INS Rajali, a naval air station, would soon have Boeing P-81 reconnaissance aircraft. The USP of the naval air station here is its 4.1 km long runway, which is the longest in South East Asia. That was one reason why it was selected as a P-81 base.
The P-81 is a long-range anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft capable of broad-area, maritime and littoral operations. The Boeing can be utilised for surveillance in far off coastlines away from the country during emergencies like anti-piracy operations.
The acquisition of P-8I is expected to widen the scope of marine patrolling, in the light of growing significance in strategic navigation and threat of the pirates in mid sea.
“The Boeing aircraft would be inducted by mid-next year. We met the Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary on Friday to discuss the land required for basing the new P-8I Boeing aircraft,” Vice Admiral Sunil Lamba, Chief of Staff, Eastern Naval Command told newsmen on the sidelines of a passing out parade at INS Rajali on Saturday.
Asked about new inductions, he said, over 38 new ships are in the pipeline to be inducted in the coming decade.
“The induction of INS Vikramaditya aircraft carrier should take place within a year’s time. She (INS Vikramaditya) would be based at the Western Naval Command,” he added. The carrier is currently being overhauled at the Sevmash shipyard in northern Russia.