The Boeing P-8-I is a military aircraft currently being developed for the United States Navy. The aircraft is being developed by Boeing Defense, Space & Security, modified from the 737-800. The P-8 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, Harpoon 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.
In January 2008, Boeing proposed the P-8I, a customized export variant of the P-8A, for the Indian Navy. On 4 January 2009, India’s Ministry of Defence signed an agreement with Boeing for the supply of eight P-8Is at a total cost of US$2.1 billion. These aircraft would replace Indian Navy’s aging Tupolev Tu-142M maritime surveillance turboprops. Each aircraft has an average cost of about US$220 million. The deal makes India the first international customer of the P-8, and also marks Boeing’s first military sale to India. In October 2010, India’s Defence Acquisition Council of the Ministry of Defence approved the purchase of four additional P-8Is. In March 2011, it was reported that India was to order four additional P-8s from Boeing later in the year. India plans to order another 12 P-8Is at a later time.
The Data Link II communications technology for the P-8I was received by Boeing from Bharat Electronics Limited in April 2010. The communications system will enable exchange of tactical data and messages between Indian Navy aircraft, ships and shore establishments. Boeing will install the system during P-8I final assembly. The IFF, system from BEL was also handed over to Boeing for integration with P-8I in December 2010. India buying AGM-84L Harpoon Block II Missiles and Mk 54 All-Up-Round Lightweight Torpedoes for the P-8I.
Flight testing of P-8Is began in July 2012, with deliveries planned to start in 2013. The first P-8I was handed over to an Indian naval team at the Boeing facility at Seattle on 19 December 2012. The Indian Navy is to fly it to India along with the second and third aircraft after they are handed over in May and June of 2013. The Indian Navy inducted its first Boeing P-8I Poseidon aircraft on 15 May 2013.