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2nd Batch Of Indian Navy P8I Reconnaissance Planes Start Operations From Goa

Four of 12 ‘submarine killers’ to be based on Western seaboard

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The Indian Navy on January 4 announced commencement of operations of the P-8I Long Range Maritime Reconnaissance and Anti-Submarine Warfare Aircraft from Goa. 

“The second batch of four additional aircraft will be based at Indian Naval Air Squadron 316, to be commissioned at INS Hansa,” the Indian Navy announced in an official statement. Two P8Is arrived at the Naval airbase at Goa on December 30, the statement added. 

“The aircraft were inducted after fitment of indigenous equipment and Flight Acceptance Trials. On arrival, the aircraft were welcomed by a MiG 29K formation,” the Indian Navy stated. The indigenous content is reportedly in the communications and sensor suite of the aircraft. 

With this development, India’s most effective maritime reconnaissance platform will be based on both the Eastern and Western Seaboard. With its basing at Goa, the P8Is will be integrated with the Indian Navy’s Western Fleet, which is often referred to as its sword-arm.

Following a $2.1 Billion contract with the US in 2009, the Indian Navy acquired the first batch of eight Boeing P-8I aircraft in 2013 that are stationed at INS Rajali, Arakkonam. These replaced the Soviet-origin Tu-142 fleet of the Indian Navy. The follow-on contract for an additional four was signed for a reported $1.1 Billion in 2016 under the options clause of the original deal. 

In May 2021, the US Department of State notified approval of the proposed sale of six P81s and related equipment to the Indian Navy for an estimated $ 2.42 Billion. The Indian Navy is the world’s second-largest operator of the P8 series aircraft after the US Navy. The P8 is also operated by the armed forces of the UK and Australia.  

Besides its primary role in maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare, the P8I has also been reportedly deployed over the Line of Actual Control during the ongoing military face-off with China in addition to flying extensive missions for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.