Boe­ing P-8I : En­hance­ment for the IN

Vayu Aerospace and Defence - - Vi/2015 -

Ded­i­ca­tion cer­e­mony at INS Ra­jali, home base of INAS 312A which took place in Oc­to­ber 2015 even as cel­e­brated.

De­fence Min­is­ter Manohar Par­rikar has ded­i­cated the Boe­ing P-8I lon­grange mar­itime re­con­nais­sance and anti sub­ma­rine air­craft to the na­tion, at a spe­cial cer­e­mony held at INS Ra­jali, Arakkonam, about 70 kilo­me­tres from Chen­nai in Oc­to­ber 2015.

As per the re­lease is­sued by the Min­istry of De­fence, “the P- 8I would boost the fire­power and arse­nal of the In­dian Armed Forces. The P-8Is en­hance In­dia’s in­tel­li­gence, sur­veil­lance and re­con­nais­sance ca­pa­bil­i­ties and have been ex­ten­sively de­ployed to as­sist dur­ing disas­ter re­lief and hu­man­i­tar­ian mis­sions for aerial re­con­nais­sance and data gath­er­ing.”

The In­dian Navy’s P-8I air­craft fleet has demon­strated an ex­cel­lent record in sup­port­ing the mis­sions they have been de­ployed for, with the De­fence Min­is­ter and Navy lead­er­ship hav­ing ex­pressed sat­is­fac­tion about the op­er­a­tional readi­ness of the air­craft. This has been pos­si­ble ow­ing to the en­hanced ca­pa­bil­i­ties of the plat­form man­u­fac­tured by Boe­ing and the fo­cus on timely and af­ford­able ser­vices and sup­port.

The ded­i­ca­tion cer­e­mony at INS Ra­jali, home base of In­dian Naval Air Squadron ( INAS) 312A un­der the com­mand of Com­man­der Venkatesh­waran Ran­ganathan, which op­er­ates the Navy’s P-8I fleet ( see Vayu VI/2014), was held in pres­ence of the Chief of Naval Staff Ad­mi­ral RK Dhowan, Flag Of­fi­cer Com­mand­ing-in-Chief East­ern Naval Com­mand Vice Ad­mi­ral Satish Soni, INAS 312A per­son­nel and the Boe­ing team.

Min­is­ter Par­rikar, who flew in to INS Ra­jali on board a Boe­ing P-8I from Port Blair, de­scribed the air­craft as “one of the best for mar­itime sur­veil­lance in the world to­day.” Dur­ing the flight, Par­rikar was briefed on the var­i­ous sen­sors and other so­phis­ti­cated state-of-the-art equip­ment and their ca­pa­bil­i­ties. He said the air­craft would 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.

Mr. Par­rikar 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. The Min­is­ter praised the ef­forts put in by INS Ra­jali and its per­son­nel, tak­ing note of 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 Malaysian Air­lines Flight MH 370, the first suc­cess­ful fir­ing of air launched Har­poon Block II mis­sile in the world, tor­pedo fir­ing

and ac­tive par­tic­i­pa­tion in ma­jor naval ex­er­cises ( see Ex­er­cise Mal­abar 2015 re­port in this is­sue).

Tom Bell, se­nior vice pres­i­dent, Global Sales & Mar­ket­ing, Boe­ing De­fense, Space & Se­cu­rity, com­mended the In­dian Navy for its high stan­dards of pro­fes­sion­al­ism and said Boe­ing was proud to sup­port the navy’s long range mar­itime sur­veil­lance and anti-sub­ma­rine re­quire­ments.

“The Boe­ing teams have been com­mit­ted to build­ing, de­liv­er­ing and sup­port­ing this amaz­ing air­craft for our im­por­tant cus­tomer – the In­dian Navy,” Bell said. “Over the last six years, we have learned to­gether, grown to­gether and ce­mented a foun­da­tion for a long term re­la­tion­ship that will last decades. To see this air­craft come to life at INS Ra­jali and per­form the mis­sions it was en­vi­sioned to do un­der the very able han­dling of the In­dian Navy’s sailors and of­fi­cers has been truly amaz­ing. This is a tremen­dous achieve­ment for the coun­try.”

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

Den­nis Swan­son, vice pres­i­dent, Boe­ing De­fense, Space & Se­cu­rity in In­dia, ex­plains that de­liv­er­ing on com­mit­ments to the In­dian Navy has been one of Boe­ing’s top pri­or­i­ties in In­dia. “The Navy is pleased with the per­for­mance of its P-8I fleet and has de­ployed its air­craft for sev­eral mis­sions. This is tes­ta­ment to the hard work of Boe­ing teams and trust we have built with the cus­tomer by meet­ing their ex­pec­ta­tions. In 2016 we will con­tinue to fo­cus on de­liv­er­ing train­ing, sup­port and ser­vice to en­sure the In­dian Navy ex­pe­ri­ences high air­craft avail­abil­ity and mis­sion readi­ness rates.”

The 2009 con­tract also in­cluded op­tions for four ad­di­tional air­craft. “We’re cur­rently in dis­cus­sion with the In­dian Navy about their op­tions for more P-8Is”, said Mark Jor­dan, P-8I pro­gramme man­ager. “The team has done a tremen­dous job pro­vid­ing those first eight air­craft and we’re look­ing for­ward to con­tin­u­ing our work to­gether with the In­dian Navy.”

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. The De­fence Min­istry spokesper­son men­tioned that the com­mu­ni­ca­tion and sen­sor suite in­cludes in­dige­nous equip­ment de­vel­oped by In­dian de­fence com­pa­nies. “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 state­ment said.

In­dian De­fence Min­is­ter Manohar Par­rikar (seated) is briefed on the P-8I’s

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