India signs $56-million deal with US for P-8I naval spy plane weapons

Photo: Indian Navy’s P-8I long range maritime surveillance aircraft.

New Delhi: India today said it has signed a $56-million contract with the United States to buy torpedo and missile counter-measures for its navy’s P-8I long range maritime surveillance aircraft from the Boeing Co. stable.

The Rs 423-crore procurement of the MK 54 Torpedo from American defence firm Raytheon Missiles and Defense and Expendable (Chaff and Flares) was done for the Indian Navy through the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) route of the US government, the Ministry of Defence said in a statement.

“These weapons are the outfit of P-8I aircraft, which is used for Long Range Maritime Surveillance, Anti-Submarine Warfare and Anti-Surface Warfare (ASV).”

On Oct. 18, Boeing Co. said it is continuing to expand the Indian Navy’s long-range maritime reconnaissance anti-submarine warfare capabilities with the delivery of the country’s eleventh P-8I.

The patrol aircraft is an integral part of the Indian Navy’s fleet and has surpassed 30,000 flight hours since it was inducted in 2013.

This is the third aircraft to be delivered under an option contract for four additional aircraft that India’s defence ministry awarded to Boeing Co. in 2016.

The Indian Navy was the first international customer for the P-8 and now operates the largest non-US fleet. The P-8 is also operated by the US Navy, the Royal Australian Air Force and the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force.

In addition to unmatched maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare capabilities, the P-8I has been deployed to assist during disaster relief and humanitarian missions.

Boeing supports India’s growing P-8I fleet by providing training of 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.

Boeing is completing construction on the Training Support and Data Handling Centre at INS Rajali, the Arakkonam-based naval air station, in Tamil Nadu, and a secondary centre at the Naval Institute of Aeronautical Technology, at 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.

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Categories: Defence, Diplomacy, Indian Navy, Industry, Modernisation, Procurement

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