The Indian Navy has received its 11th anti-submarine warfare aircraft P-8I from the US aerospace giant Boeing, according to a statement issued on Monday by Indian Press.
The Indian Defence Ministry sealed its first contract to obtain eight P-8I aircraft in 2009. Later, in 2016, it signed another contract for four additional P-8I aircraft. As part of the second contract, this is the third aircraft that has been delivered, and there are talks of another batch of orders.
“This is the third aircraft to be delivered under the option contract for four additional aircraft that the Indian Ministry of Defence awarded in 2016,” the statement said.
“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,” it added. “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.”
The P-8i Neptune aircraft is a fundamental asset of the Indian Navy’s air surveillance fleet and has surpassed 30,000 flight hours since it was inducted in 2013. With extensive reconnaissance and surveillance over deep seas, the Indian Navy uses the aircraft to keep eye on strategic passes and lanes of the Indian Ocean Region.
Boeing, who is the prime contractor of these aircraft for India, has the commitment to supply an uninterrupted line of logistics and maintenance. Along with the US, UK, and Australia operating these birds, the Indian Navy is the second-largest operator of Neptune aircraft behind the US Navy.
The Indian Navy has used P8i in the majority of its Naval drills, including Malabar. The aircraft was subjected to a deeper range of surveillance on water and land, especially after the Galwan clash against Chinese aggression. The Indian Navy intends to have a larger fleet of these birds on the oceanfront to track hostile moments, especially in the strategic passes straight of Melecca. Since last year, the Indian Navy has increased naval surveillance exponentially, monitoring Chinese movement in these waters.