The US has approved the Foreign Military Sale to the Government of India of six P-8I Patrol aircraft and related equipment for an estimated cost of $2.42 billion. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) had notified the possible sale to the US Congress on 30th April.
“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,” states the DSCA release.
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 P-8I had replaced the ageing fleet of the Indian Navy’s Tupolev Tu-142 aircraft and has been deployed extensively including in the Himalayas against China.
The P-8I aircraft is a variant of the P-8A Poseidon multimission maritime aircraft (MMA) operated by the US Navy.
India had originally ordered for 8 P-8I aircrafts and subsequently exercised its options for four more. If the sale goes through, the Indian navy will have a fleet of 18 P-8I’s.