Source : Indian Defence Analysis
Indian Naval Air Station INAS-312 that operates P8I ASW aircraft, clocks 40000 flying hours; Indian Navy to get 6 more P8Is soon
The Boeing’s P-8I aircraft is a multi-role Long Range Maritime Reconnaissance Anti-Submarine Warfare (LRMR ASW) aircraft, that can be equipped with a range of Air-to-Ship Missiles and Torpedoes. The ‘Game Changer’ aircraft is a potent platform for Maritime Surveillance and strike, Electronic warfare missions, Search and Rescue, providing targeting data to Weapon platforms, providing time-critical surveillance information for IA and IAF and is also the platform of choice for detecting and neutralising enemy ships and submarines in Indian Ocean Region.
The Indian Navy operates 12 P8Is, of which 8 are based at the naval airbase INS Rajali in Arakonam on the Eastern Seaboard and 4 at INS Hansa in Goa on the West.
A big takeaway is the high availability rate of the P8I for missions, which is reported to be an impressive 85 per cent. This enables intense and sustained reconnaissance operations. In the 10 years since 2013, the Indian Navy has done more flying on the P8I than it did on the Soviet-origin Tupolev-142 and Ilyushin-38 fleets combined for four decades. On 17th May 2023, INAS 312 squadron operating P8I aircraft based at Arakkonam clocks 40,000 hrs as the aircraft complete a decade of diverse Naval Operations. The first P8I landed at INS Rajali on 15 May 2013.
6 More P8Is for Indian Navy
Impressed with the performance of the aircraft, the Indian Navy has re-initiated the programme to buy 6 more Boeing P8I from the US under a multi-billion-dollar Government-to-Government deal which stalled after the expiry of the price offer on 31st July 2022. The additional P8Is are meant to augment numbers on the Western Seaboard.
Chief of Naval Staff Admiral R Hari Kumar told Businessworld in an exclusive interview that a restated Letter of Offer and Acceptance (LOA) has been sought from USG (US Government). Based on the response from US side, the case would be progressed further for procurement under Buy Global route.
For any G-2-G deal under its Foreign Military Sales (FMS) process, the US government offers the Letter of Offer and Acceptance after the conclusion of price negotiations with the buying country. The re-negotiated price would then have to be cleared by India’s Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) and then the case will be put up for final approval to the Cabinet Committee on Security before the final deal can be signed.
P-8I ASW Capabilities
P8-I features advanced sensors and weapon which includes a multi-mode radar that can detects aircraft, surface ships and submarines. It has a belly-mounted radar which looks backward, like an electronic rear-view-mirror. The aircraft can also drop sonobuoys on suspected enemy submarines which can radio back any suspicious sounds picked up to zero down on the submarine.
Submarine can also be detected using a magnetic anomaly detector (MAD) integrated on the tail of P-8I. The aircraft can also communicate with Indian Submarine with the help of datalink which can pass on the location of the enemy submarine. The Indian submarines can then zero-in on the intruder and fire torpedoes to destroy it. It can also communicate with two MQ-9A RPAs leased by Indian Navy.
The aircraft has 11 “hard points”: two under each wing for Mark 82 depth charges or Harpoon anti-ship missiles. Five hard points are stationed inside the weapons bay for Mark 54 torpedoes. Two more hard points on fuselage are provided for combat search and rescue (SAR) equipment or for additional depth bombs.
Boeing has also recently tested Mk 54 torpedo with an Air Launch Accessory (ALA) wing kit from P-8A Poseidon aircraft. This Mk 54 – ALA configuration is termed HAAWC i.e. High Altitude Anti-Submarine Warfare Weapon Capability. The all-weather HAAWC enables the Boeing P-8A Poseidon to deploy MK 54 torpedoes from near or below its cruising altitude.
Back in October 20221, the Indian MoD had signed an agreement with the US Government under Foreign Military Sale (FMS) for procurement of MK 54 Torpedo and Expendable (Chaff and Flares) for the Indian Navy at a cost of ₹ 423 Crores. These weapons are the outfit of P-8I Aircraft.
Indian Naval Air Station INAS-312 that operates P8I ASW aircraft, clocks 40000 flying hours; Indian Navy to get 6 more P8Is soon Indian Naval Air Station INAS-312 that operates P8I ASW aircraft, clocks 40000 flying hours; Indian Navy to get 6 more P8Is soon IgMp