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India drops plan for 6 more P-8I Neptune, backs DRDO's plan of C-295 based MMMA


India drops plan for 6 more P-8I Neptune, backs DRDO's plan of C-295 based MMMA

After Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) approved procurement of six additional P-8I aircraft for the Indian Navy in 2019, recent media reports suggest that DAC in consultation with the Navy has dropped plans to acquire more submarine hunters and rather focus now will be on the DRDO had proposed development of Multi-Mission Maritime Aircraft (MMMA) on Airbus developed C295 Transporter that would include three tactical consoles, an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, identification friend and foe equipment, an electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) sensor, and other equipment consistent with the maritime patrol mission.

Airbus C-295 based Maritime Patrol Aircraft (Image Source : Airbus)

Indian Navy has a fleet of 12 P-8I Neptune and the last four ordered in 2016 were delivered just recently and have begun operation from INS Hansa base in Goa for western command. Indian Navy was the first export customer of the P-8I Neptune when it placed orders for 8 aircraft in 2013.

With the cancellation of six additional P-8I Neptune, India might have saved approx. $2.4 Billion in terms of foreign exchange. It’s still not clear if Made in India C295 based MMMA will be supplementing the P-8I fleet or plans are to procure a larger platform and equip it with indigenous radars and sensors.

Airbus C-295 based Maritime Patrol Aircraft Specifications (Image Source : Airbus)

In 2021, had informed that DRDO has started testing AESA Multi-Mission Maritime Radar derivate of the UTTAM Radar for the HAL manufactured twin-engine turboprop Dornier 228– 200 series aircraft.

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