The Indian Navy received its second of originally eight ordered Boeing P-8I maritime patrol and anti-submarine warfare aircraft on 14 November 2013. The first aircraft of the type was delivered in May.
The second P-8I will first make a series of flight trials in the coming months. India’s first P-8I has been executing live-fire on targets tests, including firing a AGM-84L Harpoon Block II anti-ship missile and the drop of a Mk 54 torpedo.
Compared to the USN P-8A the system architecture of the P-8I has been adapted especially for the Indian navy, with a Data Link II communications suite from Bharat Electronics to enable the aircraft to communicate with Indian military units and land bases. The IFF systems also comes from Bharat. Sub-contractors of the aircraft on the American side are CFM International, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, Spirit AeroSystems, BAE Systems and GE Aviation.
The Indian Navy P-8Is jet aircraft replace aging Tupolev Tu-142M turboprops used for maritime surveillance. The project is a few months behind schedule, but India already seems eager to order up to 16 P-8Is on top of the original order for eight aircraft.
Source: Boeing with additional reporting by AIRheads’ Marcel Burger
The Indian Navy plans to set up a second air base for it Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-29K fighters at the east coast, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Devendra Kumar Joshi said to The Times of India.
Naval Air Station INS Dega in Vizag will be the preferred location, the admiral said. Currently 20 to 29 MiG-29Ks (NATO-name Fulcrum) form a squadron in Goa on the west coast of the country and provide the Indian Navy’s aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya of its main air combat element. The vessel is due to be commissioned on November 16th, 2013.
A fourth MiG-29K unit will be formed for the INS Vikrant, a new aircraft carrier that is set to start operations in 2017.
Apart from the newer MiG-29Ks of the Indian Navy, the Indian Air Force flies 66 older MiG-29s. Those aircraft are being upgraded to MiG-29UPG. Most significant change is a new non-Russian avionics suite, a new Zhuk-ME Radar, a better engine and better weapons delivery. However the upgrading process goes fairly slow and will likely take at least until the end of 2014, 2015 or even 2016 to be completed.
Last week a 67th IAF MiG-29 with registration KB739 crashed near Jamnagar Air Base.
The Indian Navy received its first of 17 ordered BAE Systems Hawk Mk 132 on September 23, 2013. Therby India has become the third naval operator of the advanced training aircraft, after the Fleet Air Arm of the British Royal Navy and the US Navy with its own derivative McDonnell Douglas (Boeing) T-45 Goshawk. The Indian Air Force also has 40 of the new Hawks on order with the British manufacturer. The Indian Hawks are assembled in India by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).