The US government under the leadership of President Joe Biden on April 30, 2021, approved the sale of six P-8I patrol aircraft to India for an estimated cost of USD 2.42 billion. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the certification to notify the Congress of this sale on Friday, April 20, 2021.
The notification informed that this sale would support the foreign policy and act as a booster to the national security of the US in turn, strengthening the US-Indian strategic relationship. This will enhance the security of a major defensive partner in the Indo-Pacific and South Asia region.
The proposed sale of an additional six P-8I aircraft “will allow the Indian Navy to expand its maritime surveillance aircraft (MSA) capability for the next 30 years. India will have no difficulty absorbing these aircraft into its armed forces,” said the notification.
The Indian Navy had procured the first P-8I aircraft in 2013. Later, in 2009, the Indian Navy purchased a fleet of eight P-8I aircraft through a direct commercial sale and four additional aircraft in July 2016.
About the P-8I Aircraft
P-8I aircraft is a variant of the Boeing P-8 Poseidon aircraft that serves as a replacement for the US Navy’s P-3 fleet. The Indian Navy is the first international customer for the P-8 aircraft. The Indian variant of P-8 aircraft is referred to as P-8I.
The P-8I aircraft, as described by the manufacturing company Boeing, are built for anti-surface warfare, long-range anti-submarine warfare, reconnaissance missions, and surveillance.