India's Boeing P-8I Moving Forward
By WENDELL MINNICK
BANGALORE, India - Boeing announced a number of milestones in India's P-8I program during the 2011 Aero India air show being held in Bangalore, India, from Feb. 9-13.
In 2010 Boeing completed the final design for the P-8I and began fabrication in December, said Leland Wright, Boeing's P-8I program manager. The first flight of the new aircraft is scheduled for the end of this year.
The aircraft is designed specifically for the Indian Navy for long-range maritime patrol and reconnaissance, he said. The aircraft is "designed specifically to integrate indigenous India equipment."
It is a military derivative of the Boeing 737-800 and a variant of the U.S. Navy's P-8A Poseidon. India is the first international customer for the P-8 and Leland expects other countries to express an interest in the platform in the future.
Boeing projects the market for maritime patrol aircraft to be around 100 P-8s.
The contract with the Indian Navy is for eight aircraft, including an option for four additional platforms. Delivery of the first aircraft is expected in 2013, he said.
Leland did confirm that the Standoff Land Attack Missile-Expanded Response (SLAM-ER) system was not part of the deal, but Boeing has a license to export the cruise missile system to India should it opt for it in the future. Instead, the P-8I will carry four Harpoon anti-ship missiles.
Boeing is still identifying offset partners in India. So far Boeing has arranged offset supply agreements with Bharat Electronics, TATA Advanced Materials, Dynamatic Technologies Limited, Avantel and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited. Four additional offset contracts are being defined and the P-8I offset contract performance is on schedule, Leland said.