The Defence Ministry on Wednesday signed a deal with American aerospace giant Boeing for four Poseidon-8I long-range surveillance and anti-submarine warfare aircraft. Defence Ministry sources confirmed that the government chose to exercise the follow-up option in the 2009 deal under which eight such aircraft were inducted into the Navy between 2013 and 2015.
According to industry sources, the current deal is valued at around $1 billion, making it the biggest deal signed by the ministry so far in this financial year. The four aircraft will be delivered to the Navy within three years, sources said.
The first eight P-8I aircraft are based near Chennai and have been deployed by the Navy to undertake maritime surveillance and intelligence gathering over the Indian Ocean. Equipped with the Harpoon missiles, they can also be used for anti-submarine warfare.
These P-8I aircraft have also been deployed by the Navy for the search and rescue operations to locate the missing AN-32 transport aircraft in the Bay of Bengal.