INDIA’S HUNT FOR MRMR STILL ON AS 2007 REQUIRMENT 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. The Indian Navy is looking to procure six MRMR aircraft capable of maritime surveillance including anti-surface capabilities and 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 of the United States, Bombardier Aerospace of Canada, Dassault of France, Dornier of Germany, CASA of Spain, Alenia Aeronautica Italy, Embraer of Brazil and Antonov of Ukraine.
The Indian Navy has a requirement for MRMR which will be used for maritime surveillance and anti-surface 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 be an essential requirement. Other Indian Navy requirements include ease of maintainance and the ability to perform its mission either by itself or in conjunction with a naval task group, providing both close and distant air support to combatant ships and also be able to carry out speedy information processing amongst participating units.
The MRMR and associated equipment fit should be capable of operating
in the Indian Ocean environment up to at least twenty five years after induction.
The primary role of the MRMR will be maritime patrol and anti-surface warfare (AsuW) while the secondary role would be Electronics Intelligence (ELINT)/Electronic Support Measure (ESM)/Communications Intelligence (COMINT) and SAR.
The MRMR should be able to carry out its mission in all weather conditions both by day and night and provide surface picture of the area under surveillance in all weather and in dense electronic environments.
The MRMR Endurance Requirement is for at least 80 hours per aircraft per month during peace time and at least 15 hours per day and more than 100 hours at forward base for up to three months.
The avionics equipment will include be open architecture and the onboard 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 coverage and be able to automatically track up to 50 targets. The radar spec will require Synthetic Aperture Radar, Inverse Synthetic Aperture Radar, have Range Signature, Doppler Beam Sharpening, Moving Target Identification (MTI)capability. The system should be able to give coverage of identification and localization over 24 hour.
The MRMR is also required to have provision for carriage of suitable jammer pods and the Electronic Support Measure (ESM)equipment should be capable le of undertaking both ELINT and ESM tasks. The other essential requirements 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 Britten Norman Islanders (BN-21A) that have been 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.