An IDC Report


New Delhi, 18 January 2006

IN 305 on task

The Indian Navy's maritime surveillance and aviation capability received a big boost with the return of the first MR/ASW Ilyushin-38 aircraft from Russia, after extensive modernisation and refurbishment. It may be recalled that out of 5 IL 38s acquired over 20 years ago, two were lost in an air crash over Goa in August 2002 during an air display, with the loss of 12 experienced pilots and crew. The remaining three IL-38s were aging, with the Navy resorting to cannibalization to keep MR alive along with the larger TU 142s, which take a longer time to be prepared for sorties, compared to the agile IL-38s. The Navy therefore had ordered two additional older IL-38s from Russia, but with extensive modernization and also sent the three in India to Russia for modernisation.

The first refurbished aircraft, equipped with new state-of-the-art sensors and weapons package arrived at the naval air station INS Hansa, Dabolim on 15 January.

The first IL-38 SD aircraft of Indian Navy, IN 305, is fitted with multi-functional "Sea Dragon Mission Suite", Zhei augmenting its independent capability for search, detection, localisation and tracking of aerial, surface and subsurface targets and destruction of surface and subsurface targets. The Sea Dragon comprises multifunctional radar, finger printing electronic surveillance system, anti-submarine system, magneto-metric system, Infra Red & TV System, C4I2 capable tactical system, anti ship system with capability to launch bombs, torpedoes and air to surface missiles possibly the Kh-31. The combined features and functions of the mission suite surpass the capability possessed by any MR air platform in the Indian Navy.

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