New Delhi: The first Boeing P-8I reconnaissance aircraft for the Indian Navy has completed its initial test flight in the US ahead of its scheduled delivery in 2013, the company said Thursday.
The long-distance maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare aircraft -- part of an eight-plane contract signed by India with Boeing in January 2009 for $2.1 billion -- took off from Boeing`s Renton Field in Washington state Wednesday and landed about two-and-a-half hours later at the Being Field in Seattle.
During the flight, Boeing test pilots checked the performance of the airborne systems, including engine accelerations and decelerations and autopilot flight modes, and took the P-8I to a maximum altitude of 41,000 feet prior to landing.
In the coming weeks, Boeing will begin mission systems installation and checkout work on the aircraft at a company facility near Boeing Field, the release said.
"The P-8I programme is progressing well and we are looking forward to this potent platform joining the Indian Navy as part of its fleet," India Navy Assistant Chief of Naval Staff (Air) Rear Admiral D.M. Sudan said on the occasion.
"The P-8I will provide India with the necessary speed and reliability to satisfy the Indian Navy`s maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare requirements," Boeing India president Dinesh Keskar said.
Based on Boeing`s next-generation B-737 commercial plane, the P-8I is the Indian Navy variant of the P-8A Poseidon that Boeing is developing for the US Navy.
"Flying the first P-8 for an international customer is a key milestone for our entire team," Boeing P-8I program manager Leland Wight said.
"We have transitioned to P-8I production and remain on track to deliver the first aircraft to the Indian Navy in 2013," he added.
The P-8I is built by a Boeing-led industry team that includes CFM International, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, Spirit AeroSystems, BAE Systems and GE Aviation.
Under the 2009 contract, India has the option of ordering an additional four P-8Is.
India had ordered 10 C-17 Globemaster-III heavylift transport aircraft for its air force from Boeing earlier this year at a cost of $4.1 billion.