Indian Navy’s Second P-8I Squadron INAS 316 ‘Condors’:
Recently, the Indian Navy commissioned its second P-8I aircraft squadron – Indian Naval Air Squadron 316 –at INS Hansa, Goa.
- P-8I is a long-range, multi-mission maritime patrol aircraft.
- The P-8I aircraft is a variant of the P-8A Poseidon multi-mission maritime aircraft (MMA) operated by the US Navy.
- It was designed to protect the coastline and territorial waters of India.
- It can conduct anti-submarine warfare (ASW), anti-surface warfare (AsuW), intelligence, maritime patrol, and surveillance and reconnaissance missions.
- In January 2009, Boeing was selected by the Indian Government to supply eight P-8I maritime reconnaissance aircraft to the Indian Navy.
- The contract also included an option for four additional aircraft.
- The first P-8I was delivered to the Indian Navy in December 2012.
- The remaining aircraft were delivered between 2013 and 2015.
- In mid-2016, India’s Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) approved the acquisition of the four additional P-8I aircraft from Boeing.
- Apart from India and the US, it has been chosen by six other militaries in the world.
- While the Indian Navy uses it for maritime operations, the aircraft was also used in eastern Ladakh in 2020 and 2021, when the standoff with China was at its peak, to keep an eye on Chinese troops and their manoeuvres.
- The Navy’s fleet has surpassed 29,000 flight-hours since their induction in 2013, and is responsible for coastal patrolling, search-and-rescue, anti-piracy, and supporting operations of other arms of the military.
- The first eight of these aircraft are stationed at INS Rajali in Arakkonam, Tamil Nadu, on the eastern coast.
- The batches of the additional four are part of another squadron at INS Hansa in Goa, named Indian Naval Air Squadron 316.
- Indian Naval Air Squadron 316 (INAS 316): A Squadron is an operational unit in an air force/army aviation/naval aviation consisting of two or more aircrafts and the personnel required to fly them.
- INAS 316 has been named ‘Condors’ after one of the largest flying land birds with a massive wingspan.
- Condors are known for excellent sensory capabilities, powerful and sharp talons and large massive wings symbolising the capabilities of the aircraft and envisaged roles of the squadron.
- This squadron has been specifically commissioned to be the home for the four new P-8I aircraft procured under the Option Clause contract and to ‘Deter, Detect and Destroy’ any threat in the IOR (Indian Ocean Region).