The growing tensions between Beijing and New Delhi are obviously taken very seriously by the Indian authorities, which are increasing the procedures for acquiring defense equipment, sometimes under emergency procedures, from its international partners. This is particularly the case of the United States, to which New Delhi has just notified a request for price (RFP) concerning 6 new Maritime P8i patrol aircraft, in addition to the 8 already in service and the 4 units ordered in 2016. The contract is estimated at $ 1,8 billion. Initially, the order had to be for 10 devices additional, as announced last year by the Indian Defense Committee. But the conjunction of the economic crisis linked to Covid19, and the reorientation of the budget arrears linked to Sino-Indian tensions, will have reduced the number of aircraft to 6. At the same time, the Indian Air Force has launched a procedure to emergency acquisition for 6 Predator-B drones, in order to strengthen the surveillance capacities of the border with China.
Obviously, the Indian military is satisfied with the 8 P8i in service since 2012, devices intended to replace the fleet of Tu-142s which have become obsolete. Carrying a complete detection kit combining the APS-143 Ocean Eye maritime surveillance radar, an AN / ALQ-240 wiretapping system and multispectral electro-optical systems, the device is intensely used for maritime surveillance and anti-submarine warfare both on all the maritime facades of the subcontinent, but also, like the French Atlantique 2 in Mali, in electronic surveillance above Ladakh, in the Himalayan range, or tensions with Beijing are the strongest.
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