Defence Minister Rajnath Singh undertook a sortie in the P-8I long-range maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare aircraft of the Indian Navy during his visit to Mumbai, a Navy Spokesperson said on Wednesday.
The defence minister undertook the sortie on Tuesday hours after he launched two frontline warships of the Indian Navy at the Mazagon Docks Limited (MDL) in Mumbai.
“Witnessed Naval Air Ops onboard the P8I, ably conducted by young and dynamic men & women. Having experienced Long Range Maritime Surveillance &ASW capabilities firsthand, I am certain that our maritime interests are in safe hands of a Combat Ready, Credible & Cohesive #IndianNavy,” Singh tweeted on Wednesday.
Indian Navy Spokesperson Commander Vivek Madhwal said the flight crew for the sortie comprised two pilots and seven naval air operations officers including three women officers.
During the mission, long-range surveillance, electronic warfare, imagery intelligence, anti-submarine warfare missions and search and rescue capabilities employing the state-of-the-art mission suite and sensors were demonstrated, he said.
The P-8I aircraft with its superior maritime surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities and operational readiness has proven to be an important asset to the Navy.
Commander Madhwal said the induction of P8I aircraft commencing 2013, significantly enhanced the Indian Navy’s “persistent surveillance operations in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).” The P-8I aircraft is powered by twin jet engines and can be equipped with air-to-ship missiles and torpedoes.
The Indian Navy was the first international customer for the P-8 aircraft, which is produced by US aerospace major Boeing.
The aircraft is also operated by the US Navy, the Royal Australian Air Force, the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force and the Royal Norwegian Air Force.