NAVAL AVIATION / P-8I
Boeing’s investments in building infrastructure, training, local capabilities and partnerships are aimed at Indian armed forces operating their assets affordably at peak condition and successfully completing their missions
|Surendra Ahuja, |
Managing Director, Boeing Defence India
Boeing has ben a trusted partner of India’s aerospace sector for more than 75 years, both as the mainstay of India’s growing commercial aviation sector and, in the modernisation and mission readiness of the country’s defence forces. Boeing has been engaging with the Indian Navy on their current as well as future requirements for national security and the value our portfolio and localised service support can deliver to develop capabilities they require for the execution of their missions.
This month on December 19, it will be a decade since the first P-8I was delivered to the Indian Navy. This is a significant milestone in our growing relationship with the navy. Notably, the Indian Navy was also the first international customer for the P-8 and today operates the second largest non-US fleet. Since the induction of the P-8I in the Indian Navy, Boeing has been supporting the fleet to ensure high rates of mission readiness. The 12 P-8Is in the Indian Navy’s arsenal significantly contribute to the Indian Navy’s capacity to keep the vast areas of interest in the Indo-Pacific under surveillance – while also playing a greater role in regional maritime security. The patrol aircraft is an integral part of the Indian Navy’s fleet and has surpassed 35,000 flight hours since it was inducted. In addition to unmatched maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare capabilities, the P-8I has been deployed to assist during disaster relief and humanitarian missions. We believe that the Indian Navy may have a requirement for more P-8Is as also more Harpoons and we stand ready to support them.
The 12 P-8Is in the Indian Navy’s arsenal significantly contribute to the Indian Navy’s capacity to keep the vast areas of interest in the Indo-Pacific under surveillance – while also playing a greater role in regional maritime security
A formidable part of the Indian Navy’s fleet, the P-8 is a proven system with more than 140 aircraft in service that have executed more than 4,00,000 mishap free flight-hours around the globe. The P-8Is designed for long-range anti-submarine warfare (ASW), anti-surface warfare (ASuW), and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions. The P-8 delivers highest levels of quality, reliability, and operability. A true multi-mission aircraft, it is defined by a unique combination of state-of-the-art sensors, proven weapon systems, and a globally recognised platform. Along with the Indian Navy, the P-8 family includes the US Navy, the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force, Royal Australian Air Force and Royal Norwegian Air Force. Other militaries that have selected the P-8 include the Royal New Zealand Air Force, Republic of Korea Navy, and German Navy.
The P-8 combines the most advanced weapon systems in the world with the cost advantages of the most operated commercial airliner on the planet. The P-8 shares 86 per cent commonality with the commercial 737NG, providing enormous supply chain economies of scale in production and support. Boeing’s expertise in commercial fleet management and derivative aircraft sustainment also provides customers with greater availability at a lower operational cost. The P-8 is engineered for 25 years/25,000 hours in the harshest maritime flight regimes, including extended operations in icing environment.
We continue to support the Indian Navy’s P-8I fleet through Boeing’s services business-providing spares, ground support equipment, and by positioning field service representatives at INS Rajali & INS Hansa so they are available to the Navy on 24x7x365 basis. Boeing’s integrated logistics support has helped the Navy attain the highest state of fleet-readiness. Boeing has built a 60,000 sq. ft. Training Support & Data Handling (TSDH) Centre at INS Rajali, Arakkonam in Tamil Nadu as part of a training and support package contract signed in 2019. The facility was handed over to the Indian Navy, and the trainings commenced in April this year. The secondary centre at the Naval Institute of Aeronautical Technology, Kochi was recently handed over to the Indian Navy. The indigenous, groundbased training will allow the Indian Navy crew to increase mission proficiency in a shorter time, while reducing the on-aircraft training time resulting in increased aircraft availability for mission tasking.
In 2021, we also launched the Boeing India Repair Development and Sustainment (BIRDS) Hub. BIRDS is an initiative to bring together ecosystem partners to position India as a strategic destination for aerospace engineering, maintenance, repair and sustainment services. This is a one-of-its-kind initiative that seeks to provide customers with best-in-class solutions, efficient turnaround times, and optimal economical value, all available in-country. Under this programme, we have by now signed strategic partnerships with leading indigenous players like Horizon Aerospace, Air Works, and AI Engineering Services Limited (AIESL). An important aspect of the hub is training programmes to increase skilled manpower by developing sub-tier suppliers and Medium, Small and Micro Enterprises (MSMEs) to build high quality MRO capabilities in India. Our programmes have skilled more than 3,700 frontline aerospace manufacturing workers and aircraft maintenance engineers.
The P-8 combines the most advanced weapon systems in the world with the cost advantages of the most operated commercial airliner on the planet. It is engineered for 25 years/25,000 hours in the harshest maritime flight regimes, including extended operations in icing environment.
We have been working with Air Works in Hosur for the heavy checks on the P-8I fleet and they recently handed over three P-8I aircraft post phase 32 checks, taking the total tally to six P-8Is which have undergone maintenance and checks locally. Likewise, we have recently expanded to wheels and brakes with Horizon Aerospace and have recently certified AIESL for P-8I landing gear, slats and powerplant overhaul.
Our focus is also to help build a strong indigenous Indian aerospace and defence ecosystem, and invest in partnerships and talent to contribute to the vision of Atmanirbhar Bharat. Boeing’s sourcing from India has steadily grown over the years and is today worth over $1 billion annually from over 300 supplier partners. Our Indian suppliers manufacture critical systems and components that go into some of Boeing’s most advanced aircraft. In 2021 alone, we added new suppliers including several MSMEs, as part of our commitment to Atmanirbhar Bharat.
Boeing’s investments in services infrastructure, building local capabilities, workforce training and partnerships in India are aimed at ensuring that the Indian armed forces successfully complete their missions, operate their assets at peak condition and do so affordably. Our commitment to India is deep and it’s for the long term. Our vision is to bring the best of Boeing to India and take the best of India to the world!