This announcement follows the Indian government’s approval to buy six more P-8Is in November 2019.
According to the notice published by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) on 30 April 2021, the Government of India has requested to buy six (6) P-8I Patrol aircraft; eight (8) Multifunctional Information Distribution System-Joint Tactical Radio Systems 5 (MIDS-JTRS 5) (6 installed, 2 spares); forty-two (42) AN/AAR-54 Missile Warning Sensors (36 installed, 6 spares); and fourteen (14) LN-251 with Embedded Global Positioning Systems (GPS)/Inertial Navigations Systems (EGIs) (12 installed, 2 spares). Also included are CFM56-7 commercial engines; Tactical Open Mission Software (ITOMS) variant for P-8I; Electro-Optical (EO) and Infrared (IR) MX-20HD; AN/AAQ-2(V)l Acoustic System; ARES-1000 commercial variant Electronic Support Measures; AN/APR-39D Radar Warning Receiver; AN/ALE-47 Counter Measures Dispensing System; support equipment and spares; publications; repair and return; transportation; aircraft ferry; training; U.S. Government and contractor engineering, software, technical, and logistics support services; and other related elements of logistical and program support. The total estimated program cost is $2.42 billion.
The Indian Navy procured eight P-8I aircraft from Boeing in January 2009, via Direct Commercial Sale and contracted for an additional four aircraft in July 2016. The first P-8I aircraft were delivered to the Indian Navy in 2013, providing interoperability and critical capabilities to coalition maritime operations. This proposed sale of an additional six P-8I aircraft will allow the Indian Navy to expand its maritime surveillance aircraft (MSA) capability for the next 30 years. India will have no difficulty absorbing these aircraft into its armed forces.
The United States last year approved an FMS of Harpoon anti-ship missiles and MK 54 lightweight torpedoes for the P-8Is of the Indian Navy.
About Indian Navy’s P-8I Neptune MPA
The P-8A is a long-range multi-mission maritime patrol aircraft capable of broad-area, maritime and littoral operations. A military derivative of the Boeing Commercial Next-Generation 737 airplane, the P-8A combines superior performance and reliability with an advanced mission system that ensures maximum interoperability in the battle space.
The P-8I is a customized export variant of the P-8A featuring specific equipments for the Indian Navy. Two major components not fitted on the P-8A are a Telephonics APS-143 OceanEye aft radar and a magnetic anomaly detector (MAD). India has received eight of the P-8I variant to date with four more in production to be delivered from April 2020. It intends to procure six more aircraft.
The P-8A is militarized with maritime weapons, a modern open mission system architecture, and commercial-like support for affordability. The aircraft has been modified to include a bomb bay and pylons for weapons – two weapons stations on each wing – and can carry 129 sonobuoys. The aircraft is also fitted with an in-flight refueling system. With more than 180,000 flight hours to date, P-8 variants, the P-8A Poseidon and the P-8I, patrol the globe performing anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; humanitarian; and search and rescue missions.
The United Kingdom is one of six international customers for the P-8A Poseidon. The first British Poseidon MRA Mk1 was delivered in 2019. The U.S. Navy is on contract to receive 128. As a cooperative partner with the Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Program Office, Australia began receiving their P-8A aircraft in 2016 with eight delivered and four more in production; Norway will begin receiving their five P-8As in 2022; both New Zealand and South Korea have signed agreements with the U.S. Navy to purchase four and six aircraft respectively.