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P-8I  Aircraft

Context:

Aviation and defence colossus Boeing delivered India’s 12th maritime surveillance and anti-submarine warfare P-8I aircraft .

Relevance:

GS III- Science and Technology, Various Security Forces & Agencies & Their Mandate

Dimensions of the Article:
  1. About P-8I Patrol Aircraft
  2. Naval operations

About P-8I Patrol Aircraft:

  • The P-8I, manufactured by American aviation giant Boeing.
  • It is a multi-mission maritime patrol aircraft, excelling at anti-submarine warfare; anti-surface warfare; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and search and rescue.
  • The first of these aircraft was inducted in 2013, and it made India the first country outside the United States to get one. The Navy has been receiving them regularly since.
First in US and India

The first aircraft produced by Boeing flew in 2009, and has been in service with the US Navy since 2013, the same year as the Indian Navy.

The aircraft has two variants 

  • P-8I, which is manufactured for the Indian Navy,
  • P-8A Poseidon, which is flown by the US Navy, the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force, the Royal Australian Air Force, and the Royal Norwegian Air Force.
    • It has also been selected by the Royal New Zealand Air Force, the Republic of Korea Navy, and the German Navy.
Tech specs
  • The P-8I can fly as high as 41,000 feet, and has a short transit time, which reduces the size of the “Area of Probability when searching for submarines, surface vessels or search and rescue survivors”.
  • It is also used for low altitude, and humanitarian, and search and rescue missions.
  • The aircraft has two engines, and is about 40 metres long, with a wingspan of 37.64 metres.
  • Each aircraft weighs about 85,000 kg, and has a top speed of 490 knots, or 789 km/hour.
  • It requires a crew of nine, and has a range of 1,200+ nautical miles, with 4 hours on station, which means about 2,222 km.
Weapons systems
  • The aircraft comes with one of the most advanced weapon systems in the world, and has a life of around 25 years, or 25,000 hours in the “harshest maritime flight regimes, including extended operations in icing environments”.
  • It is one of Boeing’s “most advanced aircraft”, and the P-8A “uses a first-in-industry in-line production system”.

Naval operations

  • While the Indian Navy uses it for maritime operations, the aircraft was also used in eastern Ladakh in 2020 and 2021, when the standoff with China was at its peak, to keep an eye on Chinese troops and their manoeuvres.
  • The aircraft for the Indian Navy are called P-8I, and have replaced the ageing Soviet/Russian Tupolev Tu-142s.
  • The P-8Is are capable of anti-submarine; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR); patrolling, coastline defence, and other operations.

-Source: Indian Express

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