Indian Navy press release
The impressive ceremony was conducted at INS Hansa, Goa on 29 March 2022. Adm R Hari Kumar, the Chief of the Naval Staff was the Chief Guest for the event.
Addressing the gathering, Adm R Hari Kumar stated that India is the ‘Preferred Security Partner’ in the Indian Ocean region which reflects our country’s ability to play an effective strategic role in the region, and needs to expand its operational reach. The Indian Navy is integral to this commitment and in pursuance of this objective, the commissioning of INAS 316 marked yet another milestone towards enhancing maritime security and surveillance in the Indian Ocean Region.
INAS 316 has been christened ‘Condors’ which are one of the largest flying land birds with a massive wingspan. The insignia of the squadron depicts a ‘Condor’ searching over the vast blue expanse of the sea. ‘Condors’ are known for excellent sensory capabilities, powerful and sharp talons, and large massive wings symbolizing the capabilities of the aircraft and envisaged roles of the squadron.
INAS 316 will operate the Boeing P-8I aircraft, a multi-role Long Range Maritime Reconnaissance Anti-Submarine Warfare (LRMR ASW) aircraft, that can be equipped with a range of Air-to-Ship Missiles and Torpedoes. The ‘Game Changer’ aircraft is a potent platform for Maritime Surveillance and strike, Electronic warfare missions, Search and Rescue, providing targeting data to Weapon platforms, providing time-critical surveillance information for IA and IAF, and is also the platform of choice for detecting and neutralizing enemy ships and submarines in Indian Ocean Region.
The squadron has been specifically commissioned to be the home for the four new P-8I aircraft procured under the Options Clause contract and to ‘Deter, Detect and Destroy’ any threat in the IOR. These aircraft have been operating from Hansa since 30 December 2021 and the squadron is integrated with full-spectrum surface and subsurface Naval Operations.
INAS 316 is commanded by Commander Amit Mohapatra, an accomplished Boeing P-8I pilot with extensive operational experience. He has also flown maritime air platforms such as IL-38 and Dornier 228 and also Commanded INS Baratang as well as served as the Executive Officer of INS Tarkash.
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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 battlespace.
The P-8I is a customized export variant of the P-8A featuring specific equipment 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.