The Indian Navy will induct four more Boeing P-8I Neptune advanced maritime patrol/anti-submarine warfare (ASW) aircraft this May, according to Indian Navy sources.
This appears to confirm earlier reports this year that the first of the four aircraft will be delivered in the middle of 2020. “Based on the contract, the first of the four aircraft will be delivered in mid-2020 and the remaining three in 2021” a Boeing Spokesperson was quoted as saying by the Economic Times on February 17.
“These aircraft will also be in the same configuration as the earlier eight aircraft,” the Navy source was quoted as saying by The Hindu on March 18. “Plans are on to install encrypted communication systems on the earlier ones.”
The Indian government and Boeing concluded a $2.1 billion contract for the purchase of eight P-8I aircraft in 2009 making India the first international customer of an export variant of the maritime patrol aircraft. The Indian Ministry of Defense (MoD) placed a $1.1. billion follow-on order for four additional P-8Is in 2016. The Indian MoD approved the procurement of 10 more P-8Is in June 2019.
The P-8I is equipped with some of the most modern U.S. anti-submarine warfare (ASW) technology including a Telephonics APS-143 OceanEye aft radar system and a cutting-edge magnetic anomaly detector The APS-143 is not present on the original P-8A Poseidon in use by the U.S. Navy.
The aircraft is also armed with U.S. weapons systems including Harpoon Block-II missiles and MK-54 lightweight torpedoes. The aircraft are all data-linked with Indian submarines in order to have the capability to pass on information about enemy vessels.
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