P-8I Neptune,Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) Indian Navy
The P-8I Neptune is a variant of the US Navy’s P-8A Poseidon multi-mission maritime patrol aircraft (MPA). The government of India selected the P-8I long-range maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare aircraft by signing a $2.1 billion contract on January 1, 2009. The Indian Navy will take delivery of eight aircraft between 2013 and 2015. They will carry out anti-submarine warfare missions; search and rescue; maritime interdiction; and long-range intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance.
In July 2015, India ordered four additional aircraft. The P-8I Neptune aircraft will replace Indian Navy’s ageing Tupolev Tu-142M maritime surveillance turboprops. The deal makes India the first international customer of the P-8, and also marks Boeing’s first military sale to India.In October 2010, India’s Defence Acquisition Council of the Ministry of Defence approved the purchase of four additional P-8Is bringing the total number to 12. India plans to order another 12 P-8Is at a later time.
This is the best aircraft to protect India’s 7500 km stretched coastline and hundred of Islands which need protection and where costly build submarines and aircraft carriers are difficult to reach.
First flight testing of P-8Is began on September 28, 2011 and the first P-8I was handed over to Indian naval team at the Boeing facility at Seattle on 19 December 2012. The Indian Navy is to fly it to India along with the second and third aircraft after they handed over in May and June of 2013.
Features and Capabilties
The P-8I is intended to conduct anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and shipping interdiction and to engage in an electronic intelligence (ELINT) role. This will involve carrying torpedoes, depth charges, SLAM-ER anti-ship missiles, and other weapons. It will also be able to drop and monitor sonobuoys.
The P-8I Neptune aircraft has a length of 39.57m,height of 12.83m and wingspan of 37.64m.It has crew capacity of 2-7 (if on mission).The P-8I Neptune is somewhat similar to Boeing 737-800.The fuselage is similar but longer and has style raked wingtips.In order to power onboard electronics,the aircraft has a 180KVA electric generator on each engine and newly designed nacelles and their wings as compared to 737. A short bomb bay for torpedoes and other stores opens behind the wing.
The P-8I neptune is equipped with High Altitude Anti-Submarine Warfare Capability (HAAWC) Air Launcher Accessory (ALA) turning a Mark 54 torpedo into a glide bomb for deploying from up to 30,000 ft.
Avionics and Sensors
THe aircraft also features international version of Raytheon APY-10 multi-mission Surface search radar.The APY-10 radar is smaller in size,lighter and usses less power and optimised for maritime,littoral and overland surveillance.It is capable to provide high resolution radar images in both overland and water bodies.Various other sensors are also combined via data fusion software to track targets.
It also features a Telephonics APS-143 ocean Eye aft radar and a magnetic anomaly detector (MAD).The aircraft is integrated with Bharat Electronics limited (BEL) Data Link II communication system that allows the P-8I to exchange tactical data between Indian Navy Aircraft,ships and shore establishments.
The p-8I Neptune features an integrated BEL-developed IFF system (identification,Friend or Foe).It is the identification system designed for command and control system and also interrogation systems to identify aircraft,vehicles or forces as friendly and to determine their bearing and range from the interrogator.
The P-8I is equipped with AGM-84L harpoon Block II missiles and Mk 54 All-up-Round Lightweight Torpedoes. The speech secrecy system from ECIL, power and mission equiment cabinet form Dynamatics, APU door fairings and radomes from TATA, and mobile satellite system from Avantel are also integrated in the Boeing P-8I Neptune. Center for Military Airworthiness and Certification (CEMILAC) is undertaking the task of airworthiness clearance of the P-8I’s Indigenous equipment.
Propulsion and Performance
The P-8I Neptune is powered by 2x CFM56-7B turbofan engine that is capable of producing 120kn each. The aircraft fly with the maximum take-off weight of 85,820 kg.
The aircraft fly with the maximum speed of 490 knots (907km/h) and cruise speed of 440 knots (815km/h).It has ferry range of 7500 km and service ceiling of 12,496m.