To ensure continuous coverage of its oceanic frontiers, the Indian navy would need six to eight Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) unmanned air systems (UAS).
This number would allow India to keep a BAMS airborne all day, every day for 365 days a year, says a Northrop Grumman executive who spoke to Flightglobal at India's Defexpo 2012 in New Delhi.
BAMS would be particularly useful for India because it is optimised to operate in conjunction with the Boeing P-8A Poseidon, of which India has ordered eight examples designated as the P-8I Neptune.
New Delhi is increasingly turning to unmanned systems to patrol its vast ocean frontiers, which include the Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean and Bay of Bengal. In January 2011, the Indian navy stood up its second UAS squadron, which will operate Israel Aerospace Industries-supplied Herons and Searcher IIs over the northern Arabian Sea.