Boeing announced on November 18 that it has delivered its ninth P-8I Neptune maritime patrol aircraft to the Indian Navy – the largest operator of the platform outside the US.
The aircraft – serial IN328 (c/n 64890), tail code ‘DAB’ – is the first of a second batch of four additional P-8Is that were procured by the Indian Ministry of Defence under an option contract in 2016. This latest example is the first to arrive at Indian Naval Station (INS) Hansa in Dabolim, Goa, where it will be permanently based as part of the Western Naval Command fleet. The eight already-operational P-8Is carry the ‘ARK’ tail codes and are operated by Indian Naval Air Squadron (INAS) 312 at INS Rajali, Arakkonam, where they serve under Eastern Naval Command.
Surenda Ahuja, managing director of Boeing Defence India, said: “Our focus has been, and will be, on delivering the world’s best maritime patrol aircraft to the Indian Navy. The P-8I, with its exceptional maritime surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities, versatility and operational readiness, has proven to be an important asset to the Indian Navy.”
The Indian Navy’s Neptune fleet has flown more than 25,000 operational flight hours since the platform was inducted into service in May 2013. During its seven years of employment, the fleet has supported humanitarian assistance/disaster relief (HA/DR) operations in addition to its core maritime patrol, anti-submarine warfare and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) mission.
Alongside producing and delivering the additional P-8Is, Boeing is also providing flight crew training, spares, ground support equipment and field service representative support to the Indian Navy. “Boeing’s integrated logistics support has enabled the highest state of fleet readiness at the lowest possible cost,” the company adds.