P-8I arrival at NAS Rajali 15 May 2013
FIRST BOEING P-8I AIRCRAFT ARRIVES INDIA
Indian Naval Aviation received a major fillip with the arrival of the first of eight Boeing P-8I Long Range Maritime Reconnaissance and Anti Submarine Warfare aircraft at Naval Air Station Rajali, Arakkonam, Tamil Nadu on 15 May 2013. As the P-8I flew into Rajali, a Tu-142 flew out - symbolically marking the phasing out of the Tupolev although the type wont be decommissioned for another 5 years or so.
Vice Admiral (VADM) Bimal Verma, AVSM, Chief of Staff, Eastern Naval Command presided over the induction ceremony that was attended by Commodore Puneet Bahl, Commanding Officer, INS Rajali, representatives from the Command and Integrated Headquarters, Ministry of defence (Navy) as well.
"The aircraft is to be used for broad-area maritime (surveillance) and anti-submarine operations. The aircraft is going to be a unique part in our anti-surface warfare, surveillance and intelligence capacities" said VADM Verma.
The P-8I aircraft, based on the Boeing 737-800(NG) airframe, is the Indian Naval variant of the P-8A Poseidon that Boeing has developed for the US Navy. The aircraft is equipped with both foreign as well as indigenous sensors for Maritime Reconnaissance, Anti Submarine operations and for Electronic Intelligence missions. The aircraft is fully integrated with state of the art sensors and highly potent Anti Surface and Anti-Submarine weapons including .
These aircraft were procured under the contract signed in January 2009. The IN is in process of acquiring an additional four P-8I aircraft under the option clause. The induction of the P-8I aircraft into the Indian Navy would greatly enhance India’s maritime surveillance capability in the Indian Ocean Region. Two more P-8I are scheduled for delivery in August and November 2013 and all 8 by 2015
IN 321, piloted by Cdr Harjeet Singh Jhajj and Cdr Vivek Chandrahas, arrived Rajali (VOAR) via Honolulu , Guam and Changi. IN 321 departed Boeing Field (KBFI) at 1030 AM PDT on 11May 2013 arriving Honolulu (PHNL) after 6 h 18 mins. The plane most likely flew to Guam (PGUM) on 12May or 13May. Departing Guam at 0854 AM ChST on 14May 0213 for Singapore, it arrived Changi (WSSS) at 1246PM SGT after a flight of 5 hrs 62 mins. IN 321 departed Changi on 15 May at 0931 AM SGT, arriving Rajali 3 h 19 minutes later. Average speeds were in 454-464 knots.and total flight time was about 23 hours.