In a significant development, Boeing, the renowned U.S. defense and aerospace firm, is actively exploring the prospect of securing a follow-on order from the Indian Navy for six P-8I maritime surveillance aircraft. Company officials unveiled this exciting possibility during an announcement on Thursday.
According to Dan Gillian, Vice President of Mobility, Surveillance, and Bombers at Boeing Defense, Space, and Security, “We are engaged in ongoing discussions with the Indian Navy regarding their keen interest in augmenting their fleet with additional P-8I aircraft. The Indian Navy is eager to expand its fleet due to the outstanding performance of the existing 12 P-8I planes, which have accumulated an impressive 40,000 flight hours over the past decade.”
The Indian Navy currently operates a fleet of 12 P-8I aircraft, all manufactured by Boeing. These aircraft are strategically divided into two squadrons, based in Arakkonam, Tamil Nadu, and Goa, respectively.
India’s acquisition of the P-8I aircraft, valued at over $3 billion through two separate procurement deals with the United States, was primarily aimed at bolstering the Navy’s anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare capabilities. These aircraft also play a vital role in fulfilling critical functions such as intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance in the vast maritime expanses.
The P-8I is a military adaptation of Boeing’s 737-800 commercial aircraft, known for its versatility and reliability.
Dan Gillian emphasized, “The introduction of additional P-8I aircraft will significantly enhance the Indian naval fleet’s capabilities.” He made these remarks during a media briefing that aimed to spotlight the remarkable strides achieved in indigenizing the manufacturing and maintenance of P-8I aircraft on a global scale.
Boeing, as part of its commitment to the Aatmanirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India) vision, has already made a substantial economic impact, amounting to $1.7 billion, to support the Indian Navy’s existing P-8I fleet. Company officials stated that an order for more P-8I aircraft would translate into additional investments of $1.5 billion. This move would also create ample opportunities for indigenization within India’s aerospace and defense sector by 2032.
Salil Gupte, President of Boeing India, reaffirmed the company’s dedication to advancing the Aatmanirbhar Bharat vision, stating, “Boeing is unwavering in its commitment to the P-8I fleet and meeting the Indian Navy’s requirements for additional aircraft. We are actively exploring ways to enhance engineering, manufacturing, and maintenance capabilities within India, for the benefit of both Indian and global customers.