Indian Navy P8I maritime patrol aircraft: US defence and aerospace giant Boeing Tuesday announced delivery of the 10th P8I maritime reconnaissance aircraft to Indian Navy. This is the second of four additional aircraft ordered by the ministry of defence under option clause signed in December 2016.
“Boeing is continuing to expand the Indian Navy’s long-range maritime reconnaissance anti-submarine warfare capabilities with the delivery of the country’s 10th P-8I,” the company said in a statement.
Boeing said these P8I patrol aircraft form an integral part of the Indian Navy’s fleet and have surpassed 30,000 flight hours since their induction in the force in 2013.
The Indian Navy was the first international customer for the P-8, which is also operated by the US Navy, the Royal Australian Air Force and the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force.
In addition to maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare capabilities, the P-8I has been deployed to assist during disaster relief and humanitarian missions.
India also deployed these long-range patrol aircraft on reconnaissance missions during its tense stand-off with China in Ladakh region last year.
Indian Navy also operated the long-range patrol aircraft from an airstrip located in Andaman and Nicobar Islands, the home to India’s tri-service command situated at some 1,355 kilometers east of Chennai.
Andaman and Nicobar islands provide a vantage point to Indian military to track hostile submarine patrols in Malacca Straits as it is located at some 1,300 kilometers from the choke point opening in the South China Sea.
The Malacca Strait is used extensively by Chinese navy and commercial vessels. Operation of P8I submarine hunter patrol aircraft shows India’s intention to counter Chinese influence in the region.
Boeing’s training, repair and maintenance support
Boeing said it supports India’s growing P-8I fleet by providing training to Indian Navy flight crews, spare parts, ground support equipment and field service representative support.
Boeing’s integrated logistics support has enabled a high state of fleet readiness at the lowest possible cost, said the company.
Boeing is currently completing construction of the Training Support & Data Handling Centre at INS Rajali, Arakkonam, Tamil Nadu and a secondary maintenance training center at the Naval Institute of Aeronautical Technology, Kochi, Kerala as part of a training and support package contract signed in 2019.
“This new indigenous, ground-based training will allow Indian Navy crew to increase mission proficiency in a shorter time while reducing on-aircraft training time resulting in increased aircraft availability,” the company added.