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SOURCE: RAUNAK KUNDE / NEWS BEAT / IDRW.ORG

Indian Navy was the first export customer and presently is the second-biggest operator of the Boeing P-8, An American maritime patrol, and reconnaissance aircraft along with the Royal Australian Air Force and recently halted plans to procure six additional P-8I aircraft that were cleared by the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) for the Indian Navy in 2019 for locally developed maritime patrol, and reconnaissance aircraft program.

But Boeing and Pentagon officials are still pursuing New Delhi to change its mind and place orders for six more P-8I aircraft that was in pipeline and almost seemed like a done deal. Pentagon officials speaking to ” Business Standard” said that ” India will eventually buy 25-35 Poseidon’s, given the growing need for “maritime domain awareness” over the Indian Ocean, where the Indian Navy plays the role of regional gatekeeper.”

Indian Navy retired its Soviet-era Tupolev-142 Bear long-range maritime patrol aircraft in 2017 and also has started retiring some of the older aircraft from its Ilyushin Il-38SD fleet of Anti-submarine warfare and maritime patrol aircraft recently.

Boeing recently confirmed that it is even ready to supply Boeing 737 Next-Generation aircraft as a standalone platform that DRDO can use to mount locally developed Multi-Mission Maritime Aircraft (MMMA) suite for the development of Desi-P8 aircraft based on the Indian radar and system. P-8I is based on the modified Boeing 737 Next-Gen platform and if the Navy agrees DRDO developed MMMA Suite on 737 will help maintain the commonality of the fleet type even though Airbus is also making its pitch to use its platform in this regard.

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