Brando wrote:It makes more sense to stick with the aircraft that the IN already has made a commitment to than add another new aircraft to the already limited resources of the IN. With more similar aircraft, training and maintenance etc become cheaper and easier. I don't see why a Long range aircraft like the P-8 cannot be used for "medium" range operations as well given that the P-8's sensor suite is supposed to be much more advanced than the P-3C's and also more versatile. How is the P-3C superior to the P-8 in medium range ASW operations ?
I think that the LM page that says that the P-3C is a front-runner to fulfill the LRMP requirement is simply because the page was not updated. on the same page they mention that the IAF may also be interested in a LOR for the C-130Js, something that’s been already signed for. the P-8I was selected AFTER the C-130J deal came through.
LM offered to lease some refurbished P-3Cs as an interim solution but it was an expensive offer and was rejected by the IN. the P-3C is going to be replaced in USN service by the P-8A, so its in no way whatsoever, superior to the P-8A. the only possible advantage I can even think of may be the lower speeds at which a turboprop may be able to loiter around a region trying to snoop out subs.
as for why the IN is putting out a separate request for a medium-range MPA, it would be simply the up-front unit costs as well as the costs of operating per hour. an ATR-72 or CN-235 with a different sensor suite will be cheaper to buy and to operate than a Boeing 737-700 based P-8I. why pay a premium to buy the P-8I in more numbers to patrol ranges that a smaller turboprop can easily patrol ? the only thing that I'm not happy about is the small number they're looking for..6 medium-range MPA's is absolutely piddly compared to what is needed to maintain a constant patrol of India's huge coastline. they should've ordered something closer to 12-15 with an option for 6-7 more. even that wouldn't necessarily be enough..just see how many P-3Cs Japan operates to keep a tab on Chinese, North Korean and South Korean subs and warships in its territorial waters. even if they have a doctrine that really emphasises marine warfare (for instance all F-2s are dedicated anti-shipping fighters), India's numbers don't match up to the need.