P-8I Patrol Aircraft:
Aircraft manufacturer Boeing has delivered the 12th P-8I long-range maritime patrol aircraft to the Indian Navy. This completes the follow-on clause for four additional P-8I aircraft contracted in 2016.
- P-8I Aircraft is a long-range Maritime Reconnaissance and Anti-Submarine Warfare Aircraft.
- It is an Indian variant of the P-8A Poseidon aircraft that Boeing company developed as a replacement for the US Navy’s ageing P-3 fleet.
- With a maximum speed of 907 kmph and an operating range of over 1,200 nautical miles, the P-8Is detect threats and neutralize them if required, far before they come anywhere near Indian shores.
- The Indian Navy became the first international customer for the P-8 aircraft in 2009.
- The Navy had procured eight P-8Is under a USD 2.2 billion deal in 2009. The aircraft are part of the 312A Naval Air Squadron based at Arakkonam in Tamil Nadu.
- In 2016, the Navy exercised the optional clause for four more P-8Is in a deal worth over USD 1 billion.
- Further in May 2021, the US State Department approved the possible sale of six additional P-8I aircraft and related equipment, to India.
- The six P-8Is will come installed with encrypted communication systems since India has now signed the foundational agreement Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) with the US.