New Delhi: India on Wednesday inked $1 billion deal with Boeing for the acquisition of four more Poseidon-8I long-range surveillance and anti-submarine warfare aircraft, taking the total value of arms contracts signed with the US to over $15 billion in the last 10 years.
As was first reported by TOI on July 1, the the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), chaired by PM Narendra Modi, has cleared the big-ticket acquisition in June.
The four new P-8I aircraft, packed with radars and weapons, will join the first eight such aircraft inducted by the Navy between May 2013 and October 2015 under a $2.1 billion deal inked in 2009. Under the new deal, the first P-8I aircraft will be delivered to the Navy within three years.
The Navy is using the first eight P-8Is, armed with deadly Harpoon Block-II missiles, MK-54 lightweight torpedoes, rockets and depth charges, to keep an “intelligent hawk-eye” over the entire Indian Ocean Region, which has witnessed stepped-up Chinese submarine forays over the last two years.
With an operating range of 1,200 nautical miles, “with four hours on station”, the P-8Is provide the reach and flexibility to undertake extensive maritime surveillance and intelligence-gathering missions. The P-8Is, which are based at the naval airbase INS Rajali at Arakkonam (Tamil Nadu), are also been extensively used in the ongoing massive hunt for the missing AN-32 aircraft, which went down in the Bay of Bengal with 29 people on board on July 22.