India gets a new long-range P-8I patrol aircraft | India News – Times of India


NEW DELHI: The Navy on Wednesday received the first of the four new P-8I long-range maritime patrol aircraft, which are packed with sensors and weapons to hunt submarines, at its air station in Goa from the US.
The other three P-8I, under the $1.1 billion contract signed with the US in July 2016, will be delivered next year. While these four new P-8Is will be based at INS Hansa in Goa for the western seaboard, the eight such aircraft acquired earlier are deployed at INS Rajali in Arakkonam (Tamil Nadu) for the eastern one.
Though primarily meant to keep a hawk-eye on the Indian Ocean Region, India has been extensively using the P-8Is to track movements and build-ups of Chinese troops in eastern Ladakh as well. “The radars and electro-optic sensors on board the P-8Is are very advanced,” said an officer.
The first eight Boeing-manufactured P-8I aircraft, which are also armed with Harpoon Block-II missiles, MK-54 lightweight torpedoes, rockets and depth charges to “kill” enemy submarines, were inducted by the Navy under a $2.1 billion deal inked in January 2009.
With a maximum speed of 907 kmph and an operating range of 1,200 nautical miles, “with four hours on station”, the P-8Is provide the reach and flexibility to undertake extensive maritime surveillance and intelligence-gathering missions.
India, incidentally, is now also finalizing the acquisition of six more P-8Is for $1.8 billion from the US. These six planes will have more advanced systems as a result of India signing the COMCASA (Communications, Compatibility and Security Arrangement) pact with the US in September 2018, as was reported by TOI earlier.

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