India's Ministry of Defence (MoD) has approved the procurement of 10 more Boeing P-8I Neptune long-range maritime multi-mission aircraft for the Indian Navy (IN) for a total of USD3 billion.
Official sources told Jane's on 24 June that the MoD's Services Capital Acquisition Plan Categorisation Higher Committee endorsed in mid-June the import of the additional platforms via a direct commercial sale with Boeing, while the related weaponry, radar, and associated equipment are set to be acquired via the US Foreign Military Sales (FMS) programme.
The sources said that over the next few weeks the MoD's Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), which is headed by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, would grant 'acceptance of necessity' (AoN) to fast-track the procurement of the aircraft and related equipment. This will then be followed by a final approval from India's Cabinet Committee on Security once various FMS-related formalities have been completed.
The actual contract is likely to be signed in early 2020, said officials.
The 10 proposed P-8Is are expected to supplement 12 similar platforms, eight of which were ordered in 2009 for USD2.1 billion and delivered by 2015. The other four were ordered in 2016 for USD1.1 billion and are scheduled for delivery from 2021.
The eight P-8Is currently operated by the IN feature anti-submarine, anti-surface warfare as well as intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities. The same is expected to be the case for the four ordered in 2016 and for the 10 proposed additional platforms.
The aircraft is armed with Harpoon Block II anti-ship missiles and Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems Mk 54 Mod 0 lightweight anti-submarine warfare torpedoes capable of being released from a height of about 6 km.
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