India plans to acquire four additional Boeing P-8I Poseidon long-range maritime patrol aircraft, defence ministry sources have revealed.
“The new P-8Is will cost the same as each of the eight ordered in January 2009, without any cost escalation. In the original $2.1bn contract, the offsets were valued at over $600m,” sources said.
The P-8Is are capable of anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare, surveillance missions, and are equipped with torpedoes, depth bombs and Harpoon missiles.
The aircraft will be customised to meet Indian Naval requirements, with communication, electronic warfare and other systems being sourced from India.
India is filling gaps in its maritime snooping capabilities in the Indian Ocean region (IOR), according to the Times of India.
Currently, the navy operates a reconnaissance fleet of eight aging Russian Tupolev-142M turboprops and five upgraded Ilyushin-38SD aircraft, a dozen Israeli Heron and Searcher-II spy drones, and a few Dornier-228 squadrons.