Tuesday, May 14, 2013

India gets first Poseidon-8 I jet to keep watch over Indian Ocean region

15 May, 2013,NEW DELHI:

India\'s long range maritime snooping and anti-submarine warfare capabilities will get a huge boost when the first of the eight contracted Poseidon-8 I aircraft touches down at the Arakkonam naval air station in Tamil Nadu on Wednesday.

Under the $2.1 billion deal inked with the US aviation major Boeing in January 2009, the second and the third P-8 I aircraft will reach the naval air station INS Rajali in August and November, with the other five scheduled to be progressively delivered by 2015. India, as reported by TOI earlier, is going in for a repeat order of four more P-8 I aircraft in a contract worth over $1 billion.

Armed with the deadly Harpoon Block-II missiles, MK-54 lightweight torpedoes, rockets and depth charges, these sensor and radar-packed aircraft will be the country\'s \"intelligent hawk eyes\" over the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), which is increasingly getting militarized.

China has stepped up its submarine activity in the IOR as well as systematically forged extensive maritime linkages with eastern Africa, Seychelles, the Maldives , Sri Lanka, Bangladesh , Myanmar and Pakistan, among others.

With a maximum speed of 907 kmph and an operating range of over 1,200 nautical miles, the Poseidon-8 Is will be able to detect threats — and neutralize them if required — long before they come anywhere near Indian shores.

Based on the modified 737-800 airframe, the P-8 I is a variant of the P-8 A Poseidon being built for the US Navy. \"The P-8 Is will be gamechangers ... Apart from long-range maritime reconnaissance, anti-ship and antisubmarine operations, they can also undertake anti-piracy and electronic intelligence missions,\" said a senior officer.

The P-8 Is will work in conjunction with mediumrange maritime reconnaissance aircraft, Israeli Searcher-II and Heron UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) to establish an effective three-tier surveillance grid in the IOR. They will replace the eight ageing and fuelguzzling Tupolev-142 Ms currently with the navy.

India is gradually bolstering military force-levels on the eastern coast and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands archipelago to counter China\'s strategic moves in IOR. While the IAF has launched plans to base Sukhoi-30 MKI fighters at Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu, the Eastern Naval Command has been strengthened with over 50 warships as well as new forward-operating bases.

The navy also recently commissioned a new air-station at Campbell Bay, INS Baaz, which overlooks the Malacca Strait as well as \"dominates\" the Six-Degree Channel.

\"The construction of additional bases and naval air stations in A&N Islands and Lakshadweep & Minicoy islands is necessary to extend our operational reach,\" said

defence minister A K Antony in an address to the naval top brass on Tuesday.

News From: http://www.7StarNews.com

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