The US has approved to sell $2.42 billion worth of P-8I patrol aircraft to India, according to an announcement by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) on Friday.
“The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of India of six (6) P-8I Patrol aircraft and related equipment for an estimated cost of $2.42 billion,” the DSCA said.
The proposed sale, which has been sent to Congress for further approval, also includes GPS, anti-missile, and tactical radio systems among other related technologies intended for use with the aircraft.
The equipment is intended to help the US support its own foreign policy and national security objectives in the region in cooperation with India, which is a major US partner in the Indo-Pacific and South Asian regions.
As part of the proposed deal, India would also buy a number of subsystems, some apparently intended for previously ordered examples of the P-8I. The Indian Navy bought eight P-8I aircraft in 2009 and contracted for four more aircraft in 2016.
The P-8 is designed to conduct long-range anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions. The P-8s also has a bomb bay that can drop sonobuoys and torpedoes, as well as hardpoints on its wings for anti-ship missiles.
India is a partner of increasing importance due to its population of 1.4 billion people and its fast-growing economy. It is also part of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, known popularly as “the Quad”, an informal group of four nations, that includes Australia, Japan and the USA, which periodically hold diplomatic talks.