India to buy 4 more naval spy planes from US

India to buy 4 more naval spy planes from US

India on Wednesday signed a $ 1 billion contract with Boeing to buy four additional P8I maritime surveillance planes for the navy.

Though there was no official word either from the defence ministry or from Boeing, defence sources said the contract being negotiated by Indian and the US governments for the last three years has been signed.

The first aircraft is expected to be delivered within the next three years, extending the blue water footprint of the Indian Navy.

This is a follow-on order of the previous $ 2.1 billion deal under which India purchased eight of these aircraft through a government-to-government route. The first aircraft came in 2013. With a range of 1,200 nautical miles, P8I Poseidon can fly much beyond India’s neighbouring maritime zones.

The government-to-government deal to procure 12 of these aircraft marks an increased confidence level between New Delhi and Washington as India is the first customer of P8I, outside the US. The provision for the four follow-on aircraft was mentioned in the 2009 contract for these planes.

Acquisition of 12 P8I aircraft – some of them were deployed to search for the Indian Air Force’s missing AN-32 transport plane - will complete the first phase of Navy’s requirement of 24 long range maritime reconnaissance aircraft.

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