The Indian Navy has exercised its option for an additional four Boeing P-8I long-range maritime reconnaissance aircraft to boost its maritime patrol capabilities to counter piracy threats in the Indian Ocean.

“The Indian Navy has received the necessary government approvals and has decided to go ahead with the contractual processes to acquire four additional P-8I aircraft under the options clause, navy public relations officer Commander PVS Satish said.

The deal is expected to range between $1bn-$1.5bn, which would also include the cost of aero-structures and avionics.

Indian Defence Ministry sources have not confirmed the other global defence vendors for the deal, however, it is expected that Russia’s Ilyushin, France’s Dassault and EADS could be in the race.

The P-8I is a variant of the P-8A Poseidon, which Boeing is developing for the US Navy, according to the Economic Times.