IAF to purchase amphibious aircraft
IAF intends to buy six of these aircraft for maritime reconnaissance and search and rescue ops
By Ritu Sharma
For the first time, the Indian Air Force (IAF) is planning to purchase amphibious aircraft which it intends to deploy at the Andaman and Nicobar archipelago.
A request for information for the aircraft which can take off from both land and sea has been floated by the IAF. Contenders in the fray are Canadian Bombardier 415 and Russian Beriev Be-200 as well as the Dornier Sea Plane.
“It is for the first time the IAF is planning to have an amphibious capability. This is because of the changing dynamics of security demands around the isles,” a senior IAF official said.
Andaman and Nicobar is the only tri-service command of the Indian armed forces. The aircraft will boost the forces’ capability to keep an eye on the maritime boundary around the islands, most of which are uninhabited.
“IAF intends to buy six of these aircraft for maritime reconnaissance and search and rescue ops,” the official added.
As per the IAF’s qualitative requirements, the aircraft should have a short take off capability and a range of 800 nautical miles.
The proposal to acquire the amphibious aircraft for the IAF was mooted in the aftermath of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks which brought into focus the non-state actors in the maritime security realm. Since then Indian authorities have embarked on a plan to augment the security of its 7,516 km-long coast. In 2009, the Indian Navy had inked a deal to purchase eight long-range maritime reconnaissance aircraft P-8I from Boeing for its first ring of maritime security.
For the second tier the navy intends to purchase medium-range reconnaissance aircraft while the first ring would consist of coastal radar stations.