Monday, January 05, 2009

India's Poseidon adventure begins

A foregone conclusion for months now but nicely scooped by the Times of India, Boeing has finally won the Indian Navy's prestigious long-range maritime reconnaisance (LRMR) competition. On the first day of 2009, the Indian Navy signed on the dotted line for eight Boeing 737-based P-8I Poseidon jets. The contract allows India to exercise the option to buy eight more later if required. The Boeing jet -- the first one for the US Navy is still under construction at Renton in the Western United States -- beat the Airbus 319 MPA for the $2.1 billion Indian contract. Incidentally, that photo above is me in a real P-8 cockpit (the first Indian journalist, but who cares!), part of the trailer simulator that the Indian Navy tested the aircraft on. It was just seven months ago that a group of us were at Renton to witness a phase of the construction of one of the most anticipated aircraft in the world today. Built to replace the formidable US Navy legacy P-3 Orion fleet, 108 P-8As will be built for the US forces. The P-8s will likely divide time between INS Hansa in Goa and INS Rajali in Arakkonam (where a new squadron will be raised to house the P-8s alongside Squadron 312), like the Tupolev-142s that they will eventually replace for strategic maritime reconnaisance.

The P-8I is a variant of the US Navy’s P-8A, tailored to meet the exacting requirements of the Indian Navy. The P-8I, according to Boeing, will give India the world’s newest and most technologically advanced maritime patrol and surveillance capability. As India’s new long-range maritime reconnaissance and antisubmarine warfare aircraft, the P-8I will dramatically enhance the country’s anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface warfare capability, providing strategic blue water and littoral undersea warfare capability as well as armed intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance. The aircraft’s exceptional range, speed, radius of action, and highly developed sensors will ensure the Indian Navy can meet its strategic requirements.

The P-8I will help maintain the Indian Navy’s prowess as a maritime power well into the 21st century. In addition, the commonality inherent in the P-8I will greatly enhance the interoperability and supportability objectives of both the U.S. and Indian navies. Although Boeing has proposed significant participation for Indian industry in the development of the P-8I, all prospective international customers benefit from the U.S. Navy’s commitment and substantial investment in the P-8A. The U.S. Navy, Boeing, CFM International, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, and Smiths Aerospace are working as a seamless government and industry team to develop a weapon system that provides unrivaled performance.

Boeing builds the Next-Generation 737-800 and is responsible for systems integration and overall program management. CFM will provide the CFM56-7B high-bypass turbofan engines that will power the P-8I. The Boeing team also supplies the aircraft’s electro-optical/ infrared sensor and the electronic support measures system. The team will provide the next-generation capability in maritime surveillance radar, as well as equip the P-8I with a state-of-the-art flight management system and a next generation digital stores management system.

Boeing has established important relationships with suppliers in India and is actively pursuing technical and business partnerships with Indian companies and institutions. The Boeing team, including Rick Buck, who we met in May 2008 in Seattle, says it will deliver to India a fully tested and certified maritime patrol aircraft that meets the demanding needs of the Indian Navy.

26 comments :

Prasun K Sengupta said...

Just for the record, I had written in FORCE's February 2005 issue that the US was in the process of approving the export to India of both the P-8A MMA (as it was then known), the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and the T-45C Goshawk. Of course, at that time nobody believed me and lo and behold the US State Dept a month later approved the DSCA to begin marketing these three products in India and it was only in June 2005 that Boeing IDS officially confirmed this to be the case. Anyway, the real story lies in India's decision to ink a government-to-company contract (with contract implementation and progress payments to be channelled through the FMS channel), instead of a G-to-G agreement to be administered by the US Navy. Any guesses?

Maximus said...

Great news indeed! Any idea how the offset clause (its there, right?) will be met with by Boeing?

Maximus said...

And now that Prasun has mentioned the T-45C Goshawk, are we going in for it as well?

Shiv Aroor said...

The idea of buying T-45s was dropped by the Navy quite a while ago. The Navy will instead buy (I think 17) Hawk AJTs as part of HAL's license-built line.

Anonymous said...

i have read some where radar will be from elta (israel)

Anonymous said...

I see the SCPC scandal is not getting much coverage here.

Sontu said...

Shiv,Prasun,

Few questions rregarding P-8I purchase..
1. Why this deal concluded so quickly …that too when there has not been any field evaluation of a final product version done in India? Field Evaluation is mandatory as per Defense Procurement Policy.
2. Even any demo version has not been integrated/ready yet and first production version will arrive in late 2011 only.I think Boeing is still busy integrating the first demo version.
3. Shiv, do you have any update on what kind of Tailoring/Customization has been done to meet IN requirements in P-8I version..and where it differs from US Navy's P-8A version ?

Regards,

Anonymous said...

Shiv if this was such a great story (which it indeed is), so as to be blogged, then why have you shied away from mentioning Rajat Pandit's name - byline-, if he's the one who broke it.

You've given everyone credit, even small papers like Mail Today, and now when Rajat truly does something worthwhile, you dont mention him.

Why? this is not fair and just? You just mention Times of India and not Rajat. Ego or what?

Anonymous said...

Shiv if this was such a great story (which it indeed is), so as to be blogged, then why have you shied away from mentioning Rajat Pandit's name - byline-, if he's the one who broke it.

You've given everyone credit, even small papers like Mail Today, and now when Rajat truly does something worthwhile, you dont mention him.

Why? this is not fair and just? You just mention Times of India and not Rajat. Ego or what?

Anonymous said...

Yes indeed Shiv no one cares of you were the first Indian journo to touch the P-8 cockpit...is that really an achievement to harp about?

You said the same thing about F-35 also after you came back from your US trip in jan last year, when Vishnu Som corrected you, and you were left red-faced on your blog and had to retract and apologise.

You dont know your facts and also by saying things like , no one cares, what are you trying...what should one care about....about some random recce aircraft simulator???

Grow up. I wont be surprised if you didnt publish this comment, self obsessed, narcissist that you are.

the news is that the pending deal was cleared ....and not who touched the damn simulator first, and also stop putting up your photos here and trivialising your blog.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

Addendum to my earlier post, & containing "as yet unscooped data": When a G-to-G agreement is inked with the US, it is the US armed services that are the contract implementing authority, and not the product's OEMs. Which means if you buy a Super Hornet with US-funded credits and that too through the FMS financing route, it is the US Navy that becomes the prime contractor, not Boeing IDS. Which means the buyer will get exactly the same Super Hornet as that operated by the US Navy. And Boeing will become the principal sub-contractor to the US Navy for executing the export order. AT NO POINT will Boeing IDS even be allowed to do the marketing, it will be only the US Defense Security & Cooperation Agency via the Systems Programme Office of the US Navy. In the buyer's country, the US DSCA will then establish what is called the JUSMAG, or joint US military advisory group, which reports directly to the DSCA and not the Defence Attache. This system was put into place when India bought the TPQ-37 Firefinder radars from the US ARMY (and not from THALESRaytheon, the OEM). On the other hand, if the buyer inks a government-to-company contract, as has been the case of the P-8I, it means the OEM, Boeing IDS, is free to substitute US-origin systems with non-US systems at its own risk in mutual consultation with the buyer. In this case, the DSCA will have no role to play, nor will the US Navy. All product support will be extended by Boeing IDS. Only the Indian progress payments will be made via the FMS channel (and thus be subject to US Congressional oversight), making this a truly transparent deal (in terms of financing) with no middlemen involved.
Now, regarding the pace of competitive evaluations leading to contract signature, all this has been going on since June 2005, when the US State Dept first authorised Boeing IDS to begin its marketing efforts. Actually, the decision should have been made exactly a year ago. Regarding field evaluations, the mandatory clause comes in only if there are readily available systems. In the case of the P-8I and A319MPA, none of them were available as definitive products and therefore it boiled down to which of the two OEMs coild be realistically expected to deliver as contracted for. In case of the A319MPA, EADS Military Aircraft has yet to get any firm orders from any customer, whereas the P-8I already has an assured order from the US Navy and is therefore relatively risk-free, compared to the A319MPA. If you ask me, the choice was very clear, evident and very easy to make, with no rules being broken. Now that this big hurdle has been overcome, it is time to make a decision on the MRMR/ASW aircraft competition, for which the EADS C-295 and Alenia Aeronautica's ATR-72-600 are on offer. But given the problematic status of the ATR-72-600MP's launch order (from Turkey), the Indian Navy would be well-advised to go for the C-295 fitted with the FITS mission management suite and EL/M-2022(V)3 search radar (which is already operational with the Chilean Navy). This is the time for quick decision-making, no more pussy-footing. I can't thank the Pakistanis enough for giving India the much-deserved shock therapy (since 1999) once in a while, as this alone has proven to be the only formula for expediting quick and decisive decision-making by the MoD. Thanks to the Mumbai terror attacks, both the Coast Guard and Navy must now BE SEEN to be plugging the surveillance gaps. Which translates into more Do-228s for coastal surveillance, new medium-range MPAs and MRMR/ASW platforms for EEZ surveillance. The AMASCOS/Oceanmaster package from THALES is facing enormous problems in both Turkey and Malaysia, whereas the FITS/EL/M-2022(V)3 has been relatively free of any snags. The latter is also cheaper.
Regarding the P-8I's sensors, apart from the EL/M-2022(V)3, the EW suite too will be of Israeli origin, whereas the FLIR will come from L-3/WESCAM. For supplying the heavyweight torpedoes, global bids will be called for from France, the US, Italy and Germany. The same goes for the anti-ship cruise missiles as well, with the AGM-84A Harpoon and Kongsberg's NSM being the frontrunners. IFF transponder will come from HAL, while BEL will supply the Link 2 data link suite. Boeing IDS will handle final systems installation/integration. Via Link 2, two on-board consoles will be able to control the flight ops for one Heron-2 MALE-UAV. Boeing's MRO facility in Nagpur will handle all depot-level product support requirements. The contract with Boeing IDS also includes the supply of one flight simulator and one mission management simulator.

Anonymous said...

Is this Navy's gift to the govt. for the pay raise. Contracts before the elections. Can somebody smell the rat........anyway they are found in ships....

Anonymous said...

Switch on the instruments when you want to look so serious in the cockpit!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And keep your hands on the side of the "stick" to make that picture look a bit realistic!

What about the DRDO and HAL and BEL? Will they provide avionics after the next two decades??

Anonymous said...

U.S sold 8 P3 Orion to Pakisthan.Prasun please inform us about surveillance range & flight endurance of P 8I.Is P 8I superior than P 3Orion?

Maximus said...

Wikipedia mentions T-45s as a customised Hawk AJT built for career take offs. So i deduce, what Navy will get finally is a T-45 under the name of Hawk...right?

Anonymous said...

Just how inferior is the P8 I from the P8 A?
How superior is the P8 I from the P3 C ?
I understand that the refurbished P3 C's given to pakistan are old old maal and really not too good. Your comments on the above.

PS Prasun Sengupta you suck, you come across as a self serving eager beaver.

Anonymous said...

What about sanctions , if for some reason India conducts Nuclear test and if the US Administration automatic sanction comes into effect , how will this or any future purchase get affected ?

Sajay said...

Defence purchases from U.S should be viewed with suspicion since the yanks are very adept at using the sales/service of their defence items to manipulate recipient nations' domestic & foreign policy.

There is every reason to believe that this latest sale could be a sweetener from Uncle Sam to sooth India from considering punitive measures against Pakistan for the 26/11 attack.

Also, our situation is more disadvantageous than the Pakistanis' - they get arm-twisted by the U.S. for stuff they get for free, whereas we will be getting our arms twisted on things for which we would have paid through our noses!!

Anonymous said...

What about the 6 C-130J's that India is buying from the US. Are they under G to G contract or Govt to Company comtract.
I believe the INS Jalashwa was purchased under the G to G/FMS contract.

Shiv Aroor said...

the C-130Js is a foreign military sale (FMS). the fleet will be based in Hindan, near Delhi.

Anonymous said...

well airbus offer was cheaper and penalty free compared to p8 and airbus don't asked for agreements like end user agreement

by the way US never sells is electronic warfare system.

apy10 radar v r getting can b compared to elta2032 maritime survillence radar and also israel sold us thier electronic warfare system for tu142 upgrade but isarel hardware is much cheaper

JAPAN rejected p8 and made their own kavasaki aircraft because it was too costly

Anonymous said...

like new AWACS for australia which is coming from US is delayed for over 5 years and future is uncertain when it will arrive in australia

so p8 is not yet flown and what is assuarance it will b on time in 2015

and even if v get it in 2015 it will take many years for full operational clearence

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@1:50PM: Thanks for your compliments. Now go back to your knitting.

The C-130J deal is a G-to-G affair as the IAF did not want any specific customisation of the aircraft, i.e. it will be of the same standard as the USAF C-130J. Only the IFF transponder will be from HAL. Under any FMS deal, the Govt of India is obliged to make g-to-G arrangements with the respective EXIM banks and open up a US$20 million account in the US. As a result of this arrangement, the moment one has an AOG situation, the spares can be requisitioned from the OEMs without wasting any time, thereby ensuring that the pre-stockpiled spares (even engine replacements) in the US are shipped within 24 hours to the aircraft operator's country.
To those naively believing that the Airbus offer was cheaper etc it must be remembered that the A319MPA was much more riskier than the P-8I because no one has thus far firmly committed to the A319MPA. Also to be noted is that regarding every imports of military hardware, India is required by law to furnish an end-user certificate. There are no exceptions.
Thr only worrying issue regarding twin-engined LRMR/ASW aircraft is the 120-minute ETOPS reqmt. Anyone bother to find out as yet what this is all about?

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Maximus: The T-45C is customised for aircraft carrier takeoffs and landings, BUT it is certified for takeoffs from flat-top carriers, not ones with ski ramps. As such, the T-45C will be UNABLE to operate out of both INS Vikramaditya and the indigenous IAC. Therefore, the Navy will use the MiG-29K flight simulator for familisarising Navy pilots with carrier takeoffs and landings. The Hawk Mk132 lead-in fighter trainer, on the other hand, will be used by the Navy for imparting a training syllabus similar to that of the IAF. Which means, the shore-based Hawk Mk132s will be used for familiarising trainee pilots with the glass cockpit environment, cockpit resources management, mission management, formation flying and limited air combat/air-to-ground weapons launch procedures and tactics.

Ayan Mukherjee said...

Anonymous dude at 1:24 AM...

STFU...show your hatred towards Shiv somewhere else.....
Why do you even visit this blog if you have so much of problems against him in the first place??
LOSER!!

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Ayan Mukherjee: I second your motion.