The Indian Government has approved the establishment of three new Naval Air Squadrons of Dornier aircraft in the states of Gujarat and Tamil Nadu to bolster the country’s coastal security.
The government has also sanctioned hiring personnel for manning additional aircraft in existing Dornier Surveillance Squadrons in Kerala and Andaman Islands.
In December 2016, it awarded a contract to Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for the procurement of 12 Dornier aircraft. Delivery of the aircraft is expected to begin this month.
The HAL-built indigenous maritime surveillance version of the Dornier 228 aircraft are fitted with improved sensors and equipment including a glass cockpit, advanced surveillance radar, ELINT, optical sensors and networking features.
The Indian Navy expects to use the aircraft to enhance maritime domain awareness through continuous sensor based surveillance.
In addition, the aircraft will provide targeting data in areas of operation to tackle terror and other sea-based threats.
This will ensure greater surveillance of India’s coastline, which spans more than 7,000km.
In October last year, the defence ministry approved a mid-life upgrade of 17 Dornier aircraft of the Indian Coast Guard.
The Do-228 is a multi-role light transport aircraft designed and developed by HAL in partnership with RUAG Aerospace to perform utility and commuter transport, third level services and air-taxi operations, coast guard duties and maritime surveillance.