Aarkonam, Nov 13: The Indian Navy on Friday added more power to its air wing when the first squadron of Boeing P-8I long-range maritime patrol aircraft was dedicated to the nation.
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar did the honours on a wet day in the company of Navy Chief Admiral R K Dhowan and other top military dignitaries. The event was held at INS Rajali, Indian Navy's air station in Aarkonam, Tamil Nadu.
Armed with the mighty Harpoon anti-ship missile, the Boeing P-8I Squadron (INAS 312A) will boost Navy's activities such as anti-surface warfare, long-range antii-submarine warfare, surveillance and reconnaissance and littoral missions. The Squadron is commanded by Commander Venkateshwaran Ranganathan.
"The aircraft will provide the Indian Navy the necessary reach and flexibility to undertake extensive surveillance as also to respond swiftly and effectively to contingencies in our areas of interest," says a Navy Spokesperson.
Parrikar gets onboard flying exposure of the aircraft
Parrikar, who flew to INS Rajali on board a Boeing P-8I from Port Blair today, described the aircraft as one of the best for surveillance in the world today.
Navy said during the flight, Parrikar was given an exposure to various sensors and other sophisticated state-of-the-art equipment and their capabilities.
During its short phase of trials and testing with the Indian Navy, the P-8I aircraft achieved many operational milestones including in the search effort for Malaysian Airlines Flight MH 370, the first successful firing of air launched Harpoon Block-II missile in the world, torpedo firing and active participation in major naval exercises.
All about the P-8I you wanted to know
- P-8I is a variant of the P-8A Poseidon aircraft, developed by Boeing as a replacement of US Navy's ageing P-3 fleet.
- Indian Navy became the first international customer for the P-8 aircraft.
- India inked a deal worth US $2.1 billion January 1, 2009 for a total of eight aircraft.
- The first aircraft arrived in India on May 15, 2013.
- All eight aircraft have been inducted into the Indian Navy.
- The communication and sensor suites are developed by Indian industries (both PSUs and private players.)
- It has a maximum endurance of about 10 hours.