India’s prestigious airfield modernization project for the Armed Forces will be witnessing a contribution from Northrop Grumman’s Europe-based air traffic management subsidiary, Northrop Grumman Park Air Systems, as it provides a host of navigation equipment to India. The $ 243.11 million contract for Modernization of Air Field Infrastructure (MAFI) project was awarded to Tata Power SED who will source a range of navigation equipment from the Europe-based subsidiary of Northrop Grumman.
As per the contract awarded to Tata Power SED this April, the first phase of the MAFI project will involve Northrop Grumman Park Air Systems supplying 30 NORMARC 7000 ILS (Instrument Landing System) and 31 NORMARC Doppler VHF Omni-directional Range Systems (DVOR) systems with deliveries to be completed in 42 months. The decision to opt for NORMARC navigational equipment re-asserts Northrop Grumman’s enviable position in the global aerospace sector and its excellence in providing ground-based navigational aids. The supply of this equipment for MFI project via Tata Power SED will double the size of installed NORMARC ILS base in India. The value of the contract is yet to be disclosed.
Northrop Grumman Air Park Systems is providing the NORMARC ILS or instrument landing system for the modernization of Indian air bases. The NORMAC ILS is installed at 700 airports worldwide. The NORMARC 7000 ILS systems are designed to be cost-effective and easy to install and operate. It was developed in 1995 and has since gone through several updates and upgrades to become the most reliable and precise ILS on the market. The NORMAC DVOR systems are also reputed to provide ultimate flight safety for controllers and pilots.
The first phase of the MAFI contract was won by Tata Power SED against a global tender of the Defence Ministry and signalled a milestone for the private sector and its role in the lucrative defence sector of India. The MAFI project for the Indian Air Force (IAF) envisages the revamping of air fields in the country to facilitate all types of aircraft, including modern jet fighters and military transport aircraft currently being acquired. The idea is to ensure that the airfields are equipped with advanced air traffic management, navigation and landing systems, and meteorological and communications facilities. As per the plan, the 30 IAF airbases that will be modernised under MAFI include eight key airfields along the Sino-Indian border such as Chabua, Tezpur and Hashimara. The current contract provides an option for a second phase of the program for modernizing a further 30 airfields operated by the Indian armed forces. The option clause allows the ministry to invite Tata Power SED to execute the second phase of MAFI at a pre-determined rate. However, the defence ministry has not yet announced the award of this contract.
As for Northrop Grumman, it has been working with the Indian armed forces and Indian industry for over two decades and supports India in a variety of defence and civil applications including air traffic control communications systems and radars for IAF, unmanned ground vehicles for the Indian Army and marine navigation systems for the Indian Navy.