General Atomics Short Takeoff & Landing Carrier Capable STOL MQ-9B for INS Vikrant
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems has announced it plans on developing a short take off and landing capable version of the MQ-9B MALE UAV. The reason behind the decision was to meet an evolving operational environment in contested expeditionary environments. The new capability will be made possible by virtue of an optional wing and tail kit, that can be installed in under a day. Operators can perform the modification in a hangar or on a flight line, delivering a capability that otherwise would require the purchase of a whole new aircraft.
STOL MQ-9B Short Takeoff & Landing is part of General Atomics series of unmanned aircrafts for future operations aboard an aircraft carriers like Indian Navies Indigenous Aircraft Carrier INS Vikrant or big deck amphibious assault ships which could prove to be a game changer in Indian Ocean Region. The wings fold so that New MQ-9B could be parked on the deck or in the hangar bay, just like other naval aircraft. When it’s time to launch, operators will start the aircraft, unfold the wings, and take off over the bow without the need for catapults.
Boeing is open to offer its Platforms for Indian programs
Desi P8I aircraft equipped with DRDO developed Multi Mission Maritime Aircraft suite or Desi E-7A aircraft equipped with DRDO developed Netra suite might become a reality if India agrees to the latest offers made by the Boeing, that could make Boeing’s 737 Next Generation aircraft to be used as platform based on which maritime patrol aircraft and airborne early warning and control aircraft could be developed with Indian sensor and avionics package.
With a big push to Make in India projects, most of the big ticket programs in the country now, will be given to Indian public and private sector companies and Boeing is keen to secure further orders from the Indian market for its product line.
Intense rivalry between Boeing and Airbus in India has erupted as HAL and Israel Aerospace Industries have signed contracts to convert civilian Boeing 767 passenger jet into inflight refuelling aircraft for the air force, Airbus is keen to secure modification contract for 6 Ex Air India Airbus A321 to be used for the Netra Mk2 program and Netra Mk3 (AWACS INDIA) Program.
Boeing is keen to make further gains it made with the sale of 12 P8I aircraft to the Indian Navy that was based on its 737 platforms. Both Boeing and Airbus have estimated that, both the Air force and Navy may be looking at procuring 20 plus platforms to be used for either Flight refueler aircraft, AWACS, or Multi Mission Maritime Aircraft platforms.
India among potential partners for Embraer turboprop
Brazil’s Embraer is in talks with potential partners in India and elsewhere over proposals for a new turboprop aircraft, which it could launch in the middle of 2023, the plane maker’s commercial chief said on Tuesday. Embraer is also in detailed talks with engine makers about the proposed new regional airplane, which would seek to penetrate a market dominated by French & Italian Aircrafts.
Embraer has been discussing returning to the turboprop sector since 2017 as it looks to expand its portfolio. For the launch Brazil is looking at mid 2023. Such a plane could enter service in late 2027 or early 2028. Embraer has issued a request for proposals to engine makers and expects to make a decision by the end of the year.
Marshall supports Indian Super Hercules fleet
The Indian Air Force fleet of C-130J, 30 Super Hercules aircraft will undergo in depth 12 year maintenance inspections from Marshall Aerospace under contract from Lockheed Martin. In a statement released on 10 May, Marshall Aerospace Managing Director Neil Mac Manus said, the company will deliver dedicated and comprehensive maintenance services to the Indian Air Force, whilst delivering committed support to Lockheed Martin in their broader Foreign Military Sales contract.
India acquired its first C-130J from Lockheed Martin in 2008 via the Foreign Military Sales programme and the IAF now operates a fleet of 12 Super Hercules aircraft, for Human Assistance Disaster Relief, tactical and strategic airlift, and Search & Rescue missions. Shephard Defence Insight forecasts an out of service date of 2050 for the aircraft in Indian service.