India’s Navy will deploy a P-8I maritime patrol aircraft to Darwin from 11-15 April to conduct coordinated exercises with a Royal Australian Air Force P-8A Poseidon aircraft. This is the first time an Indian Navy P-8I aircraft has deployed to Australia outside of a routine military exercise and reflects the strength of the India-Australia defence and security partnership. Australian Defence relationship with India is at a historic peak, with activities between us quadrupling since 2014. We are doing more together to enhance maritime information sharing and maritime domain awareness and this activity takes our practical cooperation to the next level.
Acting Chief of Air Force, Air Vice-Marshal Stephen Meredith, said,”This activity was a landmark opportunity for India and Australia to practise coordinated maritime surveillance, anti-submarine warfare and build interoperability. Coordinated activities like these are key to enhancing Australia’s maritime capabilities and building maritime domain awareness. This activity reflects the deepening trust between India and Australia’s defence forces and our enduring commitment to work together on common security interests.”
The Boeing P-8 Poseidon (formerly Multimission Maritime Aircraft) is an American maritime patrol aircraft developed and produced by Boeing Defense, Space & Security, modified from the 737-800ERX. It was developed for the United States Navy (USN). The P-8 operates in the anti-submarine warfare (ASW), anti-surface warfare (ASUW), and shipping interdiction roles. It is armed with torpedoes, Harpoon anti-ship missiles, and other weapons, can drop and monitor sonobuoys, and can operate in conjunction with other assets, including the Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton maritime surveillance unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).
The P-8 is operated by the United States Navy, the Indian Navy (IN), the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), and the UK’s Royal Air Force (RAF). It has also been ordered by the Royal Norwegian Air Force (RNoAF), the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF), the Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN), and the German Navy. On 4 January 2009, India’s Ministry of Defence signed a US$2.1 billion agreement with Boeing for eight P-8Is to replace the Indian Navy’s aging Tupolev Tu-142M maritime surveillance turboprops. In August 2014, the USN concluded an advanced acquisition contract on the first four of up to 12 P-8As to be bought by Australia, with delivery expected from 2017. In January 2016, Australia ordered a further four P-8s.