The Aviation Research Centre (ARC) that comes under the Cabinet Secretariat is keen to acquire four V-22 tilt-rotor Osprey aircraft from the US through the government to government military sales route.
The ARC needs the Ospreys for personnel evacuation in hostile conditions, logistic supplies and deployment of Special Frontier Forces (SFF) on the borders. As of now eight Ospreys have been inducted by the US for Nepal earthquake relief and rehabilitation. The total deal would worth be around $300 million.
Impressed by the use of Ospreys by US Special Forces in Afghanistan, the ARC is understood to have asked Bell-Boeing, the joint US manufacturer of the aircraft, for price and availability of the revolutionary tilt-rotor machine in late February this year.
This was after the agency showed interest in the aircraft last December. The cost and availability details were been supplied to the ARC for purchase under the Foreign Military Sales Route.
Used in Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan operations by US Marines, the Osprey has a distinvt advantage over conventional helicopters in terms of long range and higher speeds.
The aircraft has a range of over 1,600 km and reaches speeds of upto 450 kmph.
It can carry 30 fully armed troops for insertion or 12 patients on stretches with four medical attendants in case of medical evacuation. The plane can take off vertically like a helicopter or from a short runway. It is also used for transporting troops and supplies for main land bases to aircraft carriers on the high seas.
The ARC is a government agency that is specially tasked with surveillance, signal intelligence, and aerial reconnaissance using its own varied fleet of aircraft and special airports. One of the key tasks of the ARC is specialised evacuation of Indian personnel as is the transportation of the SFF troops in case of hostilities.