With tension rising in the Middle East and threat of Chinese Navy operating from Pakistani ports, Ministry of Defense (MoD) has approved procurement of 10 more Boeing P-8I Neptune advanced maritime patrol/anti-submarine warfare (ASW) aircraft for the Indian Navy, reports The Diplomat.
The deal is worth $3 Billion and MoD’s Services Capital Acquisition Plan Categorization Higher Committee has given its approval according to reports from IHS Jane’s on June 24.
The aircraft will be directly bought from Boeing but P-8I weaponry, radar, and related equipment will be procured via the U.S. Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program with the contract expected to be signed in 2020 at the earliest and first aircraft could be delivered to India by 2023.
The P-8I is equipped with some of the most modern U.S. ASW technology including a Telephonics APS-143 OceanEye aft radar system and a cutting-edge magnetic anomaly detector. Other U.S. weapons systems include Harpoon Block-II missiles, MK-54 lightweight torpedoes, and rockets.
The aircraft will act as a communications hub with direct data-linked with Indian submarines in order to have the capability to pass on information about enemy vessels.
The Indian Navy already operates a P-8I squadron from Rajali and in 2016, India placed a $1.1. Billion follow-on order for four more P-8Is with deliveries scheduled to begin in 2020.