The Indian Navy has taken on-site delivery of the first of its ordered eight Boeing P-8i long-range maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare aircraft. The order was placed on January 1, 2009.
Indian Navy pilots are training on this aircraft in the USA, and expect to ferry this aircraft to India around May 2013.
The Boeing P-8I is a long-range anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance aircraft first developed for the US Navy, as a replacement to the ageing P3C Orion, on the successful Boeing 737 airframe.
The P-8I has been customised for India, and the platform’s electronics are crucially required in plugging the huge gaps in the Indian Navy’s maritime monitoring and surveillance capabilities. The P-8I will also be armed with the deadly, anti-ship, Harpoon missiles, torpedoes and depth bombs to give them potent anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare capability.
The P-8I will replace the ageing and fuel-guzzling Russian Tupolev-142Ms of the Indian Navy. Presently, the Navy uses the TU-142Ms, IL-38SDs and Dorniers for surveillance operations in the Indian Ocean region.
Boeing is expected to deliver two more P-8Is during 2013.