A tender is expected to be floated by next month and the aircraft could be procured in the next 18 to 24 months, Union Minister for Earth Sciences Harsh Vardhan told PTI.
The aircraft, which is likely to cost around Rs 150 crore, will be bought by the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM-Pune), an institute under Ministry of Earth Sciences, for conducting experiments related to cloud observation, cloud and aerosol interaction and study gases in the upper layer of the atmosphere, among other things.
India will be one of the few nations in world and perhaps the only one in South and Southeast Asia to have such an aircraft. India currently hires such aircraft from private parties and possessing the plane would enable scientists to work at their own pace.
"The aircraft will have all the necessary equipment for carrying out experiments and can accommodate 2-3 people. We are ready with the Request for Proposal document and a global tender should be floated by next month," Harsh Vardhan said. M Rajeevan, Secretary, MoES said the decision on which aircraft to buy was likely to be taken by the end of this year.