The Indian Navy's new long-range maritime patrol aircraft, the Boeing P-8I has been inducted at INS Rajali Naval Air Station in southern India.
In January 2009, the Indian Navy awarded a contract to Boeing to deliver a total of eight P-8I maritime patrol aircraft, a variant of the P-8A Poseidon aircraft.
Dedicated by Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, the new aircraft is expected to complement the navy's air segment.
Describing the aircraft as one of the best in the world for surveillance, Parrikar said "the aircraft will provide the Indian Navy with the necessary reach and flexibility to undertake extensive surveillance as also to respond swiftly and effectively to contingencies in our areas of interest."
Based on Boeing's next-generation 737 commercial aircraft, the Indian Navy version of the US navy's P-8A Poseidon jet integrates Indian-built sub-systems that are customised to meet the country's maritime patrol necessities.
Incorporating advanced sensor and display technologies, in addition to open system architecture, the aircraft supports missions including anti-submarine warfare (ASW), anti-surface warfare (ASUW), intelligence, maritime patrol, surveillance and reconnaissance.
Capable of flying at a maximum speed of 789km/ph, the aircraft has a maximum range of 2,222km, and can reach a maximum altitude of 12,496m while accommodating a crew of nine.
The Boeing-led team for the design and development of the P-8I aircraft includes CFM International, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, Spirit AeroSystems, BAE Systems, and GE Aviation.
India took delivery of the first aircraft on 15 May 2013, and currently all eight aircraft have been inducted and are fully integrated into operations of the Indian Navy.
The aircraft are operated by Indian Naval Air Squadron 312A at INS Rajali.
Image: A Boeing P-8I maritime patrol aircraft at Naval Air Station Rajali. Photo: courtesy of Boeing.