Delivery of the tenth Boeing P-8I Neptune to the Indian Navy was completed on July 13, when the aircraft – serial IN329/N536DS (c/n 64891/8296), callsign ‘BOE232’ – arrived at Indian Naval Station (INS) Hansa in Goa-Dabolim.
The P-8I had departed Boeing Field in Seattle, Washington, on July 8; routing initially to Honolulu International Airport, Hawaii, before continuing to India via Guam International Airport on the US island territory of the same name in the Pacific Ocean. This was the second of four additional aircraft ordered in 2016 through the exercising of options that were included in the original contract for eight P-8Is.
It is also the second aircraft for the Indian Navy’s second P-8I unit – Indian Naval Air Squadron (INAS) 315 ‘Winged Stallions’ – at Goa-Dabolim. The first of the four additional aircraft – serial IN328 (c/n 64890/7757), formerly registered as N490DS – was also the first example for INAS 315 and was handed over on November 18, 2020. The initial eight aircraft are operated by INAS 312 ‘Albatross’ at INS Rajali in Arakkonam. Overall, India’s P-8I fleet has surpassed 30,000 flight hours since it entered operational service in 2013.
Boeing is currently completing the construction of the Training Support and Data Handling Centre at INS Rajali, along with a second maintenance training centre at the Naval Institute of Aeronautical Technology in Kochi, Kerala, as part of a training and support package contract, which was signed in 2019. This new indigenous, ground-based training will allow Indian Navy crews to increase mission proficiency in a shorter time, while reducing on-aircraft training time and thus increasing aircraft availability.