September 09, 2013: Given the small number of aviation assets at the Indian Coast Guard's disposal, there's finally some movement towards fleet accretion over and above the 35+ Dornier Do-228 tactical reconnaissance aircraft in service. Now, to service a requirement of 19 maritime reconnaissance and multi-mission high performance aircraft for the Indian Coast Guard, DRDO lab, the Centre for Airborne Systems (CABS), has issued a request for information to identify an aircraft platform for the proposed multi-mission maritime aircraft (MMMA) that it proposes to integrate in Bangalore. CABS has said that it will be looking immediately for six modified airframes, followed by three as an options clause, and finally an additional ten aircraft, for a total fleet of 19 planes dedicated to the Indian Coast Guard.
Apart from maritime reconnaissance, the proposed platform will also be used for SAR, cargo and personnel transportation, air ambulance and pollution surveillance. While CABS will be developing many of the sensors in conjunction with other laboratories and the Defence Avionics Research Establishment (DARE), its sister laboratory in Bangalore, will be looking to import the maritime patrol radar, EO/IR systems and pollution control suite. CABS has not stipulated the configuration of the aircraft it is looking for—whether jet or turboprop, long- or medium-endurance—but is likely to clarify on these qualitative requirements shortly.