Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The submarine hunter of IN - Boeing P8I Neptune

The submarine hunter of IN - Boeing P8I Neptune

     Named the Posedion these are truly the masters for objectives hiding underwater. Charged with the crucial mission of detecting and destroying any lurking threats in the water. These aircraft are the ultimate machines for Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) missions. Introduced to replace the aging   Boeing P3 Orion ASW aircraft, the P8I Posedion has scoured thousands of sq.kilometers in search of lurking Chinese and Russian submarines. Clubbed with the latest set of sensor suites and highly advanced sono-buoys this platform is a nightmare for submarines.   

      The P8I Neptune are now an integral part of all ASW missions of Indian navy, these aircraft are a shot in the arm for India's ASW capabilities. These ultimate ASW aircraft were procured by the Indian navy as a replacement to the aging Russian long range Tu 142 ASW platforms which were the main ASW platform. The Neptune's were procured under the FMS deal and Boeing was selected to supply India with 8 ASW aircraft and another 4 aircraft if India would use the 'follow-on' clause.

        Boeing was awarded a US $2.1 billion order for equipping Indian navy with 8 ASW aircraft based on the 737 airframe. Signing the deal, India became the first international customer for the Boeing P8I. These aircraft were to be fitted with Indian sub-systems and were also to fitted with the latest ASW technology developed by Boeing. India's leading military equipment manufacturer BEL provided the Data link and IFF systems, DRDL and DRDO developed a MAD system. The P8I were to be equipped with light weight torpedo's, Harpoon anti-shipping missiles, mines and sono-buoys. These sono-buoys would be the key in detecting under water submarines. 

     P8I's are also equipped with the highly advanced  AN/APY 10 radar which can help in detecting long range surface and underwater threats. The radar can be used in  color weather, Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), inverse synthetic aperture radar (ISAR) under which the aircraft is capable of detecting, imaging and classifying surface targets at long ranges, periscope detection, and navigational modes. The aircraft is capable of flying for more than  4 hours and all long detecting and monitoring waters for any activities.

     Indian navy currently operates 7 P8I Neptunes which are based at INS Rajali. Indian navy received the seventh aircraft in July and is slated to receive the last and final aircraft by the end of this year. DAC headed by the defense minister has cleared the follow on order for another 4 aircraft and the delivery of these aircraft is slated to being with a year after the deals are concluded.

      Indian navy currently operates the Do 228, IL 38 SD, Tu 142 MKE and 7 P8I for ASW missions. The IL38 and Tu 142 fleet have been in service for more than and are slated be replaced by a  Medium Range Maritime patrol aircraft, which will undoubtedly be the Boeing P8I aircraft. Indian navy currently has an requirement of more than 24 Long range MMA, the orders currently placed have fulfilled half the requirement of the navy. The navy is expected to issue a new tender shortly for another 12 ASW aircraft .

Editer - Karthik Kakoor

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