Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Northrop Grumman in race for Navy aircraft order

SOURCE : Business-standard.com
Northrop Grumman Corporation (NGC), the US-based $34.9-billion global security systems and technology provider, is pitching for the Indian Navy’s order for surveillance aircraft and high altitude long-range unmanned aerial vehicles.“The Indian Navy had invited a request for information (RFI) in the middle of last year and we submitted our RFIs to them. We have submitted quotes for E-2D Advanced Hawkeye, airborne early warning and control aircraft. We are now waiting for the RFPs to be issued by the Indian Navy,” Northrop Grumman India managing Director, Gyanendra Sharma, said.
Talking to Business Standard, Sharma said that Northrop Grumman has been trying to secure the ministry of defence’s orders for its products and technologies over the last four years. When the Navy came out with an RFI for surveillance aircraft last year, Northrop Grumman was one of the contenders, he said.
The Navy intends to procure four surveillance aircraft. If Northrop Grumman wins the Navy order, India will be the second country in the world to fly the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye. Currently, only the US Navy uses one such aircraft, which completed its landing aboard the USS Truman (aircraft carrier) and began carrier suitability tests on February 3, 2011.
The Indian Navy is planning to acquire 6-8 medium-range airborne early warning surveillance aircraft and high altitude long-range UAVs. The ministry of defence had floated RFIs for the surveillance aircraft and UAVs. While specifications for the medium-range surveillance aircraft require an operating range of over 350 nautical miles, the requirements for the UAV include a service ceiling above 40,000 feet and endurance of over 25 hours.
The Navy’s requirements for surveillance aircraft assumed importance in the wake of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, in which Pakistan-based terrorists used the sea route to reach Indian soil.
Tom C Trudell, manager, international business development, NGC, said “We have an order from the US Navy for supplying 75 E-2D Advanced Hawkeye aircraft over a period of 12 years. So far, we have delivered five aircraft, of which one has been commissioned and other four are under tests.” He also added that apart from India, Northrop Grumman also plans to supply E-2D aircraft to the United Arab Emirates.
The aircraft is capable of scanning a large area, detecting smaller objects and processing information quickly. The aircraft crew will be able to carry out these tasks through improved all-glass cockpits and tactical operator stations. The aircraft has a surveillance range of 300 nautical miles and can detect ships at a distance of 200 miles. However, E-2D would need to have a catapult-equipped aircraft carrier. Currently, the Indian Navy does not have such an aircraft carrier, Trudell noted.

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