New Delhi: With the Indian Navy set to receive one of the four P-8I Maritime Patrol Aircraft later this month, India’s surveillance, reconnaissance, and electronic jamming capabilities will get a boost in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).
The aircraft comes at a time when the Sino-Indian border tension continues to simmer and so as to enable India to monitor Chinese presence in the Indian Ocean Region and the South China Sea (SCS).
“As per the delivery schedule one out of the four aircraft are expected to arrive soon (before this month end). And the balance three will arrive next year,” sources said, adding they were expected to come earlier but was delayed due to the global pandemic COVID-19 and the lockdown.
The configuration of the aircraft will be the same as the previous eight that are in service in the Indian Navy. There are plans of installing encrypted communications systems, which have been delivered earlier. After India and the US inked the Communications, Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA), the installation of the encrypted communications systems on these P-8I aircraft was done. These aircraft are coming from the Boeing company.
With COMCASA in place, the P-8I (specific for the Indian Navy requirement) and P-8A Poseidon aircraft, the US Navy variant of the aircraft will be able to share real-time operational intelligence, which also includes a secure Common Tactical Picture.