VELLORE:Expected to be a shot in the arm for the country’s defence forces, eight state-of-the-art P-8I Long Range Maritime Reconnaissance (LRMR) aircraft were on Friday inducted into the Indian navy by the Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar at the INS Rajali naval base in Arakkonam.
Armed with cutting edge technology and weaponry to keep the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) safe and secure, the eight majestic aircraft, procured for 2.1 $ billion, would be game changers in future operations. They would give a boost to the firepower and arsenal of the Indian Armed forces.
“It will be the eyes and ears in the sky over the Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea,” said Chief of Naval Staff Admiral RK Dhowan.
The minister flew from Port Blair in Andaman in one of the aircraft and landed on the airstrip at the naval base at 9.45 am on Friday.
“We flew at a speed of 400 km/hr and reached here within two hours from Port Blair,” said one of the pilots.
The minister was exposed to various sensors and other sophisticated state-of-the-art equipment and their capabilities.
“My experience onboard was fantastic. Since the aircraft is a made by Boeing 737-800, spare parts are readily available. Even I virtually saw the Navy personnel on the deck (Port Blair) saluting and the ships lined up on the deck when the aircraft flew over thousand miles above them,” said Parrikar.
The Defence Minister also said that the aircraft will provide the Indian Navy the necessary reach and flexibility to undertake intensive surveillance. It also will help respond swiftly and effectively to contingencies.