In­dian in­ter­est in V-22 Osprey in­ten­si­fies

SP's MAI - - FRONT PAGE -

The In­dian armed forces ap­pear ready to con­sider the Bell-Boe­ing V-22 Osprey as a pos­si­ble fu­ture plat­form. What be­gan as a pre­lim­i­nary in­ter­est in the world’s only op­er­a­tional tilt-ro­tor air­craft has blos­somed into a spe­cific set of mis­sions that the In­dian ser­vices have flagged as pos­si­ble fu­ture Osprey roles in In­dia. While it has been known for a while that the In­dian Navy has shown pre­lim­i­nary in­ter­est in the Osprey as a po­ten­tial car­rier-borne AEW&C plat­form (and there­fore for car­rier on-board de­liv­ery), it is now known that the In­dian Air Force has asked for brief­ings on the air­craft for the com­bat search & res­cue (CSAR) and spe­cial forces roles.

The In­dian forces have also flagged spe­cific queries about the V-22’s abil­ity to fly to the coun­try’s is­land ter­ri­to­ries in the Bay of Ben­gal and Ara­bian Sea. The plat­form’s un­fu­elled range has elicited sharp in­ter­est. Af­ter ac­quir­ing the C-130J for the spe­cial op­er­a­tions role, the IAF is now ex­tremely keen on con­sid­er­ing the hugely flex­i­ble tilt-ro­tor role as it ex­pands its spe­cial forces ca­pa­bil­ity in tan­dem with the Army.

IAF sources in­formed SP’s M.A.I., “Af­ter a shaky start, the V-22 is now a proven plat­form with the US Marine Corps and it has demon­strated its ca­pa­bil­i­ties well in Iraq and Afghanistan. We have re­quested pre­lim­i­nary in­for­ma­tion based on cer­tain sce­nar­ios which we have ar­rived at, which could pos­si­ble be ad­dressed by a tilt-ro­tor air­craft like the V-22.” A team from Bell and Boe­ing held unof­fi­cial brief­ings with the In­dian armed forces of­fi­cials dur­ing the Aero In­dia 2013 show in Bengaluru.

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