The Indian navy is believed to have rejected a $133 million US proposal to lease two Lockheed Martin
P-3C Orions to the naval air service as an interim solution to the nation’s longer-term requirement for eight new maritime reconnaissance aircraft. India needs new aircraft to replace its ageing Ilyushin Il-38
Mays, which are undergoing a mission avionics system upgrade, but which are rapidly running out of airframe life.
There is also a need to replace eight Tupolev
Tu-142M Bear-F maritime patrol aircraft. Lockheed had hoped that its December 2005 offer would allow it to gain an advantage over the other potential bidders for the maritime reconnaissance tender. This was issued to BAE Systems, Boeing
, Ilyushin and Lockheed.
Boeing has already sought permission to offer the 737-based P-8A Multimission Maritime Aircraft (MMA) platform to India, for possible export from 2011. The US Navy, which plans to procure 108 P-8As, expects to achieve initial operating capability in 2013, but this could be brought forward to 2012. Boeing hopes to sell at least as many P-8As to international customers.
Australia, Canada and Italy were viewed as prospects for the P-8A, but rejected proposals to participate in development.