The Indian Naval air arm is set to double its fleet of 217 aircraft in the next decade. The fleet–a mix of 14 models–“has emerged as a mini air force,” said assistant chief of naval staff (Air) Rear Admiral D.M. Sudan.
Neelam Mathews and Vladimir Karnozov contributed to this report.
Helicopters were much in the news at the Aero India show this week. Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) showed the armed version of its advanced light helicopter (ALH) called “Rudra.” The company’s light combat helicopter (LCH) was also on show, and so was an armed Mil-17V5. The Indian Navy’s new multi-role helicopter (MRH) requirement also attracted attention.
The Indian Navy is set to receive four additional Kamov Ka-28 anti-submarine warfare and five Ka-31 radar picket helicopters when its new Vikramaditya aircraft carrier is delivered, hopefully by the end of 2013.
The integration of the new BrahMos missile on to Sukhoi’s Su-30MKI long-range fighter is due to reach a key milestone this year with integration of the weapon on test aircraft, ahead of planned first deliveries to the Indian Air Force (IAF) next year.
Northrop Grumman is at the Aero India show highlighting capabilities in intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) including airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) systems and the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye for maritime reconnaissance and unmanned aerial vehicles.
The Indian Navy has issued a request for proposal (RFP) for 56 light utility helicopters (LUH) to eight OEMs, including government-owned Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL). Submissions are due by January 7 next year, with the winner expected to enter service in 2016.
The navy wants to replace its fleet of HAL Chetak helicopters, a license-built version of the Alouette III. Of the 85 Chetaks that the navy received up to 2002, approximately 60 remain in service. In addition, the coast guard operates 17.
A MiG-29KUB factory development prototype made a successful landing on the deck of the INS Vikramaditya aircraft carrier on July 28, according to Russian Aircraft (“MiG”). The Indian carrier is undergoing sea trials in the Barents Sea after modernization and refit from its previous life as a Soviet heavy cruiser.
With India’s first indigenous carrier (IAC-1) now under construction at the Cochin shipyard, there is speculation surrounding future aircraft carriers, and Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Nirmal Verma told AIN that the design of the second carrier has not been decided. IAC-1 has a ski jump, but it has not been decided yet whether a planned second indigenous carrier (IAC-2) would be similarly equipped with a ski jump for short-takeoff but arrested recovery (Stobar) operations. Russia has proposed joint development of an advanced carrier design to India.
Open-sea testing of the new Indian Navy aircraft carrier Vikramaditya and her primary weapons, in the form of MiG-29K/KUB deck fighters, means that the MiGs won’t be making appearance here at the 2012 Farnborough International Airshow. The ship has been bought from Russia to replace the former British-built HMS Hermes, which India acquired in 1986 and renamed Viraat.
Lockheed Martin is eyeing an Indian request for proposals (RFP) for around 75 naval multi-role helicopters (NMRH) that is expected to be released late summer. The new rotorcraft would complement the Indian navy’s existing fleet of Westland Sea King 42 anti-submarine warfare (ASW) helicopters.
Lockheed would bid the MH-60R “Romeo,” the Sikorsky-built helicopter that it modifies extensively for service with the U.S. Navy. The Eurocopter NH-90 is another possible contender.