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Mon, Jan 10, 2005

France's ATR Joins Race To Provide Maritime Surveillance Planes

It's A VERY International Competition

If you lined them all up in a single room, it would be a rogue's gallery of military aerospace contractors: Dassault, CASA, SAAB, Embraer, Antonov, Ilyushin, Dornier, Bombardier and Lockheed Martin. Now France's ATR has joined this august crowd, all hoping to sell India a couple of maritime surveillance aircraft.

At this point, Boeing seems to be the only major player not in the loop, according to Indian media reports.

"The two surveillance aircraft will be used by the Coast Guard for patrolling the territorial waters surrounding the Indian coastline," said CEO Filippo Bagnato, head of Avions de Transport Regional (ATR), in an interview with India's IANS.

What's India looking for on this contract? IANS quoted sources in New Delhi as saying, "The criteria for short-listing the surveillance aircraft will be the airworthiness of the twin-engine plane and its sub-systems in a tropical weather that prevails in the sub-continent round the year," sources said.

India's new maritime surveillance aircraft must also have an STOL capability, have a range of 2,000 NM and cruise at approximately 180 KTS.

A decision on a supplier is expected from New Delhi later this year.


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