India Signs $1 Billion Deal To Buy Four Poseidon-8I Aircraft

28 July 2016

India and the US on Wednesday underscored their military partnership with the signing of a deal worth over $1 billion for the purchase of four additional Poseidon-8I long-range maritime surveillance and anti-submarine warfare aircraft.

The contract is a follow-up order to the eight P-81 planes already bought by India in a direct deal with Boeing’s Indian subsidiary worth $2.1 billion in 2009. The P-8I fleet is based at naval air station Rajali, in Arakkonam town of Tamil Nadu.

The deal was signed during the visit of US under secretary for defence on acquisition Frank Kendall, who is in India for talks.

The P-8I is a long-range anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft capable of broad area, maritime and littoral operations. The P-8I is a variant of the P-8A Poseidon that Boeing is developing for the US Navy,” Boeing India’s website said.

The Indian Navy is the first international customer for the P-8,” it said.

Equipped with the sophisticated Harpoon missiles, lightweight torpedoes and rockets, the Indian Navy has been using the P-8I to keep watch over the Indian Ocean, which has seen forays by Chinese submarines including the docking of a Chinese nuclear submarine in Sri Lanka.

The acquisition of additional P-8I aircraft will give the Indian Navy much-needed punch as India builds up its naval surveillance capabilities.

“This military derivative of the next-generation 737-800 combines superior performance and reliability with an advanced mission system that ensures maximum interoperability in the future battle space,” the Boeing India website said.

With Wednesday’s deal, the total value of Indian defence contracts with the US since 2000 stands at about $15 billion.

Last year, India signed a $3 billion contract with the US through the Foreign Military Sales route for 22 Apache and 15 Chinook helicopters.

Another deal in the works includes one to get 145 pieces of M777 lightweight howitzers from the US.

That India is buying military hardware from the US shows the extent to which ties have warmed between the world’s largest and oldest democracies, seen to be on opposite sides during the Cold War years.

India’s largest military hardware supplier then was the former Soviet Union with whom the Indian government signed a treaty of peace, friendship and cooperation in 1971 that specified mutual strategic cooperation despite India’s espousal of non-alignment.

Currently, the US figures among India’s top military hardware suppliers along with France and Israel.

The two countries also have a Defence Technology and Trade Initiative -- a bilateral cooperation programme to expand Indo-US military-industrial ties and support Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Make in India initiative.


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