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IAF plans to procure amphibious aircraft

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Boeing P-8I long range maritime surveillance aircraft to be deployed in IAF

NEW DELHI (PTI): To keep an eye on uninhabited islands and carrying out search and rescue missions over the country's maritime zone, the Indian Air Force is planning to induct amphibious aircraft in its fleet.

"We are planning to procure six amphibious aircraft for reconnaissance of islands and search and rescue missions," IAF officials said here.

The process to procure the amphibious aircraft, which can take-off from and land on water, has already been initiated with the issuing of a global Request for Information (RFI) by the Defence Ministry, they added.

"We also plan to use the aircraft for inter-island communication and rapid response duties during emergencies such as a tsunami or reaching out to people stranded on islands or ships in the sea," officials said.

The IAF wants an aircraft which should have a short take-off capability with a range of at least 800 nautical miles so that they can cover a long range, they added.

Canadian Bombardier and Russian Beriev are expected to receive the Request for Proposal (RFP), which is expected to be issued by the IAF soon.

In the recent past, India has enhanced its focus on increasing aerial vigilance over itís over huge maritime zone and islands situated there.

In 2009, India signed a deal worth USD 2.1 billion for procuring eight P-8I long range maritime surveillance aircraft and is also planning to procure new medium range aircraft for the Coast Guard for reconnaissance and surveillance.

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