India has been advancing its next-gen naval capabilities with future plans for yet another aircraft carrier and expansion of the Maritime Patrol Aircraft (abbreviated MPA) fleet.
Admiral R. Hari Kumar, the Chief of Naval Staff associated with the Indian Navy, has reportedly expressed his keen interest in acquiring one more aircraft carrier belonging to the Vikrant class, building on the experience gathered from the building of the first-ever INS Vikrant, per Naval News.
The approach focuses on cost-effectiveness as well as quicker deployment rather than a greater CATOBAR-equipped design.
Besides, indigenization efforts are also underway for equipping the third aircraft carrier with domestically manufactured components, including the arrest and restrain of gear systems. By 2028, the development of the systems is likely to be executed, lowering the dependence on foreign suppliers. Furthermore, an import ban on the Precision Approach Radar for upcoming aircraft carriers is also scheduled for 2031.
The Indian Navy is striving to enhance the indigenous capabilities of the MiG-29K fighter aircraft, covering several components, including instruments, displays, and tires, as well as self-sufficiency in essential repairs.
Regarding the Maritime Patrol Aircraft, it is understood that Boeing is pursuing the procurement of six more P-8I long-range MPAs to increase the fleet to 18 by 2032.
Such a significant expansion is likely to give rise to indigenization opportunities in the Indian aerospace and defence sector.
Boeing is dedicated to enhancing manufacturing, engineering, and sustainment capabilities in the country.
Furthermore, the Indian Navy is trying to explore possible modifications to Airbus C-295 (the transport aircraft) to meet the needs of Medium Range Maritime Reconnaissance (abbreviated MRMR) and Multi-Mission Maritime Aircraft (abbreviated MMMA).
MRMRs aim to incorporate higher and improvised indigenous content, including sensors and avionics.
The order for 15 MQ-9B SeaGuardian Unmanned Aircraft Systems (abbreviated UAS) from General Atomics, with 16 SkyGuardians for the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force, is under consideration. The acquisitions are going to be carried out over the years, complementing naval assets such as subs, surface combatants, as well as fighter aircraft. The Indian Navy is developing as well as deploying many unmanned assets across domains.
References: Naval News, Indian Defense News
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