The US government has approved the sale to India of further Boeing P-8I Neptune maritime multimission aircraft (MMA).
Subject to Congressional approval for its latest request, the Indian Navy will field 18 P-8I Neptune MMAs under its current programme of record. (Boeing)
Announced by the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) on 30 April, the State Department approval covers six aircraft, equipment, spares, and support for an estimated USD2.42 billion.
“This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to strengthen the U.S.-Indian strategic relationship and to improve the security of a major defensive partner, which continues to be an important force for political stability, peace, and economic progress in the Indo-Pacific and South Asia region,” the DSCA said.
The Indian Navy currently fields 12 Neptune aircraft, with this proposed sale set to bring the fleet up to 18. The P-8I is the Indian-specific variants of the P-8A Poseidon flown by the US Navy and international customers. The P-8I differs slightly from the P-8A in that it is equipped with an aft-facing radar (that operates independently of the forward-facing Raytheon AN/APY-10 surface search sensor), providing full-hemisphere coverage and an aerial target-tracking capability. A magnetic anomaly detection (MAD) system is also fitted in place of the Multistatic Active Coherent (MAC) capability for detecting submerged submarines.
India procured eight P-8I aircraft from Boeing in January 2009 via Direct Commercial Sale (DCS), and contracted for an additional four aircraft in July 2016. The first P-8I aircraft were delivered to the Indian Navy in 2013. “This proposed sale of an additional six P-8I aircraft will allow the Indian Navy to expand its maritime surveillance aircraft capability for the next 30 years,” the DSCA noted.