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India approves USD 1.5 billion aircraft deal for Navy

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P-8I aircraft for Indian Navy. Photo: Boeing.

NEW DELHI (PTI): To boost maritime surveillance capabilities of the Indian Navy, the Defence Ministry has approved the proposal to procure nine medium range reconnaissance aircraft expected to cost over USD 1.5 billion.

The approval for procuring the advanced medium range maritime reconnaissance (MRMR) aircraft was granted by the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) on Friday, Ministry officials said.

The nine MRMR planes will be in addition to the 12 American-origin P-8I long-range (LRMR) aircraft already being acquired by Navy at a USD 3.1 billion price tag.

Several global aviation majors including American Lockheed Martin, Swedish SAAB, French Dassault Aviation, Brazilian Embraer and European EADS are in contention for this big contract.

With an operating range of over 350 nautical miles, the MRMR planes will act as Navy's eyes and ears over Indian Ocean in the medium range.

While the P-8Is, with an operating range of around 1,200 nautical miles, will patrol the outermost layer of India's three-tier maritime surveillance grid, Israeli spy drones like Heron and Searcher-II as well as Dorniers make up the inner most layer.

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India  Navy  Aircraft  
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