Coastal Sur­veil­lance


Mod­erni­sa­tion of Avi­a­tion Wing

The op­er­a­tional pre­pared­ness and coastal se­cu­rity mech­a­nism of the In­dian Coast Guard was re­viewed by De­fence Min­is­ter, Nir­mala Sithara­man on Novem­ber 17, 2018. While do­ing so, the De­fence Min­is­ter stressed on its mod­erni­sa­tion by 2022 through the De­fin­i­tive Ac­tion Pro­gramme of the Min­istry of De­fence which en­vis­aged ac­qui­si­tion of 43 ships, 20 air­craft and other fa­cil­i­ties. The Re­view Meet­ing of the De­fence Min­istry’s Con­sul­ta­tive Com­mit­tee was at­tended by Min­is­ter of State for De­fence, Dr Sub­hash Bhamre, MPs from Lok Sabha and Ra­jya Sabha, In­dian Coast Guard Di­rec­tor Gen­eral Ra­jen­dra Singh along with se­nior of­fi­cials of MoD.

De­fence Min­is­ter Sithara­man re­it­er­ated that the In­dian Coast Guard con­tin­ues to dis­charge a silent but in­valu­able ser­vice to the nation and she lauded the ef­forts of all per­son­nel of Coast Guard for its mul­ti­ple suc­cess­ful search and res­cue mis­sions, hu­man­i­tar­ian aid, as­sis­tance to fish­er­men and in­creased sur­veil­lance ca­pa­bil­ity.


The In­dian Coast Guard (ICG) is the prin­ci­pal agency for en­force­ment of pro­vi­sions of all na­tional en­act­ment in force in the Mar­itime Zones of In­dia (MZI) and pro­vides fol­low­ing ser-

Whilst the re­cast 11th de­vel­op­ment plan on a 15 years long per­spec­tive was fast tracked for ap­proval of the Gov­ern­ment, the con­se­quen­tial ac­qui­si­tion and pro­cure­ment pro­cesses have been quite tardy which may be detri­men­tal to the en­vis­aged ca­pa­bil­ity build plan for the nation’s coastal se­cu­rity.

vices to the nation and ma­rine com­mu­nity:

in­stal­la­tions and other struc­tures in In­dia’s mar­itime zones. sea while in dis­tress.

in­clud­ing preven­tion and con­trol of mar­itime pol­lu­tion. - ties in anti-smug­gling op­er­a­tions. The need for a full-fledged Air Wing for In­dian Coast Guard (ICG) was felt right from the time of its in­cep­tion. The first ICG avi­a­tion unit to be com­mis­sioned was 800 SQN on May 22, 1982, with two Chetak he­li­copters at Goa.

The first fixed wing squadron of In­dian Coast Guard was com­mis­sioned with two Fokker Friend­ship (F-27) air­craft on July 30, 1983. Th­ese air­craft were taken on dry-lease from In­dian Air­lines. Th­ese air­craft did a yeomen ser­vice to ICG through their tire­less op­er­a­tions from Dum Dum Air­port in mar­itime sur­veil­lance and search and res­cue roles cov­er­ing the

The first planned in­duc­tion in­cluded 12 fixed wing air­craft for coastal sur­veil­lance and six sin­gle en­gine he­li­copters to sup­port ships at sea. The first Dornier squadron was com­mis­sioned as 750 Squadron (ICG) at Da­man in Jan­uary 1987.

The first full-fledged Air Sta­tion was com­mis­sioned at Da­man on Oc­to­ber 29, 1987. Since then the fol­low­ing air squadrons/flights have been in­ducted into the ser­vice and are lo­cated as shown in the box.

The pri­mary role of th­ese squadrons in­cludes search and res­cue and em­barka­tion on board he­li­copter op­er­at­ing ships to un­der­take the fol­low­ing mis­sions:


The present force lev­els of the Avi­a­tion Wing of ICG com­prises 39 Dornier, Do-228 coastal sur­veil­lance air­craft, four twinengine Dhruv Ad­vanced Light he­li­copters and 19 Chetak sin­gleengine he­li­copters. As per its as­sessed re­quire­ment in 2007-08, ICG had pro­jected a re­quire­ment of 154 ships and 93 boats.

Since the for­ma­tion of Avi­a­tion Wing in May 1982 and nearly two decades later, in a com­pre­hen­sive Long-Term Per­spec­tive Plan 2002-12, the Coast Guard en­vi­sioned its avi­a­tion as­sets to be en­hanced to 100 air­craft. Post Mum­bai 26/11 and in a ma­jor re­vamp of the coun­try’s coastal sur­veil­lance and se­cu­rity ap­pa­ra­tus, ICG had pro­jected a force-level of 268 ves­sels, in­clud­ing 173 small pa­trol craft, 113 air­craft, 18 Nis­hant un­manned radars by 2017. The avi­a­tion com­po­nent of the pro­jected force lev­els com­prised; 60 he­li­copters, 35 Dornier, Do-228 air­craft for coastal sur­veil­lance, an in­crease in the in­ven­tory then ex­ist­ing of 24 air­craft and 11 Medium Range, Mar­itime Re­con­nais­sance (MRMR) air­craft. The plan also en­com­passed com­men­su­rate in­crease in the man­power strength to man the aug­mented avi­a­tion as­sets of ICG.

As a short-term mea­sure, Cab­i­net Com­mit­tee on Se­cu­rity on Fe­bru­ary 26, 2010 ac­corded sanc­tion for the ac­qui­si­tion of 60 sur­face plat­forms and 42 air­craft which was to be pro­cessed

11th de­vel­op­ment plan for 2007-12 was re­cast on a 15-year per­spec­tive span­ning from 2007-2022.

The ap­proved mod­erni­sa­tion plans for ICG Avi­a­tion, broadly in­cluded 42 air­craft, prom­i­nent among them be­ing six MRMR air­craft. The ICG ver­sion of MRMR air­craft be­ing Multi-Mis­sion Mar­itime Air­craft (MMA). In re­sponse to RFP for six MMA only two lead­ing air­craft man­u­fac­tur­ers, the Rus­sian Irkut’s Beriev Be-200 and the Amer­i­can Bom­bardier Q400, whose bids were con­form failed to qual­ify the strin­gent field eval­u­a­tion tests. Con­sid­er­ing the strate­gic im­por­tance of MMA, ICG is pur­su­ing MoD for ex­pe­di­tious is­sue of fresh RFP for six MMA.

RFP for eight he­li­copters for coastal sur­veil­lance and search and res­cue (SAR), two each to be based at Chennai, Kochi, Da­man and Port Blair were is­sued. The ten­der en­vis­aged ini­tial lease pe­riod of two years, ex­tend­able to two more years. Ini­tially, RFP was is­sued to four ma­jor he­li­copter man­u­fac­tur­ers, i.e. French the same was can­celled for tech­ni­cal rea­sons. To elicit re­sponse from a larger seg­ment of he­li­copter man­u­fac­tur­ers and the op­er­a­tors, both of In­dian and for­eign ori­gins, a fresh RFP was is­sued in early 2011 to as many as 16 ven­dors. In re­sponse, only Siko­rsky and Agusta West­land re­sponded to the ten­der. While the present sta­tus of the dry-lease pro­gramme is not known, how­ever, it is un­der­stood that there is no head­way be­ing made.

In ad­di­tion, a $200 mil­lion RFP for 16 twin-en­gine light he­li­copters to be de­ployed on ICG ships to aug­ment aerial pa­trol and sur­veil­lance, as also the SAR ca­pa­bil­i­ties has been ap­proved by the MoD. The RFP was is­sued to four lead­ing he­li­copter man­u­fac - ven­dors qual­i­fied dur­ing the tech­ni­cal eval­u­a­tion, fresh RFI has been is­sued. Con­sid­er­ing the ur­gent re­quire­ment for ship borne flights this pro­gramme de­serves to be fast-tracked. Fur­ther, there are re­ports to sug­gest that RFP for pro­cure­ment of ad­di­tional 14 twin-en­gine shore-based he­li­copters for ICG is at fi­nal stage for ap­proval by the Gov­ern­ment.

The mod­erni­sa­tion plan for ICG Avi­a­tion is an in­te­gral part of the ma­jor re­vamp of coastal se­cu­rity ap­pa­ra­tus prompted by the events of Mum­bai 26/11. Whilst the re­cast 11th de­vel­op­ment plan on a 15 years long term per­spec­tive was fast tracked for ap­proval of the Gov­ern­ment, the con­se­quen­tial ac­qui­si­tion and pro­cure­ment pro­cesses have been quite tardy which may be detri­men­tal to en­vis­aged ca­pa­bil­ity build plan for the nation’s coastal se­cu­rity. Source: SP’s MAI, Is­sue No. 14; July 16-31, 2012 - In­dian Coast Guard – Avi­a­tion.


The De­fence Ac­qui­si­tion Coun­cil (DAC), re­cently chaired by De­fence Min­is­ter Nir­mala Sithara­man has ac­corded ap­proval for the Mid Life Up­grade of 17 Dornier Air­craft of ICG at an ap­prox­i­mate cost of ` 950 crore. The up­grades will be car­ried out sur­veil­lance and re­con­nais­sance air­craft, DAC has ac­corded ap­proval for upgra­da­tion of Dornier Do-228 with the state-ofthe-art tech­nol­ogy, spares, Spe­cial Main­te­nance Tools (SMT) and of three air­craft with Pol­lu­tion Sur­veil­lance Sys­tems.

A decade after the Mum­bai 26/11 ter­ror strikes, the Coast Guard’s long-de­layed mod­erni­sa­tion plans are fi­nally be­gin­ning to take wings. ICG plans to aug­ment its force lev­els to a 190-ship and 100-air­craft by 2023. To take the mod­erni­sa­tion plans for­ward ICG has pro­jected an out­lay of ` 2.09 lakh crore the per­spec­tives might ap­pear, it re­mains to be seen what ICG even­tu­ally gets through the 2017-2022 – Long-term Per­spec­tive Plan! It may be a mute ques­tion since over the years the an­nual de­fence bud­get has wit­nessed ei­ther no growth or has in­creased very marginally.

MoD last year has ap­proved a ` 36,068 crore “De­fin­i­tive Ac­tion Pro­gramme (2017-2022)” for the Coast Guard to bol sur­veil­lance, anti-piracy, anti-smug­gling, oil-spill and pol­lu­tion­con­trol op­er­a­tions. It is hoped that the hon­oured com­mit­ments will be kept, en­sur­ing that the com­mit­ted pro­grammes will be ef­fi­ciently ex­e­cuted.




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