At company facilities in Seattle, Boeing has made an on-site delivery of the first P-8I long-range maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare aircraft to the Indian navy.
“India will receive this aircraft and two more of its eight contracted P-8Is in 2013. The program is progressing on schedule as Boeing assembles the fourth and fifth P-8Is,” the company said in a statement Dec. 20.
Under a $2 billion contract signed in 2009, Boeing will deliver eight of the long-range maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare aircraft to India starting in the first half of 2013, with an option for four more.
India has been the first international customer for the P-8I, which is a variant of the U.S. Navy’s P-8A Poseidon.
The Indian version has two unique components not on the P-8A — an aft radar and a magnetic anomaly detector fixed on the tail that can distinguish between an enemy submarine and a whale, according to Carl Lang, Boeing’s P-8I program manager.
The P-8I’s enhanced internal fuel tanks will allow it to fly 1,100 km (683.5 mi.) to a patrol area, remain on station for up to 6 hr., and then fly back to its base.
Two P-8Is meant for India already have undergone test flights, and weapon trials are expected shortly. Anti-ship Harpoon missiles, Mk. 82 depth bombs and Mark 54 anti-submarine torpedoes will be mounted on the aircraft.
According to Boeing officials, Harpoon production already has begun and the weapons will be delivered in June/July 2013. Weapons trials are likely to begin in the second quarter of 2013.
Boeing expects India’s P-8I order to increase to as many as 30 units, citing the Indian navy and coast guard’s interest in multimission aircraft.