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Indian Navy receives first P-8I maritime patrol aircraft


The P-8I maritime patrol aircraft of Indian Navy during flight trial. A Boeing photo

NEW DELHI (PTI): Boosting its anti-submarine warfare capabilities, the Indian Navy on Wednesday received its first of the eight P-8I maritime surveillance aircraft from Boeing.

India had signed a deal worth over USD 2.1 billion with the American firm in January 2009 for procuring eight P-8I long-range surveillance aircraft which are equipped with anti-submarine weaponry.

The first aircraft was handed over to Indian personnel by Boeing in Seattle, US and now, it will be used for training the Indian Navy crew, Navy officials said.

The aircraft along with two more will arrive in India in May, 2013 and would be deployed at a naval base in Tamil Nadu, they said.

Defence PSU Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) has also supplied critical equipment to the US aerospace major for the aircraft that will help it identify friendly and enemy planes and forces.

The aircraft is expected to be equipped with missiles such as Harpoons, which are also manufactured by the US.

India is also looking at ordering four more such aircraft to keep an eye on its extensive maritime territory and for replacing and augmenting its existing fleet of Russian Tupolev-42 and Ilyushin-38 Sea Dragon aircraft.

It also plans to have six more medium range maritime reconnaissance aircraft. It operates the Dornier surveillance aircraft for short-range surveillance activities.

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