India is seeking to lease two Lockheed Martin P-3 Orions from the US Navy as an interim solution to its maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) requirement.

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The US government last year offered India up to 10 refurbished P-3s, but New Delhi wants to test two aircraft for three years before selecting a new MPA platform. Industry sources say the US Navy is now trying to locate an aircraft it can spare and the US government is trying to determine which mission equipment may have to be removed because of export restrictions. If finalised, the lease will be government-to-government with Lockheed and local aerospace company Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) providing support.

By leasing two P-3s, the Indian navy will be able to augment its MPA capability, now limited to Dornier 228s, almost immediately instead of waiting two to three years for the delivery of new or refurbished aircraft.

Source: Flight International