Updated: September 25, 2021 8:39:14 am
The Centre for Airborne Systems (CABS), Bengaluru, has prepared a blueprint to modify six of the 56 C-295 military transport aircraft that are likely to be procured by the Indian government from Spain for maritime usage by the Indian Coast Guard.
The defence ministry signed a contract with Airbus Defence and Space, Spain, Friday, for procurement of the C-295 aircraft for the Indian Air Force. Under the deal, 16 aircraft will be supplied in a fly away condition while 40 will be made in India by Tata Advanced Systems Ltd.
The aircraft procured for the coast guard will be modified into a Multi-Mission Maritime Aircraft (MMMA) variant for airborne surveillance with C4ISR (Command, Control, Communications, Computers Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) capabilities for the ICG at CABS — a DRDO laboratory in Bengaluru.
The possible use of the C-295 as a specialised surveillance vehicle following modifications was revealed at Aero India 2019 by former chairman of DRDO S Christopher.
“We have the blueprint ready. The MMMA will empower ICG to discharge its responsibilities within the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and Indian Search and Rescue Region (ISRR). Almost 70 per cent of the sensors required for this programme are similar to the sensors developed for Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) for the Indian Air Force (IAF) and the same can be used with minor adaptations,” a senior CABS official said.
The MMMA would include Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar to carry out detection and tracking of air and sea surface targets. It will enable detection of small targets from medium altitudes.
Talking about the roles and capabilities of MMMA, a scientist with DRDO said, “The primary roles of MMMA would include maritime surveillance, pollution surveillance, cargo, air ambulance and search and rescue.”
India’s coastline of 7,516 kilometres and 2.01 million square kilometres has vital installations and islands of strategic importance. With the growing incidents of piracy, smuggling and other unlawful activities, DRDO claims MMMA would meet a key ICG requirement.
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