The Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) approved a $251 million contract to Boeing Global Services [BA] to procure the P-8I Training Solution, including a 10-year comprehensive maintenance service, the government said Jan. 4.
The P-8I is India’s variant of the Boeing P-8A Poseidon, which the U.S. Navy uses as a long-range maritime patrol and reconnaissance missions with anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and anti-surface warfare capabilities.
This new contract was approved by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
India inducted its first P-8I into the Navy in 2013 and currently has eight aircraft based at INS (Indian naval air station) Rajali. In 2016 the MoD issued a follow-on order for four more Poseidons, set to start delivery in 2020.
In June Boeing said it won a three-year contract to continue supporting the P-8Is through field and logistics service representatives, engineering, support, and planning services.
The MoD described the P-8I as “capable of thrusting a punitive response and maintaining a watch over India's immediate and extended areas of interest.”
The ministry said the Training Solution service simulates P-8I aircraft and mission systems. It highlighted this procurement “will help Indian Navy train and realistically rehearse for sophisticated missions involving P-8I aircraft, at a fraction of the cost of live aircraft training.”
Boeing spokeswoman Lisa Maull told sister publication Defense Daily that the company’s P-8 training system provides equipment, software, courseware, personnel, and logistics support for realistic and comprehensive training.
She said this contract specifically includes a tailored curriculum for the Indian Navy, integrated learning experience combining classroom and simulation education, realistic simulators, a full motion simulator, and support to maintain the simulators and courseware.
All of this training work will be integrated into a new 60,000 square foot civil “P-8I facility specifically built for Indian Navy military training needs,” Maull said.
The Defence Ministry said this facility will be called the Training, Support and Data Handling Centre and the procurement also includes an on-site comprehensive annual maintenance contract lasting for ten years.
The facility will include an operational flight trainer, weapons tactics trainer, ordnance load trainer, virtual maintenance trainer, data management and training console, electronic aircrew classrooms, and electronic maintenance classrooms.
The MoD said the dedicated maintenance simulator would be commissioned at the Naval Institute of Aeronautical Technology (NIAT) in Kochi for training technical personnel.
The completed training facility is planned to be commissioned at INS Rajali by March 2021.
“The overarching goal is to allow crews to achieve real-world proficiency without consuming valuable airtime life, impacting aircraft availability, consuming fuel or stores and affecting the environment,” Maull said.
Indian is Boeing’s second international customer for this kind of P-8 training system after the Royal Australian Air Force became the first in 2015. Australia’s set of trainers and simulators are planned to be delivered later in 2018. In 2016 Australia chose Boeing to provide P-8 maintenance training devices, also the first international sale of P-8A maintenance training.
The company has provided a P-8A training system to the U.S. Navy since 2011 at the Integrated Training Center at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Fla.