The Indian Navy has completed ten years of its first Boeing P-8I maritime patrol aircraft since it was delivered in 2012. In the decade, the Navy has grown its P-8I fleet to 12 aircraft, surpassing 35,000 flight hours. In fact, The Indian navy is the only Asian aircraft operator of the Boeing P-8I. According to the reports, the Indian government is keen to have more P-8I aircraft in line of make in India in defence.
The maritime capability of Boeing’s P8I
Boeing P-8I aircraft is a multi-role Long Range Maritime Reconnaissance Anti-Submarine Warfare (LRMR ASW) aircraft. The P8I can be equipped with a range of Air-to-Ship Missiles and Torpedoes.
There are only two variants of the P-8: the P-8A Poseidon and the P-8I.
The aircraft is a potent platform for maritime surveillance and strike, electronic warfare missions, search, and Rescue, providing targeting data to weapon platforms, providing time-critical surveillance information.
In addition to that, several complex and mission-critical P-8I components such as the radar fingerprinting system, datalink, speech secrecy system, mobile satcom system and wire harnesses make it the most advanced ISR aircraft.
According to the Indian navy, it is also the platform of choice for detecting and neutralising enemy ships and submarines in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR). For the operational part, a squadron has been specifically commissioned to be the home for the four new P-8I aircraft procured under the Options Clause contract and to ‘Deter, Detect and Destroy’ any threat in the IOR. These aircraft have been operating from Hansa since 30 December 2021 and the squadron is integrated with full spectrum surface and subsurface Naval Operations.
More orders (Make in India)
While Boeing has delivered all twelve aircraft to India, the government might go for another set of aircraft. This will be in the line of make in India
Already, Indian defence entities are involved in the supply chain process. The leading Indian companies such as Bharat Electronics
According to the sources, such orders will further boost the domestic capabilities in India.