Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) will supply 12 Dornier Do-228 maritime surveillance and patrol aircraft (MSA) to the Indian navy in a deal estimated at $310 million.
The Acceptance of Necessity (AON) for HAL’s proposal to supply the type to the navy was granted earlier this week by the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) led by defence minister Arun Jaitley.
“HAL will respond to a formal Request for Proposal (RFP) expected to be issued early next year”, says a company spokesperson. Deliveries are to begin from 2016 and the new aircraft will be produced at HAL’s Transport Aircraft Division (TAD) in Kanpur, where 124 of the type have been produced since 1984.
Maritime surveillance and patrol variants of the Do-228 have been modified by HAL to cater for a host of equipment demanded by the navy including surveillance radar, FLIR (forward looking infrared), ESM (electronic support measures), satellite communications, data links, speech secrecy equipment, TCAS (traffic collision avoidance system) and EGPWS (enhanced ground proximity warning system), among others.
It is not clear if the new aircraft will receive the full glass cockpit and improvements such as digital auto-pilot, upgraded avionics and other systems, displayed by the airframer during Aero India in early 2013.
The latest order is a further indication of the new government’s support for manufacturing defence products in India. In July, HAL received approval to supply of 32 Dhruv Mk III helicopters split equally between India’s navy and coast guard in a deal worth $1.19 billion.
Flightglobal’s Ascend Fleets database shows that the Indian navy has 26 Do-228 aircraft in service, 15 -200s and 11 -100s. Of these, 25 were built locally by HAL, while a single -200 was produced by Fairchild/Dornier.