U S defense major Boeing will be pitching a ‘diet’ version of the P-8 Poseidon aircraft in response to the Request for Information (RFI) issued by the Indian Navy for Medium Range Maritime Reconnaissance (MRMR) Aircraft, due by the end of the year, next week.
Boeing has already begun work on the first of eight P-8I Long Range Maritime Reconnaissance aircraft to be supplied to the Indian Navy, in a deal concluded in the beginning of 2009 at a cost of US $ 2.1 billion.
Company sources told StratPost that even though the derivative proposed for the MRMR RFI will look the same as the P-8I and be based on the 737 platform, it will have smaller tanks and a shorter range and will only have surface warfare capability. The P-8I is capable of both surface as well as sub-surface warfare.
The RFI also asks vendors if the aircraft can carry out electronic intelligence gathering and counter-measures, besides maritime patrol and search and rescue within an operational envelope of 350 nautical miles or almost 650 kilometers, as well as a patrol endurance of at least three and a half hours. It also specifies a requirement that the aircraft be capable of carrying at least two anti-ship missiles and a jamming pod.
As with the P-8I, the navy has specified in the RFI that certain pieces of equipment must be indigenous, like, IFF (Identification Friend or Foe) Interrogator with Secure Mode, MSS Terminal – BFE, Datalink and Speech Secrecy Equipment and vendors must indicate their commitment to integrate this equipment into the aircraft.