The Indian Navy is embarking on a strategic partnership with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to forge its own Medium Class Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MMPA), a momentous stride aimed at augmenting India's maritime surveillance capabilities.
The prevailing fleet of 12 Boeing P-8I Neptune maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft within the Indian Navy has already demonstrated its effectiveness in maritime surveillance and anti-submarine warfare operations. However, cognizant of the imperatives of self-reliance and the quest for a versatile and adaptable platform, the Indian Navy has opted to embark on the indigenous development of its own Medium Class Maritime Patrol Aircraft.
Insider sources familiar with the matter, as reported by idrw.org, divulge that the Centre for Air Borne Systems (CABS), a DRDO institution dedicated to airborne systems and technologies, will spearhead the endeavor to craft the Medium Class Maritime Patrol Aircraft. This determination stems from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) declining the Navy's proposal to procure an additional six Boeing P-8I Neptune aircraft. Instead, the emphasis shall be on indigenous innovation, aligning harmoniously with the overarching "Make in India" initiative.
CABS is already engrossed in addressing the requisites of the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) through the creation of a multi-mode maritime aircraft (MMMA) grounded on the Airbus C-295M platform. This Airbus C-295M MMMA serves as a precursor to the more specialized Medium Class Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MMPA), meticulously designed to meet the maritime patrol and surveillance imperatives of the Indian Navy.
While intricate specifics concerning the sensor suite and platform designated for the MMPA remain undisclosed, it is envisaged that a commercially established platform, potentially from Airbus or Boeing, will be harnessed for this undertaking. This strategic approach not only truncates developmental timelines but also capitalizes on tried-and-tested technologies and proficiencies.