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India receives 12th P-8I Neptune MMA

The 12th P-8I Neptune for the Indian Navy was delivered on 19 February. (Boeing)

India has received its 12th Boeing P-8I Neptune maritime multimission aircraft (MMA).

The manufacturer announced on 24 February that the aircraft was formally handed over to the Indian Navy (IN) on 19 February. This is the last P-8I to be delivered under an option for a further four that the Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) exercised in 2016. The sale of six additional P-8Is to take the Indian fleet up to 18 was approved by the US government in May 2021 under the Foreign Military Sales programme for a total of USD2.42 billion. However, no contract has been announced yet.

As noted by Boeing, the IN P-8I fleet has accumulated more than 35,000 flight hours since the first aircraft were received in 2013. The Neptune is the Indian-specific variant of the P-8A Poseidon flown by the US Navy and international customers. It differs from the P-8A in that it is equipped with an aft-facing radar (which 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 to enable the detection of submerged submarines.

Besides its primary role of maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare platform, the P-8I has also been deployed to assist during disaster relief and humanitarian missions.

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