The Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has reportedly awarded a $1bn contract to Boeing to deliver four additional P-8I maritime surveillance aircraft for the Indian Navy.
The latest order is considered as a contract option to an initial $2.1bn contract awarded by India in 2009 to acquire eight P-81 planes from Boeing.
Sources familiar with the matter were cited by USNI News as saying that the contract option ‘would add the four aircraft as a direct commercial sale’.
Without confirming the exercise of the option, Boeing spokeswoman Caroline Hutcheson was quoted by the news agency as saying: “The Indian Navy has been clear about their intent to exercise these options.
“We will defer to the MoD for any formal announcement.”
The new aircraft will replace eight Russian Tupelov Tu-142M Bear anti-submarine warfare (ASW) aircraft bought by the Indian Navy in 1988.
The Indian Navy’s version of the US navy's P-8A Poseidon jet, which is based on Boeing's next-generation 737 commercial aircraft, features Indian-built sub-systems.
The 39.47m-long P-81 is a long-range anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft, which can be engaged in broad-area, maritime and littoral operations.
Powered by two CFM56-7 engines supplied by CFM International, the aircraft can operate at a speed of 450mph and has a range of 4,500nm.
In May 2013, the Indian navy took delivery of its first P-81 aircraft.
Image: Boeing P-8I of the Indian Navy. Photo: courtesy of Indian Navy.