Boeing delivered the ninth P-8I maritima patrol aircraft to the Indian Navy which is the first aircraft to be delivered under an option contract for four additional aircraft that the Indian Ministry of Defence placed in 2016.
The Indian Navy was the first and is the largest international customer for the P-8 and recently completed seven years of operating the fleet. In addition to maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare capabilities, P-8I have been deployed to assist during disaster relief and humanitarian missions.
“Our focus has been, and will be, on delivering the world’s best maritime patrol aircraft to the Indian Navy,” said Surendra Ahuja, managing director of Boeing Defence India. “The P-8I, with its exceptional maritime surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities, versatility and operational readiness, has proven to be an important asset to the Indian Navy. We remain committed to supporting the modernization and mission readiness of India’s defence forces.”
Boeing supports India’s growing P-8I fleet by providing training of Indian Navy flight crews, spares, ground support equipment and field service representative support. Boeing’s integrated logistics support has enabled the highest state of fleet readiness at the lowest possible cost.
The arrival of the multi-role aircraft from the US will enhance the aerial balance and sub-surface surveillance in India’s favour, naval officials said. The Indian Navy currently operates eight P-8I aircraft that are based at INS Rajali, Arakkonam in Tamil Nadu, and this is the first P-8I to be based on INS Hansa which is located at India’s west coast.
The Indian Navy has been put on complete operational alert and almost its entire Western and Eastern Fleet are out in the Indian Ocean Region as part of India’s response to Chinese aggression.
While the ninth aircraft was scheduled to be handed over to the Indian Navy in July this year, the Covid pandemic delayed plans. The remaining three are scheduled to be handed over to India in 2021.