Swedish defense and aerospace company SAAB is planning to offer its SAAB 2000 aircraft to the Indian Navy when it issues a Request For Proposal (RFP) for Medium Range Maritime Reconnaissance (MRMR) aircraft in the next few months.
The Indian Navy currently operates the Russian Tu-142 Bear and IL-38 aircraft, in addition to Dornier aircraft. It has also ordered eight P-8I Long Range Maritime Reconnaissance (LRMR) aircraft and is expected to buy an additional four.
The aircraft is built by US aviation company Boeing, which is planning to pitch a medium range ‘diet’ P-8 for the Indian Navy’s MRMR tender.
While the SAAB 2000 is being offered with the RBS-15 Anti Ship Missile and a fifth generation Selex AESA radar, what is also interesting is that SAAB is offering re-manufactured aircraft, since the company ceased production of the aircraft in 1999.
“We will take an existing SAAB 2000. We will re-manufacture it and build it up. So it will be ground zero flying hours. We will have all the warranties. We will have 35,000 flying hours. It will have 25 years of support,” said Tommy Hultin, SAAB’s Business Development Director for the program.
Hultin also says the Harpoon missile manufactured by Boeing, which India is already planning to acquire for the Indian Air Force (IAF) Jaguar and the P-8I aircraft, can also be configured on the SAAB 2000, which he points out, is one of the fastest turboprop aircraft flying.