New Delhi: India today signed a $1.2-billion deal with Boeing Co. for a follow-on order for four P8-I spy planes for its Navy.
The deal comes within a month of the procurement proposal from the Navy being cleared by Prime Minister Narendra Modi-headed Cabinet Committee on Security on July 1 this year.
A Defence Ministry official told this website that the deal had got its approval in the Defence Acquisition Council meet on July 15 last year.
The P8-I deal for Boeing comes at a time when U.S. Department of Defense Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Frank Kendall is on a visit to India from July 25 to July 28.
During the visit, Kendall took part in the semi-annual Defense Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI) and had fruitful meetings with his counterparts at the Ministry of Defence in Delhi, an emailed statement from the U.S. embassy here said.
Kendall and his delegation met with India’s Defence Production Secretary Ashok Kumar Gupta and his team to discuss and review progress on current DTTI efforts, as well as to determine the way ahead for the new Pathfinder Projects and Joint Working Groups that were agreed to during U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter‘s visit to India and Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s visit to the U.S.
The next DTTI meeting will be held in Washington, DC in January 2017.
India had for the first time signed an eight-aircraft deal for $2.1 billion with Boeing for its P8-I in January 2009 . The eight aircraft were delivered between 2013 and 2015.
The fleet will be based at the Indian naval air station, INS Rajali, at Arakkonam in Tamil Nadu.
The P8-I’s long range will provide the Indian Navy the strategic reach through the entire length and breath of the Indian Ocean region from Gulf of Aden on the East and the Malacca Strait in the West.
Its anti-submarine warfare capability, with the punch provided by Boeing’s Harpoon missiles, will give the Navy a deterrent capability against enemy submarines in its area of interest in the Indian Ocean region.
In the recent years, China has been sending both its conventional and nuclear submarines to the Indian Ocean region on the pretext of the anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden.
(Updated with details of U.S. Department of Defense official Frank Kendall’s ongoing visit to India in paragraph four)