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Congressional nod needed for Boeing sale of P8I to India

Following completion of final assembly on the first P-8A Poseidon for the US Navy, the aircraft is moved out of the factory in Renton, Washington in August, 2008. Boeing image

WASHINGTON (PTI): Boeing is confident that the US Congress would ratify the largest-ever defence deal it signed with India for the sale of eight P-8I long-range maritime reconnaissance and anti-maritime warfare aircraft to the Indian Navy, a top company official said today.

Exuding confidence that the Congress would give its nod to this mega deal worth USD 2.1 billion the largest ever Indian defense deal with an US company, the official said that the state-of-the-art aircraft would help the Indian Navy patrol its long coast line and maritime boundary effectively.

"The sale is conditional upon Congressional notification," Robert Feldmann, P8A Poseidon vice president and programme manager, Boeing told reporters during a teleconference.

"We are confident that Congressional notification would occur and we then would go forward with the whole programme," he said in response to a question.

Boeing would be applying for the Congressional ratification this year, he said. Without elaborating further, he said the company would also have to deal with any additional requirements from the State Department.

The contract between Boeing and Ministry of Defense was signed January 1. Procurement of state-of-the-art long- range maritime reconnaissance and anti-maritime warfare aircraft would help the Indian Navy patrol its long coastline and maritime boundary very effectively.

India is the first international customer for the P-8. Boeing will deliver the first P-8I within 48 months of the contract signing, and the remaining seven by 2015, he said. The airplane looks like Boeing 737. It is a true multi-mission maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) that features greater flexibility and a broader range of capabilities than MPAs currently in service.

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