The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) tender for six Medium Range Maritime Reconnaissance (MRMR) aircraft has been cancelled. This move, last week, came after flight trials were held in February to evaluate the performance of two aircraft, the Russian Beriev Be-200 and the Canadian Bombardier Q-400.
While it is not known precisely why the Request For Proposal (RFP) was withdrawn, significantly,the Indian Navy is also expected to announce an RFP for MRMR aircraft, shortly. This is expected to attract responses from a long list of vendors.
And although the navy’s requirements are distinct from those of the ICG, speculative noises in South Block say that the ICG MRMR trials could have brought to light certain factors or features that require further consideration, which may perhaps lead to changes in their stated requirements from the selected aircraft.
Interestingly enough, while the ICG tender was for shore-based MRMR aircraft, the BE-200 is an amphibious aircraft with a maximum take-off weight of 43 tons and a maximum range of 3,600 kilometers. The Q-400 has a maximum take-off weight of 29 tons and range of about 2,400 kilometers.