New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: India issued a “letter of request” for six more Boeing Poseidon-8I aircrafts from the United States of America, in a government-to-government deal costing up to USD 1.8 billion. At the same time, the Indian side has fast tracked the procurement process of six Predator-B armed drones.

The Navy is already using P-8I patrol planes for surveillance missions in Arabian Sea and across the Indian Ocean. Recently, during the flare ups with China in Ladakh, the surveillance aircrafts were also reportedly put in use over the tensed sectors.

Indian navy received the first four P-8I patrol planes following a $2.1 Billion deal signed in January 2009. The next four aircrafts are scheduled to be delivered from  December onwards, in the wake of a deal worth $1.1 Billion signed in July 2016.

According to a Times of India report, the US is likely to send the letter of acceptance in response to Indian government’s request, once it gets the due approval from the US Congress, following which the contract could be signed next year.

The report says that the six new P-9I aircrafts will come equipped with COMCASA-protected equipment, a securely advanced one compared to the existing surveillance equipment.

As for “an emergency procurement” of six Predator-B drones from the US, the need has been put forward in the wake of currently ongoing flare ups on Line of Actual control along the 3,488-km long trajectory, especially in the eastern Ladakh.

The Predator-B drones will reportedly result in a remarkable turnaround in India’s capabilities to deter the offence, along the Line of Actual Control, with all due credit to their ground control stations, launch and recovery elements, air-to-ground missiles, that have already been acquired by the Indian side.

Posted By: Abhinav Gupta