Boeing [BA] recently delivered the 12th P-8I maritime patrol aircraft earlier this month, the company said on Feb. 24.
This aircraft was the fourth of four aircraft delivered to India under a contract option. India received its first P-8I in 2013 as part of an eight aircraft deal signed in January 2009. It then signed an option for four more aircraft in July 2016. The 12th aircraft, delivered on Feb. 19, is the final aircraft for the second part of the agreement.
The company said the P-8I has thus far exceeded 35,000 flight hours since induction in 2013. The P-8I is used for maritime surveillance and reconnaissance, anti-submarine warfare, and disaster relief/humanitarian missions.
Last year, the State Department approved an additional $2.4 billion foreign military sale for six more P-8Is. At the time, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency said the additional aircraft will allow the Indian Navy to expand maritime surveillance capability for the next 30 years (Defense Daily, April 30, 2021).
“With this delivery of the P-8I maritime patrol aircraft, we continue to nurture this partnership and are fully committed to working closely with India’s defense forces to deliver the right value and capabilities to meet their operational needs,” Surendra Ahuja, managing director of Boeing Defense India, said in a statement.
Boeing noted the Indian Navy is the first international customer for a variant of the P-9 Poseidon aircraft and it has since been produced and delivered to other international clients including the Royal Australian Air Force, U.K. Royal Air Force and Royal Norwegian Air Force.
The company said it is committed to efforts to manufacture, sustain and support elements of the P-8 within India.
Boeing Defense India (BDI) “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,” the company said.
Several aircraft components like the radar fingerprinting system, IFF (I/T) and datalink, speech secrecy system, mobile satcom system and wire harnesses are made in India by supplier partners.
Boeing said it is currently finishing construction on the Training Support & Data Handling Centre at Indian Naval Air Station (INS) Rajali, Arakkonam, in Tamil Nadu, and a secondary center at the Naval Institute of Aeronautical Technology, Kochi. Both are part of a training and support package contract signed in 2019.