In­dian Navy’s Boe­ing P-8I – ded­i­cated to the na­tion

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Giv­ing a boost to the fire­power and arse­nal of the In­dian armed forces, De­fence Min­is­ter Manohar Par­rikar ded­i­cated the Boe­ing P-8I (Po­sei­don Eight In­dia) long-range mar­itime pa­trol air­craft to the na­tion on Novem­ber 13, at an im­pres­sive cer­e­mony held at INS Ra­jali, Arakkonam, In­dia’s pre­miere Naval Air Sta­tion in southern In­dia, about 70 km off Chennai.

The cer­e­mony was at­tended by a host of dig­ni­taries in­clud­ing the Chief of Naval Staff Ad­mi­ral R.K. Dhowan, and Flag Of­fi­cer Com­mand­ing-in-Chief East­ern Naval Com­mand Vice Ad­mi­ral Satish Soni.

Par­rikar, who flew in to INS Ra­jali on­board a Boe­ing P-8I from Port Blair, de­scribed the air­craft as one of the best for sur­veil­lance in the world to­day. Dur­ing the flight, Par­rikar was given an ex­po­sure to var­i­ous sen­sors and other so­phis­ti­cated state-of-the-art equip­ment and their ca­pa­bil­i­ties. He said the air­craft will pro­vide the In­dian Navy the nec­es­sary reach and flex­i­bil­ity to un­der­take ex­ten­sive sur­veil­lance as also to re­spond swiftly and ef­fec­tively to con­tin­gen­cies in our ar­eas of in­ter­est.

Par­rikar, in par­tic­u­lar, com­pli­mented the Navy and its air arm for ex­pe­di­tiously in­duct­ing and op­er­a­tional­is­ing this force mul­ti­plier, which would en­able the na­tion’s armed forces to dom­i­nate the fu­ture bat­tle space. Tak­ing note of the spec­tac­u­lar ef­forts put in by INS Ra­jali and its per­son­nel, Par­rikar praised the fact that, even in the short phase of tri­als and test­ing, the P-8I air­craft had achieved a num­ber of op­er­a­tional mile­stones which in­cludes par­tic­i­pa­tion in the search ef­fort for Malaysia Air­lines Flight MH370, the first suc­cess­ful fir­ing of air-launched Har­poon Block II mis­sile in the world, tor­pedo fir­ing and ac­tive par­tic­i­pa­tion in ma­jor naval ex­er­cises.

The P-8I air­craft is a vari­ant of the P-8A Po­sei­don air­craft that Boe­ing de­vel­oped as a re­place­ment for the US Navy’s age­ing P-3 fleet. The In­dian Navy be­came the first in­ter­na­tional cus­tomer for the P-8 air­craft with the con­clu­sion of the nearly $2.1 bil­lion con­tract on Jan­uary 1, 2009, for a to­tal of eight air­craft. The first air­craft ar­rived in In­dia on May 15, 2013, and as of date all eight air­craft have been in­ducted into the In­dian Navy and are fully in­te­grated into its oper­a­tions.

The P-8I air­craft is equipped for long-range anti-sub­ma­rine war­fare, anti-sur­face war­fare, in­tel­li­gence, sur­veil­lance and re­con­nais­sance in sup­port of broad area, mar­itime and lit­toral oper­a­tions. Its com­mu­ni­ca­tion and sen­sor suite in­cludes in­dige­nous equip­ment de­vel­oped by de­fence PSUs and pri­vate man­u­fac­tur­ers. With its high speed and high en­durance of about 10 hours, the air­craft is ca­pa­ble of thrust­ing a puni­tive re­sponse and main­tain­ing a watch over In­dia’s im­me­di­ate and ex­tended ar­eas of in­ter­est.

The air­craft are based at INS Ra­jali, and are op­er­ated by the In­dian Naval Air Squadron 312A un­der the com­mand of Com­man­der Venkatesh­waran Ran­ganathan.

Chief of the Naval Staff Ad­mi­ral R.K. Dhowan pre­sent­ing a me­mento to De­fence Min­is­ter Manohar Par­rikar at the in­duc­tion cer­e­mony of P-8I Boe­ing air­craft squadron at INS Ra­jali, Arakkonam, in Tamil Nadu

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