When will In­dian Navy Get US-2?

SP's NavalForces - - AMPHIBIOUS AIRCRAFT - RO­HIT SRI­VAS­TAVA

at a time when China is in­creas­ing its pres­ence in the In­dian ocean re­gion, In­dia has not been able to fi­nalise the pro­cure­ment of much re­quired am­phibi­ous air­crafts

In­dIa Is wary of the Chi­nese navy mak­ing in­road into the In­dian ocean re­gion (Ior). In last few years, the Chi­nese foot print has in­creased in the Ior re­gion and they are very close to op­er­at­ing their very first naval base in the Ior at Gwadar, Pak­istan. In au­gust last year, there were 14 Chi­nese naval ves­sel de­ployed in the In­dian ocean. at any given time, on an av­er­age, there are seven Chi­nese ships and at least one nu­clear sub­ma­rine in the Ior. This is ex­ert­ing tremen­dous pres­sure on the sur­veil­lance as­sets of the In­dian navy.

Ex­plain­ing the navyÕs op­er­a­tional role in the Ior, navy Chief ad­mi­ral su­nil Lanba, in pre­vi­ous an­nual press con­fer­ence, said, ÒPrime Min­is­ter has ini­ti­ated Ôse­cu­rity and Growth for all in the re­gionÕi.e. sa­Gar, and we have, be­ing net se­cu­rity provider in the Ior, based on these ini­tia­tives, re­ex­am­ined the de­ploy­ment and phi­los­o­phy. we are now on a Mis­sion-Based de­ploy­ment where as­sets are de­ployed in our mar­itime ar­eas of in­ter­est. we had an on­go­ing de­ploy­ment since oc­to­ber 2008 in the Gulf of aden. we now have a con­stant pres­ence of a ship de­ployed in an­daman sea and mouth of Malacca straits. we have ships on de­ploy­ment in the Gulf of oman, the Per­sian Gulf, the north ara­bian sea, the north Bay of Ben­gal, and the strate­gi­cally im­por­tant straits of Lom­bok.Ó

Òat the same time our long range mar­itime pa­trol air­craft are also de­ployed to cover our ar­eas of in­ter­est. all this is to en­sure that we have (an ef­fec­tive) pres­ence in our ar­eas of in­ter­est and we have mar­itime do­main aware­ness. all the ingress and egress routes to the Ior are cov­ered and we are op­er­a­tionally avail­able to re­act to any emerg­ing sit­u­a­tion,Óhe added.

navy is also called to carry out hu­man­i­tar­ian re­lief in the lit­toral states. dur­ing many such oper­a­tions lack of airstrip on an is­land can lead to mas­sive de­lay in pro­vid­ing the much needed re­lief. sim­i­larly, in an op­er­a­tion cac­tus like sit­u­a­tion, a small is­land run­way may not sup­port a large mil­i­tary air­craft car­ry­ing troops and weapons lead­ing to de­lays in tac­ti­cal op­er­a­tion with strate­gic out come. In these con­tin­gen­cies, an am­phibi­ous air­craft can come very handy. They can pro­vide much needed op­er­a­tional flex­i­bil­ity to mil­i­tary plan­ners.

In­dia which has global am­bi­tion and calls it­self a re­gional power needs to have as­sets and ca­pa­bil­ity to re­spond to all kinds of con­tin­gen­cies. In­dia can­not af­ford to re­quest for as­sis­tance from ex­ter­nal power in its area of in­flu­ence and its time In­dia should start ac­quir­ing as­sets and ca­pa­bil­i­ties to be­come an op­er­a­tionally self suf­fi­cient na­tion. To this ef­fect, In­dia as­pires to ac­quire am­phibi­ous air­craft. In­dian navy is­sued the re­quest for in­for­ma­tion (rfI) for am­phib­ian air­craft in 2011. shinMaywa In­dus­tries Ltd, Ja­pan re­sponded to the rfI of­fer­ing the Us-2 am­phib­ian air­craft.

Ja­pan, in 2014, lifted ban on ex­port of de­fence equip­ment to an­other coun­try. an Indo-Ja­panese join work­ing group has been dis­cussing the pos­si­bil­ity of sale of Us-2 air­craft to In­dia since 2013. Ini­tially, In­dia is ex­pected to buy 12 air­craft for In­dian Navy with op­tion for an­other five.

dur­ing Prime Min­is­ter naren­dra ModiÕs visit to Ja­pan, in septem­ber, 2014, In­dia and Ja­pan agreed to Òac­cel­er­ate progress in the dis­cus­sions and prepa­ra­tions for a road map for the de­vel­op­ment of the In­dian air­craft in­dus­try through Us-2 am­phib­ian air­craft co­op­er­a­tion in­clud­ing the trans­fer of the air­craft and its tech­nol­ogy to In­dia.Ó

as re­ported ear­lier by SPÕs Naval Forces, a tech­nol­ogy scan of avail­able am­phib­ian air­craft clearly shows that the Us-2 alone meets and in many cases ex­ceeds these op­er­a­tional re­quire­ments. with an abil­ity to op­er­ate in sea state 5, land­ing/take-off dis­tances at about 300 m, tran­sit speeds in ex­cess of 550 kmph and a range of 4,500 km there is no other air­craft in its class. Com­bined with the worldÕs only bound­ary layer con­trol sys­tem on a cargo and trans­port air­craft, spray sup­pres­sion fea­tures, marinised tur­bo­prop en­gines, glass cock­pit, pres­surised cab­ins and a highly so­phis­ti­cated sur­veil­lance and com­mu­ni­ca­tion suite the Us-2 stands out as a prod­uct of renowned Ja­panese tech­nol­ogy. with an ac­ci­dent free record it is tes­ti­mony to high qual­ity and sound de­sign. The Us-2 has proven cre­den­tials of suc­cess­ful oper­a­tions in sea state 5 with sur­round­ing wave height of 4 me­tres and a wind ve­loc­ity of about 40 kts at a dis­tance of about 1,200 km from main­land Ja­pan.

as per the fact sheet later cir­cu­lated by the Min­istry of for­eign af­fairs, Ja­pan the Us-2 co­op­er­a­tion seeks to con­cur­rently ad­vance the aero­nau­tics in­dus­try in­clud­ing main­te­nance, re­pair and over­haul and parts man­u­fac­tur­ing of Us-2 in In­dia. The Us-2, it is learnt, may also be per­mit­ted to be ex­ported to third coun­tries un­der mu­tual agree­ment. It is ev­i­dent that the co­op­er­a­tion on the Us-2, be­tween In­dia and Ja­pan is at the in­ter­na­tional level of im­mense di­plo­matic and strate­gic im­port, whilst at the do­mes­tic level the down­stream ben­e­fits are across the mil­i­tary, tech­no­log­i­cal, eco­nomic and so­cial sec­tors.

In spite of Ja­panÕs of­fer­ing con­ces­sional the $1.6 bil­lion deal is not cut­ting much ice with the min­istry which thinks this air­craft is more of lux­ury than ne­ces­sity. The de­cline in de­fence cap­i­tal bud­get has fur­ther weak­ened its case. The air­craft was to be man­u­fac­ture in In­dia and help in de­vel­op­ing In­dian avi­a­tion in­dus­try. But with the de­lay the very pur­pose is get­ting de­feated.

In the mean time, Chi­naÕs un­der­de­vel­op­ment am­phibi­ous air­craft aG600 made its first maiden flight on De­cem­ber 24, 2017. Code name ÔKun­longÕaG600, con­sid­ered as the worldÕs big­gest air­craft of its kind, made its sec­ond flight on Jan­uary 24 in south Chi­naÕs Zhuhai city of Guang­dong prov­ince.

The 39.6-me­tre-long air­craft, with wing­span of 38.8-me­tre is be­ing de­vel­oped by the state-owned avi­a­tion In­dus­try Cor­po­ra­tion of China (aVIC). The 53-tonne air­craft can take 50 peo­ple to ev­ery part of south China sea. aVIC has al­ready re­ceived 17 or­ders from do­mes­tic cus­tomers.

It is high time that govern­ment should de­cide on the am­phibi­ous air­craft re­quire­ment of In­dian navy. The navyÕs re­quire­ment for multi-role he­li­copter, land­ing plat­form dock and ad­di­tional mar­itime re­con­nais­sance air­craft are also get­ting de­layed. Un­like these, Us-2 just needs govern­men­tÕs ap­proval. rest ev­ery­thing, more or less, has been worked out. The govern­ment can­not spend years dis­cussing the deal with ven­dor with­out be­ing sure whether it wants the hard­ware or not. This at­ti­tude is go­ing to harm In­dian in­ter­est in long term. Govern­ment need to worry.

The US-2 co­op­er­a­tion seeks to con­cur­rently ad­vance the aero­nau­tics in­dus­try in­clud­ing main­te­nance, re­pair and over­haul and parts man­u­fac­tur­ing of US-2 in In­dia

PHO­TO­GRAPH: ShinMaywa

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