Why in News?
- The U.S. State Department approved the proposed sale of six P-8I patrol aircraft and related equipment to India.
What are P-8I patrol aircraft?
- P-8 is a long-range, multimission maritime patrol aircraft offered by Boeing. The P-8I aircraft is a variant of the P-8A Poseidon multimission maritime aircraft (MMA) operated by the US Navy.
- The P-8 is designed to conduct long-range anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, and intelligence, surveillance, maritime patrol and reconnaissance missions.
- It has a bomb bay that can drop sonobuoys and torpedoes, as well as hard points on its wings for anti-ship missiles.
- The Indian navy has also used the aircraft to conduct search and rescue missions, including dropping survival kit and inflatable life raft from the jet.
- India’s position between the Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean and Bay of Bengal makes it a strategically important player in tracking the movements of submarines and ships, in particular those of China.
- The country also sits alongside vital shipping lanes between the Middle East and East Asia.