Local manufacturing of fighter and reconnaissance aircraft is not on the indigenization agenda of the Indian Navy for the next 15 years.
India has a huge requirement of carrier borne fighter aircraft as it is building its indigenous aircraft carrier and has another bigger carrier on the drawing board besides a steadily growing requirement for maritime surveillance planes.
The 15 year indigenization plan of the Indian Navy, released last week details naval platforms, helicopters, radars and missiles to be made in India over the in the 2015-30 timeframe. However there is no mention of either fighter aircraft or reconnaissance as part of the make-in-India thrust.
The plan document, under the aviation equipment sub-category has listed Naval Utility Helicopters (NUH) and Naval Multi Role Helicopters (NMRH) and Deep repair facilities for older generation aircraft TU 142M, IL-38, Sea-king and Kamov, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and Micro UAVs but it is silent on indigenization plans for aircraft.
The indigenization plan was first prepared and promulgated in 2003, in keeping with the induction plan of new platforms. This plan is reviewed after every five years, with the last revision undertaken in 2008.
Indian Navy's aviation wing currently operates fixed wing, rotary wing and UAV types of aircraft. Indian Navy has 33 Mig-29K fighter aircraft, 11 BAE Systems Sea Harriers, 19 maritime patrol aircraft (7 Boeing P-8 Poseidon, 5 Ilyushin Il-38, 8 Tupolev Tu-142), 33 utility aircraft (25 Donrnier Do 228, 8 Britten-Norman Islanders), 37 trainers (17 BAE Hawks, 20 HAL HJT-16 Kiran), 101 helicopters (14, Kamov Ka-31 Helix B, 14, Kamov Ka-28 Helix A, 27 Westland Sea Kings, 8 Sikorsky Sh-3 Sea Kings, 8 HAL Dhruvs, 30 HAL Chetak) IAI Heron I and II UAVs.
The entire list of the products in the Indian Naval Indigenization Plan (INIP) has been covered under the categories, float, move and fight.
Arrestor wires, aircraft lifts, composite super structures, Paints for Underwater Hull, Flight Deck and Radar Absorption, Foldable Aircraft Hangar Door, Bow Sonar Dome are some of the items listed under ‘float’ category.
Gas Turbines, Propulsion Diesel Engines, Marine Gearboxes, Propellers – Both Fixed and Controllable Pitch, Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) are some items listed under the ‘move’ category.
Surface to Air Missile, Surface Surveillance Radar, Air Early Warning Radar, Satellite Communication System (SATCOM), Aviation Control Suites, Fire Control Systems, Integrated Mast & Control System for Submarines, Mine Hunting and Portable Diver Detection Sonars, Light and Heavy Weight Torpedoes, Towed Array Sonars, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles/ Remotely Operated Vehicles/ Autonomous Underwater Vehicles, Global Positioning Systems, Inertial Navigation Systems, Super Rapid Gun Mounts (SRGMs) are some of the items listed under ‘flight’ category.