Indian Navy’s long-range reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare aircraft P8i made its maiden landing at Car Nicobar island on Friday.
Car Nicobar land is part of Andaman and Nicobar archipelago of India which is located some 1,500 kilometers south-east to Chennai in India and provides a good vantage point for protecting Indian interests in Malacca Strait and beyond.
The decision to operate P8i anti-submarine and surveillance aircraft from Nicobar island gives Indian navy huge tactical advantage in monitoring the traffic in Malacca Strait and beyond and it is in sync with the SAGAR – Security and Growth for All in the Region’ policy of Prime Minister Modi.
The P-8i is a customized version of US Navy’s P8A for the use by Indian Navy.
The P-8i is a long-range anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft capable of broad-area, maritime and littoral operations.
The Indian Navy was the first international customer for this aircraft when it signed a contract in 2009 for eight long-range maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare aircraft.
The ability to operate this long-range surveillance aircraft from Andaman and Nicobar islands near Malacca straight will provide Indian Navy the capability to monitor the activity of friendly and hostile navies in this strategically located passage.
The first aircraft arrived in India in May 2013 and all 8 aircraft have been inducted into the Indian Navy.
This week, a P8A of US navy has called on India Navy’s IANS Hansa base located in Goa in Western India under an expert exchange programme.
The P8A aircraft of US Navy and its crew was stationed in Goa for several days and also conducted a search and training mission in cooperation with Indian Navy’s P8i aircraft.