Indian Navy Boeing P-8I Maritime Aircraft: US defence and aerospace giant Boeing has delivered the 11th long range maritime reconnaissance patrol aircraft to Indian Navy, the company announced on Monday. Indian Navy was the first international aircraft for the long-range patrol and anti-submarine aircraft, which was inducted in the navy in 2013.
The patrol aircraft is an integral part of the Indian Navy’s fleet and has surpassed 30,000 flight hours since it was inducted in 2013.
“This is the third aircraft to be delivered under an option contract for four additional aircraft that the Indian Ministry of Defence awarded in 2016. The Indian Navy was the first international customer for the P-8 and today operates the largest non-US fleet,” Boeing said in a statement.
The P-8 is also operated by the US Navy, the Royal Australian Air Force and the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force.
In addition to unmatched maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare capabilities, the P-8I has been deployed to assist during disaster relief and humanitarian missions.
Boeing supports India’s 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.
Boeing is completing construction on the Training Support & Data Handling (TSDH) Centre at INS Rajali, Arakkonam, in Tamil Nadu, and a secondary center at the Naval Institute of Aeronautical Technology, Kochi, as part of a training-and-support package contract signed in 2019.
The indigenous, ground-based training will allow the Indian Navy crew to increase mission proficiency in a shorter time, while reducing the on-aircraft training time resulting in increased aircraft availability for mission tasking.
Indian Navy’s Boeing P-8I Maritime Patrol Aircraft
India, which was a traditional user of Russian-Soviet origin aircrafts and other hardware, decided to acquire the long-range maritime patrol aircraft from the US to keep track of ever increasing Chinese submarine activity in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).
The earlier order was for 8 P-8I aircraft but in 2016 Indian Navy placed another order for 4 more long-range patrol aircraft from Boeing.
The 11th P-8I is the third of the four additional P-8I aircraft ordered by India under the options contract signed by the ministry of defence in 2016.
Indian Navy has operated the Boeing P-8I aircraft from Andaman and Nicobar Islands, located close to Malacca Straits.
According to reports, Indian military also used P-8I aircraft to carry out surveillance and reconnaissance activity in Eastern Ladakh region where Indian Army is pitted against the Chinese PLA in a tense stand-off since April-May 2020.
The US defence and aerospace giant has supplied C-17 Globe Master heavy transport aircraft, P-8I maritime patrol aircraft, Apache attack helicopters and Chinook multi-role helicopters to Indian military.
The company has also offered its FA-18 Super Hornet fighter to Indian Navy for its indigenous carrier INS Vikrant (IAC-1) that recently completed its maiden sea trials.
In the statement, Boeing said it was focused on delivering value to Indian customers with advanced technologies and is committed to creating sustainable value in the Indian aerospace sector – developing local suppliers, and shaping academic and research collaborations with Indian institutions.
Boeing has more than 275 partners in India and a joint venture to manufacture fuselages for Apache helicopters. Boeing’s annual sourcing from India stands at around $1 billion.
Boeing currently employs 3,000 people in India, and more than 7,000 people work with its supply chain partners.