Eye on China? India to buy four P-8I aircraft from US for maritime surveillance over Indian Ocean Region
Total value of arms contracts that India has signed with the US in the last 10 years is over $15 billion.
Delhi: India is going to buy four more Poseidon-8I long-range maritime patrol aircraft, potent with anti-submarine warfare capabilities, from the United States.
As per a report in The Times of India, the deal is of $1.1 billion, taking the total value of arms contracts signed with the US to over $15 billion in the last 10 years.
At the same time, the two countries is also said to have discussed several new projects to jointly produce weapon systems and platforms.
The report says that visiting US undersecretary of defence Frank Kendall held extensive talks with defence secretary G Mohan Kumar and defence production secretary AK Gupta.
Talks pertained to different co-production projects under the bilateral Defence Trade and Technology Initiative (DTTI).
On July 1, the Cabinet Committee on Security had cleared the acquisition of the four P-8I aircraft.
The first aircraft will reportedly to be delivered in 50 months.
The development assumes significance at a time when Chinese nuclear and conventional submarines are making frequent forays in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).
Eight such aircraft was earlier inducted by the Navy from May 2013 to October 2015.
It is using eight P-8Is, armed with Harpoon Block-II missiles, MK-54 lightweight torpedoes, rockets and depth charges, to keep an eye over the entire IOR. They are based at the naval airbase INS Rajali at Arakkonam (Tamil Nadu).
It has maximum speed of 907 kmph and an operating range of 1,200 nautical miles.
Thus, it is important from the perspective of maritime surveillance and intelligence-gathering missions.
Moreover, according to the Daily, apart from the above, major deals inked with the US include ones for 13 C-130J Super Hercules aircraft ($2.1 billion), 10 C-17 Globemaster-III giant strategic airlift aircraft ($4.1 billion) as well as 22 Apache attack and 15 Chinook heavy-lift helicopters ($3.1 billion).