The Indian Navy has taken delivery of its ninth P-8I Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft, aircraft manufacturer Boeing announced November 18.
The ninth P-8I is the first aircraft to be delivered under an option contract for four additional aircraft that the Indian defense ministry placed in 2016. The Indian Navy was the first and is the largest international customer for the P-8 and recently completed seven years of operating the fleet.
The patrol aircraft is an integral part of the Indian Navy’s fleet and has surpassed 25,000 flight hours since it was inducted in 2013. In addition to maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare capabilities, P-8I have been deployed to assist during disaster relief and humanitarian missions.
“Our focus has been, and will be, on delivering the world’s best maritime patrol aircraft to the Indian Navy,” said Surendra Ahuja, managing director of Boeing Defence India. “The P-8I, with its exceptional maritime surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities, versatility and operational readiness, has proven to be an important asset to the Indian Navy. We remain committed to supporting the modernization and mission readiness of India’s defense forces.”
Boeing is currently completing construction of the Training Support & Data Handling Centre at INS Rajali, Arakkonam, Tamil Nadu, and a secondary center at the Naval Institute of Aeronautical Technology, Kochi, as part of a training and support package contract signed in 2019. The indigenous, ground-based training will allow the Indian Navy crew to increase mission proficiency in a shorter time while reducing the on-aircraft training time resulting in increased aircraft availability for mission tasking.
P-8A is a derivative of a modified Boeing 737-800ERX commercial liner. The Poseidon can have internal and external stations for AGM-84H/K SLAM-ER, AGM-84 Harpoon, and the Mark 54 torpedo with a High Altitude Anti-Submarine Warfare Weapon Capability (HAAWC) system.
In addition to India, the Poseidon is, or will be, in service with the US Navy, New Zealand, Australia, the UK, South Korea, and Norway.