So a case is being progressed for a MLU for IN's MiG-29K fighters. Would be interesting to find out what this MLU would entail. Most likely to be given to MiG to upgrade with avionics developed for the MiG-35. Although, I actually hope that the upgrade program instead goes to DRDO, using the Uttam AESA radar and the SPJ derived from the MiG-29UPG upgrade program. Structural upgrades and avionics ruggedizing will also hopefully form a part of the MLU to better handle the stresses of landing on an aircraft carrier. Vayu- interview with Admiral Karambir Singh
ayu :Congratulations on your taking over as the 24thCNS, and the fourth Naval Aviator to do so. With your flying background and vast operational experience, would you kindly enumerate on priorities for the Navy’s expansion and modernisation over the next few years, including its air arm.
CNS : Thank you. The Indian Navy’sAir Arm is poised for a quantum growth over the next few years.
There is a comprehensive plan to augment the number and enhance the capability of ship-borne helicopters through midlife upgrades and role enhancement on the existing fleet of Kamov 28 and Sea King 42B. Procurement of eightChetak and sixteen ALH helicopters to enhance Coastal Security has commenced. Further, we also have plans to procure additional multirole helicopters to meet ship-borne helicopter requirements.
To meet Deck Based Fighter requirements, a RFI for MRCBF (Multi Role Carrier Borne Fighter) has been hosted on the MoD website. The case is being progressed in accordance with DPP-16. Further,a case for MiG-29K midlife upgrade is being progressed.Delivery of four additional P-8Is will commence from April 2020 onwards. The Government has also accorded AON for 6 additional P-8Is.
We have added four new Dornier 228 aircraft ex HAL, four are scheduled to be inducted by end of this year. We have also commissioned new Dornier Air Squadrons at Meenambakkam(Chennai) and Porbandar(Gujarat). At the same time, we are progressively upgrading our air infrastructure at Naval air bases across the country, as well as on the island territories.
In addition to Dornier aircraft, we are extensively utilisingRPAs for coastal surveillance. Three RPA Squadrons have been commissioned at Kochi, Porbandar and Ramnad. Procurement of HALE RPAS as a joint tri-Service case is also on the cards.
Vayu :Recently confirmed is an order for 24 MH-60R multi-mission helicopters but the requirement is for multiple times this number. Are there any plans for this or any other Type to be licence-built in India?
CNS :Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) for 24 Multirole Helicopters was accorded by DAC and Letter of Acceptance (LoA) is likely to be signed in the near future. In addition, Indian Navy also plans to procure Naval Utility Helicopters (NUH) through the Strategic Partnership Model to boost Make in India. The NUH are likely to be inducted in a phased manner commencing 2025. The most significant aspect of the Strategic Partnership is that it will facilitate absorption of niche technologies by private industries in helicopter manufacturing segment.
Vayu :The Japanese ShinMaywaUS2i amphibian aircraft has been offered to the Indian Navy for some years and the Japanese Government is reportedly keen to progress this case. What is the status of this programme and do such amphibian aircraft play a role in the Indian Navy’s blue water projections?
CNS :The induction of amphibious aircraft would significantly enhance Indian Navy’s capabilities in terms of Operational Logistics (provision of technical assistance and supply of spares to the fleet at sea), long range Search and Rescue (SAR), Casualty Evacuation (CASEVAC), and HADR missions. The proposal for the procurement of six amphibious aircraft from Government of Japan is under deliberation.