intelligence (ELINT)/Electronic Support Measure (ESM)/Communications Intelligence (COMINT) and search and rescue.
The MRMR should also be able to carry out its mission and provide a surface picture of the area under surveillance 24/7 in all weather and in dense electronic environments.
The MRMR would be used for at least 80 hours per aircraft per month during peacetime and at least 15 hours per day and more than 100 hours at forward base for up to three months.
The avionics fit will be open architecture and the on-board systems would be integrated by a general purpose digital computer that supports all tactical displays. The Maritime Patrol Radar will be capable of providing 360 degree all-round coverage and be able to automatically track at least 50 targets. The surveillance radar specification will be Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), Inverse Synthetic Aperture Radar, have Range Signature, Doppler Beam Sharpening, Moving Target Identification (MTI) capability. The system should be able to give 360 coverage of surveillance, observation, detection, reconnaissance, identification and localization 24/7.
The MRMR is also required to have provision for the carriage of jammer pods and be capable of undertaking both ELINT and ESM tasks. The other essential requirements of the MRMR require the aircraft to be fitted with contemporary Missile Approach Warning System (MAWS) and Laser Warning System with countermeasures and tactical mission systems.
The six MRMR aircraft will replace the Navy’s Islanders (BN-21A) from
Britten Norman that are being used for coastal surveillance for many decades. At present, the Navy operates about 12 of them but they are on the verge of being phased out.