Indian Navy to induct 24 Long Range Maritime Reconnaissance Aircraft
The Boeing P-8 Poseidon (formerly the Multimission Maritime Aircraft or MMA) is a military aircraft currently being developed for the United States Navy (USN). The P-8 is being developed by Boeing Defence, Space & Security, modified from the 737-800. It is intended to conduct anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and shipping interdiction and to engage in an electronic intelligence (ELINT) role. This will involve carrying torpedoes, depth charges, SLAM-ER anti-ship missiles, and other weapons. It will also be able to drop and monitor sonobuoys. It is designed to operate in conjunction with the Broad Area Maritime Surveillance unmanned aerial vehicle.
Description and Purpose
The P-8I is a long-range anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft capable of broad-area, maritime and littoral operations. The P-8I is a variant of the P-8A Poseidon that Boeing is developing for the U.S. Navy.
This military derivative of the Next-Generation 737-800 combines superior performance and reliability with an advanced mission system that ensures maximum interoperability in the future battle space.
The P8 aircraft is a next-gen military version of Boeing 737-800 fuselage with wings from 737-900. The engines are also from the same CFM family used on commercial 737s but more powerful permitting the aircraft low level cruise over the waters and launch sonobuoys to detect submarines.
What is Sonobuoy?
A sonobuoy (a portmanteau of sonar and buoy) is a relatively small (typically 5 inches / 13 centimetres, in diameter and 3 ft/91 cm long) expendable sonar system that is dropped/ejected from aircraft or ships conducting anti-submarine warfare or underwater acoustic research.
Theory of Operation
The buoys are ejected from aircraft in canisters and deploy upon water impact. An inflatable surface float with a radio transmitter remains on the surface for communication with the aircraft, while one or more hydrophone sensors and stabilizing equipment descend below the surface to a selected depth that is variable, depending on environmental conditions and the search pattern. The buoy relays acoustic information from its hydrophone(s) via UHF/VHF radio to operators onboard the aircraft.
The Indian navy is the first international customer for the P-8. Boeing signed a contract Jan. 1, 2009, to deliver 24 long-range maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare aircraft to the Indian navy. Boeing will deliver the first P-8I within 48 months of contract signing, and the remaining seven by 2015.