NEW DELHI — India is expected to release a request for proposals soon for outsourcing maritime air surveillance of the country’s coastline.
“We are hoping the Request for Proposal will be out soon,” says Lee Griffiths, head of Cobham in India, which plans to bid on the work with an Indian partner.
The Australian government’s Border Protection Command entrusted Surveillance Australia, part of the Cobham Services Division, with maritime air surveillance of Australia’s borders. It was named the preferred bidder for a 12-year, A$1 billion contract over Raytheon Australia under a performance-based contract that lasts until 2020. The company provides a full turnkey operation with 10 modified Bombardier Dash 8 maritime patrol aircraft which each year fly 2,500 missions and 15,000 hr.
Cobham is taking its prospective Indian partner on the Indian surveillance contract to Australia to observe its operations,according to Griffiths. “The challenge here [in India] is to work through an Indian partner who will have to supply pilots, maintenance and own the aircraft,” Griffiths says. “The coast guard will also have to be convinced that it can give the contract to an Indian private company in alliance with an international private company to do surveillance.”
In Australia, every aspect of the special mission is covered by the Cobham service, from defining the concept of operations through aircraft selection and modification to sensor and equipment selection and integration with network enabled data systems, secure communications and satellite video links.
A comprehensive training program also is available for pilots and sensor operators, together with operations and maintenance personnel.
“We view this as a medium- and long-term project. Though we have competitors, we operate the largest contracted-out surveillance project in the world,” Griffiths adds.
Cobham says its Indian partner will also need to provide MRO services, “whether in Goa or Visakhapatnam.” It is likely its partner could be a third party MRO provider for the project.
Another challenging concern is India requiring a five-year contract, which many feel could increase the program’s cost.