India Leases Two P-3Cs for $133M
The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) has notified Congress [PDF format] that the Government of India wishes to lease 2 P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft, plus training devices, support and test equipment, and other related training, support, and maintenance-related items and services. The two leased P-3 aircraft will replace two even older Soviet built IL-38 May aircraft, which are quickly reaching the end of their airframe fatigue life. There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale.
India’s rival Pakistan also operates the P-3 Orion, but this will be the first time India has done so. It’s also an indicator of India’s warming relations with the USA and increased military cooperation. The estimated contract value is $133 million, which will include the two aircraft and also the training and integration costs that accompany a new platform. The principal contractors will be:
- Lockheed Martin in Eagan, MN
- Lockheed Martin Aircraft Center in Greenville, SC
- Logistics Support International, Inc. in Jacksonville, FL
Implementation of this proposed sale will require technical assistance prior to the delivery of the first aircraft and continued involvement by U.S. and contractor representatives to India for three years. Several U.S. Government and contractor representatives will travel to India for two-week intervals twice annually to participate in training, program management and technical reviews.
As DID has noted in earlier reports, the P-3 Orions have age issues of their own; nevertheless, they can serve in a stopgap capacity until other options become available. The USA’s P-3Cs are also receiving substantial upgrades; there was no word on which upgrades, if any, the Indian planes would be receiving.
The long-endurance Heron UAVs that India recently bought from Israel can also be configured for maritime surveillance if the need arises.
Over the longer term, India has expressed interest in the 737-based P-8A Multimission Maritime Aircraft, which is due to enter service around 2012-2014. The P-8A MMA is also envisaged as having a long-range UAV supplement; in India’s case, this could be the Heron or it could be a different UAV platform.