India is seeking to acquire ten Boeing P-8I Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft for its Navy in addition to the eight it operates and four on order, according to local media reports.
The procurement, worth around about Rs. 22,500 crore ($3.2 billion), passed its first hurdle with the approval from the Services Capital Acquisition Categorization Higher Committee (SCAPCHC). Approval of the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) and the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) is also required before placing the order.
The aircraft will be procured through the U.S. Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program.
The Indian Navy is the first international customer for the P-8. The Navy currently operates eight P-8I aircraft which were ordered from Boeing on Jan. 1, 2009 under a $2.1 billion contract. An additional four aircraft was ordered in July 2016 for around $1 billion and are to be delivered by 2020.
Boeing is building the P-8I at its production facility in Renton, Wash. The 737 fuselages are built by Spirit AeroSystems in Wichita, Kan., and then sent to Renton where all aircraft structural features unique to the P-8 are incorporated in sequence during fabrication and assembly. Aircraft quality and performance acceptance flight testing are conducted from Boeing Field in Seattle.
The P-8I is a long-range anti-submarine warfare (ASW), anti-surface warfare (ASuW), intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft capable of broad-area, maritime and littoral operations. The P-8I is a variant of the P-8A Poseidon that Boeing has developed for the U.S. Navy to replace its ageing P-3 Orion fleet. P-8 is a military derivative of the Next-Generation 737-800ERX (737NG) commercial airliner.