India is mulling over purchase of six additional Poseidon P-8I maritime patrol aircraft from the United States for $1.8 billion.
“A Letter of Request for six more P-8Is for around $1.8 billion has now been issued to the U.S. for the government-to-government deal under Pentagon’s foreign military sales (FMS) programme. The U.S. will soon send the Letter of Acceptance after congressional approval. The contract should be inked by early next year,” a top defense sources were quoted as saying by Times of India on July 25.
The P-8I is a customised-for-India version of Boeing's Poseidon P-8 used by the U.S. military. The Indian Navy has 8 P-8I aircraft armed with sensors, Harpoon Block-II missiles, MK-54 lightweight torpedoes, rockets and depth charges to detect and destroy enemy submarines. The $2.1 billion deal had been signed in January 2009. Four additional P-8Is worth $1.1 billion are scheduled to be delivered to the Indian Navy in 2021-2022, the contract for which was inked in July 2016.
In mid-April, the U.S. State Department approved India's $155 million request to buy 10 Harpoon Block II air launched missiles and 19 MK 54 lightweight torpedos to arm the Navy's Poseidon planes.
The P-8I aircraft is designed for long-range anti-submarine warfare; anti-surface warfare; and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions. It is capable of broad-area maritime, littoral operations, humanitarian and search and rescue missions, etc.