Indian Navy to get four more anti-submarine P-8I aircraft from May 2020
Beginning May 2020, the Indian Navy will augment its anti-submarine warfare capacity when it acquires four more long range maritime reconnassaince aircraft from Boeing.
As per sources in the Indian Navy, the marine guards of India will acquire four more P-8I Aircraft beginning May 2020, over a preiod of 24 months.
The P-8I is a long range maritime surveillance aircraft based on Boeing 737 commercial airliner and India was its first international customer.
he new aircraft will come pre-equipped with encrypted communication systems while the older aircrafts with the Navy will be fitted with such systems. The Navy spokesperson added that the availability of such systems followed the conclusion of the foundational Communications Compatiblity and Security Agreement (COMCASA) with the United States of America.
Indian Navy had procured 8 P-8I aircraft in a $2.2 billion deal in 2009 and in 2016 had exercised the optional clause for four moore P-8Is in a $1 billion deal. In November 2019, Defence Acquisition Council approved the procurement of 6 additional P-8I, this time fitted with the encrypted commuication systems. The aircraft are a part of the 312A Naval Air Squadron at Arakkonam in Tamil Nadu.
Discussions are also on for the installation of more CENTRIXS (Combined Enterprise Regional Information Exchange System) after the Navy had, in a loan deal signed with the US in 2019 installed 2 CENTRIXS. CENTRIXS kits facilitate encrypted communication between the navies, enabling Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) which is a key focus area between the Indian Navy and the US Navy.