The P-81 fleet of the Indian Naval Air Squadron 312A received, this June, the Chief of Naval Staff’s Unit Citation for Outstanding operational performance.The fleet manufactured by Boeing Defense, Space, & Security has completed 10,000 flight hours since the squadron’s induction in 2015. Boeing congratulated the Indian Navy and its squadron on this occasion.
In view of its successful performance, the navy has ordered four more P-81s from Boeing. The deliveries commence in 2020.
It was these P-81s that were used by our boys in the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 in 2014.
On December 19, 2012, at Boeing’s Seattle facility, the first P-81 was handed over to the Indian Naval Team. On May 15, 2013, The Indian Navy inducted its first P-8I. The eighth aircraft was delivered in November 2015. INS Rajali carries these P-81 aircrafts. India operates the P-81 in anti-submarine warfare missions and long-range reconnaissance.
The P 81 Neptune ordered by the Indian Navy operates in conjunction with the unmanned vehicle of the Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton Broad Area Maritime Surveillance. It has an early warning self-protection ability (electronic support measures) while it conducts shipping interdictions and anti surface and anti-submarine warfare. It carries torpedoes. Depth-charges, anti-ship missiles (Harpoons) and is able to monitor and drop sonobouys.
The P-81 is a custom-made export variant of the P-8A (used by US Navy) suggested by Boeing for the Indian Navy in January 2008. The P-81 has two major abilities which the P-8A does not have—a telephonic APS-43 Ocean Eye aft radar and an MAD (magnetic anomaly detector).
Australia, U.K. and Norway all, use the P-81 but the Indian Navy was the first international customer to order P-81s and this was Boeing’s first military sale to India.
The Indian Navy needed to replace its aged Russian Tupolev Tu-142M turboprops used in maritime surveillance and the contract with Boeing was signed on January 4, 2009 for the delivery of eight P-81s. The entire delivery under the contract was completed in November 2015.
MAKE IN INDIA.
HOW P-81 WORKS:
The P-81 has a integrated IFF system developed by Bharat Electronics Ltd.(BEL) and exchanges tactical data between aircraft, ship and shore through the BEL Data LinkII.