For the procurement of MK 45 torpedoes along with expendables for the Indian Navy, a contract has been signed with the United States government by the Ministry of Defence on 21 October 2021.
At a cost of around ₹423 crores, the deal was signed under the Foreign Military Sale (FMS) to procure the MK 45 torpedo and expendable (Chaff and Flares) as per the official release issued.
Outfit of the P-8I
According to the release, the weapons are the outfit of the P-8I aircraft which is used for Anti-submarine warfare, Long-range Maritime Surveillance and Anti-surface warfare.
The P-8I aircraft is manufactured by the U.S. based aerospace company Boeing and currently, the Indian Navy has 11 P-8I aircraft in its fleet. The P-81 aircraft is known for its advanced maritime reconnaissance in addition to its Anti-submarine warfare capabilities.
The P-8I is armed with torpedoes, Harpoon anti-ship missiles along other weapons and is a customized export variant of the P-8A featuring equipment specified for the Indian Navy.
An in-flight refuelling system has also been fitted in the aircraft. Several anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, humanitarian, and search and rescue missions are performed by the aircraft variants P-8A Poseidon and the P-8I.
The aircraft is capable of dropping and monitoring sonobuoys while it can also operate in conjunction with other assets including Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton maritime surveillance UAV.
Earlier deals in the P-8I
The 11th P-8I was received by the Indian Navy from Boeing a few days back while a total of 22 of these aircraft have been planned to be purchased by the Indian Navy in the next few years to keep a close check on the Chinese movements in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) especially on their submarines.
A contract for eight P-8I aircraft was signed by the Defence Ministry back in 2009, followed by another contract signed in 2016 for four additional P-8Is.
The aircraft had become an integral part of the Indian Navy and was inducted in 2013 while it has already surpassed 30,000 flight hours since the time of its induction as per official records.