The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), chaired by the defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday has approved Mid Life Upgrade of 17 Dornier Aircraft of Indian Coast Guard (ICG) at an approximate cost of Rs 950 crore.
The upgrades will be carried out by M/s Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), the aircraft manufacturer of India. The ICG has Dornier 228 which is a twin-engine turboprop, highly versatile multi-mission maritime patrol aircraft manufactured by HAL for the Indian Coast Guard. The aircraft is lightweight with a wide range of operating speeds and fuel efficient uniqueness. This high winged aircraft is operated by ICG in two variant in 228 – 100 and 228 – 200 series.
The Dornier 228 has quick role changing capability including Maritime Patrol & Surveillance; Pollution Contingency; Search & Rescue; and Medical Evacuation.
ICG’s primary is to protect the national interests in maritime zones of India which entails surveillance of sea areas of approximately 2.01 million square kilometres of India’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). ICG is also the nodal agency in India for maritime pollution response.
The Coast Guard which has a fleet of Dornier aircraft has a major role to play in the maritime surveillance too.
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To further strengthen the fleet keeping in mind the emerging challenges the ICG faces in the waters, the DAC gave its approval for upgradation of these aircraft with state-of-the-art technology, spares, Special Maintenance Tools (SMT) and Special Test Equipment (STE).
The fleet which is also which is the nodal agency in India for maritime pollution response, got approval for equipping of three of its aircraft with Pollution Surveillance Systems.
In 2016, the CCS had given its nod to the Indian Navy for buying 12 upgraded Dornier surveillance aircraft. These aircraft too are being manufactured at the HAL at Transport Aircraft Division (TAD) in Kanpur, which has produced more than 120 aircraft for the IAF, Navy, Coast Guard and to other export customers in Mauritius and Seychelles.
Maritime surveillance and patrol variants of the Do-228 have been upgraded to allow new state-of-the-art equipment to be fitted onboard as per the request of its customer the Indian Navy.
These include surveillance radar, FLIR (forward-looking infrared), ESM (electronic support measures), satellite communications, data links, speech secrecy equipment, TCAS (traffic collision avoidance system) and EGPWS (enhanced ground proximity warning system), among others.