Indian Navy & Coast Guard for briefing on Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey
Top sources indicate the Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard have asked
for technical briefings on the V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft from Bell
and Boeing. The Indian military has been impressed by the demonstrated
capabilities of V-22, but has so far stopped short of expressing any
overt interest in considering a purchase, despite feelers from Boeing.
Boeing conducted a second level of detail presentation to the Indian
military establishment (first the Navy) in 2013 on one of the most
remarkable -- but also controversial -- aircraft ever built. Sources
reveal that following a request by an Indian delegation at the Dubai Air
Show in 2014, Boeing made its official V-22 pitch for India. The navy
announced its interest in acquiring a fixed-wing AEW platform for its
aircraft carriers (first the INS Vikramaditya, then the two
indigenous aircraft carriers). While Northrop-Grumman has pitched the
E-2 Hawkeye for nearly a decade now, the navy is understood to be
intrigued by the flexibility being offered by the V-22. With vertical
take off and transition into fixed wing flight, it appears to take care
of both the navy's big quandaries in such a qualitative requirement.
Fixed wing flight provides much greater range and speed, while vertical
launch and recovery precludes the requirement of a catapult launcher
(under consideration for the second indigenous aircraft carrier). In the
first presentation that Boeing made to the navy on the V-22 (which was
more for troop lift operations as part of the marine brigade concept
with the Army), it showed slides demonstrating that the aircraft's wings
could rotate to align with the fuselage, with the engine nacelles
upright and rotors folded back to save space on a crowded carrier deck.
Be that as it may, the Osprey is still a large aircraft, and the navy
will have to study other parameters before looking any further. It is to
be expected that the Osprey will also be pitched at the paramilitary
forces, IAF, the CoastGuard and Army for various other requirements. For
the flexible operations approach, the V-22 may play an important role.