The Indian Navy is the first international customer for the P-8, which is a variant of the P-8A Poseidon that Boeing is developing for the US Navy. In January 2009 Boeing was selected to provide eight P-8I long-range maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare aircraft to the Indian navy. The first aircraft arrived in India on the 15 May 2013 and as of 2015 all eight aircraft had been inducted into the Indian Navy and are fully integrated into its operations. The aircraft are based at INS Rajali, and are operated by Indian Naval Air Squadron 312A. Some reports suggest that eventually as many as 12 aircraft in total might be procured. India is the first international customer for the P-8, which will be fitted with a MAD and datalink system designed locally by Bharat Electronics. Boeing believes there are numerous other opportunities for international sales to countries currently operating P-3s or similar maritime patrol aircraft.
The P-8I aircraft, based on the Boeing 737-800(NG) airframe, is the Indian Naval variant of the P-8A Poseidon of the US Navy. The aircraft is equipped with both foreign as well as indigenous sensors for Maritime Reconnaissance, Anti Submarine operations and for Electronic Intelligence missions. The aircraft is fully integrated with state of the art sensors and highly potent Anti Surface and Anti Submarine weapons. The IN was in process of acquiring an additional four P-8I aircraft. The induction of the P-8I aircraft into the Indian Navy would greatly enhance India’s maritime surveillance capability in the Indian Ocean Region. The planned induction of twelve P-8I Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft to add more teeth to this capability.
The Indian Navy engaged in exploratory talks with Boeing for involvement in the P-8A Poseidon (formerly known as Multi-mission Maritime Aircraft or MMA) program. Boeing was reportedly negotiating a direct commercial sale of eight P-8As to India to meet its requirement for an interim long-range maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare aircraft.
The P8I is equipped with both foreign as well as indigenous sensors for maritime reconnaissance, anti-submarine operations and electronic intelligence missions. The aircraft is fully integrated with state of the art sensors and highly potent anti-surface and anti-submarine weapons. The induction of these aircraft into the Indian Navy has provided a quantum leap to India’s maritime surveillance capability in the Indian Ocean Region and enhanced the Navy’s strategic reach.
Based on the company’s Next-Generation 737 commercial airplane, the P-8I is the Indian Navy variant of the P-8A Poseidon that Boeing developed for the U.S. Navy. In order to efficiently design and build the P-8I and the P-8A, the Boeing-led team is using a first-in-industry, in-line production process that draws on the company’s Next-Generation 737 production system. The P-8I features open system architecture, advanced sensor and display technologies, and a worldwide base of suppliers, parts and support equipment. P-8I aircraft are built by a Boeing-led industry team that includes CFM International, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, Spirit AeroSystems, BAE Systems and GE Aviation.
The first of the LRMR aircraft would be delivered within four years of the contract being actually signed, with the rest being handed over by 2015. India would get the first P-8I towards end-2012 or early-2013, with the other seven following in a phased manner by 2015-2016. The LRMR planes will replace the eight ageing and fuel-guzzling Russian-origin Tupolev-142Ms.
Customised for India and based on the Boeing 737 commercial airliner, the radar-packed P-8I aircraft would go a long way in plugging the huge gaps in Navy's maritime monitoring capabilities with a range of over 600 nautical miles. The P-8 is a modification of the P-8A Poseidon Multi-Mission Maritime Aircraft currently being developed for US Navy. It is a tailored version for the Indian Navy. The aircraft will bolster Indian Navy's maritime patrolling capabilities and extend its reach upto 600 nautical miles. It is fitted with weapons like torpedoes, depth bombs and anti-ship missiles.
The Boeing P8I, a Long Range Maritime Reconnaissance Anti-submarine Warfare (LRMR/ASW) aircraft of the Indian Navy, made its maiden landing at the INS Utkrosh airfield on Tuesday, 06 August 2013. Piloted by the Squadron Commander (designate), Commander HS Jhajj, the aircraft under call sign ‘IN 321’ was welcomed to the islands by the Commander-in-Chief, Andaman & Nicobar Command, Air Marshal PK Roy, AVSM, VM, VSM, ADC at an event that was attended by senior officers of the Unified Command. The aircraft that landed here is the same that arrived in India in May this year. It is the first of the eight aircraft that are being procured under a contract signed in 2009 and is based on the Boeing 737-800 platform. The Aircraft is based at INS Rajali, Arakkonam. P8I crew with Air Marshal PK Roy, Commander-in-Chief, Andaman & Nicobar Command.
Indian Naval Aviation received a major fillip with the arrival of the first of eight Boeing P-8I Long Range Maritime Reconnaissance and Anti Submarine Warfare aircraft at Naval Air Station Rajali, Arakkonam, Tamil Nadu on 15 May 2013. Vice Admiral Bimal Verma, AVSM, Chief of Staff, Eastern Naval Command presided over the induction ceremony that was also attended by Commodore Puneet Bahl, Commanding Officer, INS Rajali, representatives from the Command and Integrated Headquarters, Ministry of defence (Navy).
Boeing delivered three P-8I long-range maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare aircraft to the Indian Navy in 2013, with three aircraft deliveries expected in 2014 and two aircraft deliveries expected in 2015. Boeing is building eight P-8I aircraft for the Indian Navy as part of a contract awarded in january 2009. The first P-8I aircraft arrived on schedule at India Naval Station Rajali on May 15, 2013. The second P-8I was delivered to the Indian Navy on November 15 and the third P-8I in November 22, enhancing that country’s long-range maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare capabilities.
In July 2015 Boeing terminated a contract with state-run Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) for component supplies to the former’s war and commercial planes being inducted into the Indian Navy. Boeing’s decision came after repeated reminders to HAL about its “poor quality” of production.
Giving a boost to the firepower and arsenal of the Indian Armed Forces, the Defence Minister Shri Manohar Parrikar dedicated the Boeing P-8I (P-8 India) Long Range Maritime Patrol aircraft to the nation on 13 November 2015, at an impressive ceremony held at INS Rajali, Arakkonam, India’s premiere Naval Air Station in southern India, about 70 Km off Chennai. Even in the short phase of trials and testing, the P-8I aircraft had achieved a number of operational milestones which includes participation in the search effort for Malaysian Airlines Flight MH 370, the first successful firing of air launched Harpoon Block II missile in the world, torpedo firing and active participation in major naval exercises.
India on 27 July 2016 signed the $1.1 billion deal with Boeing to buy four more Poseidon-8I long-range maritime patrol aircraft. India had earlier purchased eight P-8Is from Boeing in a $2.2 billion. The contract was inked during the ongoing visit of US Under Secretary for Defence on Acquisition Frank Kendall, and was seen as an indication of the growing Indo-US defence ties. The first aircraft will be delivered in 50 months.
The Indian Navy had originally asked for 10 P-8I aircraft in a bid to deploy more spy planes to crucial points in the Indian Ocean region under “Mission Based Deployment”. However, in November 2019 the Defence Ministry trimmed the purchase of Boeing-made P-8I spy planes by half for the Indian Navy. Earlier, the Navy had planned to purchase 10 long-range anti-submarine warfare aircraft from the American manufacturer at a cost of around $3 billion. The ministry approved the procurement of only six P-8I aircraft for the Navy against the earlier plan of 10 such planes. A commercial contract worth around $1.8 billion was expected to be finalised in 24 months.
This purchase would be in addition to the earlier contracted 12 planes a decade ago. The decision to reduce the purchase was made amid concerns raised by the Navy over budget cuts for modernisation, especially against the backdrop of massive resources deployed by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy.
Out of the 12 contracted P-8I aircraft, eight have been delivered to India while four others are expected to join the Navy in three years. India has already made permanent base for P-8I planes on Andaman and Nicobar Islands, an Indian archipelago in the Bay of Bengal, to monitor the movements of ships/vessels from the Strait of Malacca, one of the world's major maritime choke-points and a primary shipping route for Chinese vessels. India’s government auditor Comptroller & Auditor General (CAG), responsible for scrutinising government expenditures, had noted down in a 2018 report that the aircraft does not fully meet the Indian Navy’s operational requirements.
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