The tender for mid-range recon aircraft will be attended by American Boeing and Lockheed Martin, Swedish Saab, French Dassault Aviation, Brazilian Embraer, and European concern EADS, reports The Times of India. Possible date of the contract signing was not mentioned.
According to India's specification, new airplanes must be armed with various types of missiles and torpedoes capable to destroy surface ships and submarines. Flight range of the airplanes must be about 650 km. To compare, flight range of P-8I exceeds 2,000 km.
Procurement contract for eight P-8I Poseidon airplanes to overall amount of $2.1 bln was tied between India and Boeing in 2009. Expectedly, another contract for 4 P-8I would be signed in March 2012. It was reported in Dec 2011 about India's intentions to bring overall number of patrol aircraft Poseidon up to 24.
According to sources of The Times of India, in the next few years India will spend about INR 850 bln ($17 bln) for procurement of naval aviation. This sum includes contract with Russia for 45 deck-based fighters MiG-29K to be stationed on aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya (former Russian Admiral Gorshkov).