Continuing its recent spree of approval for capital purchases, Minister of Defence Nirmala Sitharaman, on January 4, approved purchase of aircraft training and electronic warfare solutions worth 2,420 crore. This latest approval has set tone for the procurement of P-8I Training Solution for Navy and Low Intensity Conflict Electronic Warfare System (LICEWS) for Army.
“The P-8I Training Solution, along with 10-year comprehensive maintenance service, will be brought from Boeing for 1,949.32 crore. This training solution accurately simulates P-8I aircraft and mission systems,” said a statement from Ministry of Defence.
The system is expected to help Navy to “train and realistically rehearse for sophisticated missions involving P-8I aircraft, at a fraction of the cost of live aircraft training.”
Boeing’s P-8I, long range maritime surveillance, reconnaissance and strike aircraft, first inducted in Navy in 2013, are based at INS Rajali and have been taking part in maritime surveillance and humanitarian and disaster relief operations. Initially ordered for eight, in 2016 Ministry placed a follow-on order for four additional P-8I aircrafts which will begin arriving from 2020.
In addition to this, Ministry of Defence also cleared a proposal for procurement of LICEWS from Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) for 470 crore. This is being purchased primarily for gathering communication intelligence in the counter insurgency/ counter terrorism operations in Jammu and Kashmir. LICEWS will help army to hear, jam and track the advanced communication systems being used by terrorists. This will help to make armed forces operations in the insurgency areas more effective.