Friday, July 13, 2012

P-8I 'Neptune' Maritime Aircraft of the Indian Navy [Hi-Res images]

A collection of hi-res photographs of the Indian Navy's latest maritime mission aircraft, Boeing's P-8I Neptune.

Click on the images to view larger sized photographs





The "I" in P-8I stands for India. That is because the aircraft has incorporated into it customisations, which includes certain systems developed in India & removal of some American systems whose exports are prohibited by U.S legislations, In addition, India's has also refused to accede to America's demands for signing with it agreements, among which is the Communication Interoperability & Security Memorandum of Agreement [CISMOA], that demands compatibility of communication systems used on India's weapon platform with the American communication equipment. Such communication equipment that India would be bound have on board the system [the P-8I, in this case] would be provided to it by the Americans themselves. Any removal of this equipment from the weapon platform owned & operated by India, would require that India take prior permission from the Americans before proceeding. In addition, America, upon signing the agreement, would be within its rights to demand an inspection of the communication equipment, as and when it deems necessary, and India would be duty-bound to take the American inspectors to carry out their jobs.

Indigenous systems on-board the aircraft include,

  • Identification Friend or Foe [IFF] Interrogator developed by the Bharat Electronics Ltd. [BEL]
  • Identification Friend or Foe [IFF] Transponders by the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited [HAL]
  • Mobile Satellite Service [MSS] System built by the Hyderabad-based Avantel Limited
  • Speech secrecy system supplied by the Electronic Corporation of India Limited
  • Weapons bay door by HAL
  • Data Link II designed & developed by BEL
  • Auxiliary Power Unit [APU] Door Fairing by the Tata Advanced Materials [TAM]
  • Tailcone of the aircraft by HAL
  • Nose Radar radome by TAM
  • Power & Mission equipment cabinets supplied by Dynamitcs Technologies Limited
  • Radar Fingerprinting System by BEL

It also appears that the Navy has chosen to arm it with the Harpoon as its Anti-Ship Cruise Missile, one that is already in the Indian inventory. The Americans are expected to arm theirs with the Standoff Land Attack Missile [Extended Range] [SLAM-ER].

While the Indian Navy has placed a confirmed order of 12 of these aircrafts, some reports suggest that the number could rise to 24. These American aircraft are being acquired to replace the older generation of Soviet-era Tupolev Tu-142 maritime aircrafts, that the Navy currently operates.

Yesterday, Boeing announced the commencement of flight test of the first P-8I already built. Upon completion of trials, it is expected to be delivered to India next year, in 2013.

"During the coming months, Boeing test pilots will put the P-8I, a Next-Generation 737-800 derivative, through its paces over a U.S. Navy test range west of Neah Bay, Wash., and a joint U.S./Canadian test range in the Strait of Georgia.

"Today's flight is another on-time milestone for the program," said Leland Wight, Boeing P-8I program manager. "We'll start out testing the P-8I's mission system, which includes its sensors and communication systems. The team then will transition to 'stores' tests during which the P-8I will carry inert weapon shapes under its wings to demonstrate that the aircraft is capable of carrying all the weapons the Indian Navy will use during regular missions.""

- Boeing P-8I Begins Flight Test Program

A presentation that was made by the Boeing Corporation about the P-8I 'Neptune', during the Aero India 2011 Air Show held last year.


A video showing the first flight of the P-8I after completion of its assembly at the Boeing plant in September last year.


Related: RAF Harrier Jump Jet fighter aircraft - the last of flights [Video]