The first of the eight Boeing P-8I maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare aircraft, ordered by the Indian Navy from the US, completed its maiden flight in Seattle on Wednesday. A Boeing spokesperson said test pilots performed airborne systems checks including engine accelerations and decelerations and autopilot flight modes during the flight. The plane was taken to an altitude of 41,000 ft and stayed airborne for two and half hours.
Rear Admiral DM Sudan, assistant chief of naval staff (air), said, "The P-8I programme is progressing well and we are looking forward to this potent platform joining the Indian Navy."
India awarded a $2.1-billion (around Rs9,450 crore) contract to Boeing in January 2009 for eight such planes to replace the ageing fleet of Soviet-era Tu-142s.
Plans are afoot to buy four more P-8Is worth $1 billion (Rs4,500 crore).
A military derivative of Boeing's 737 commercial plane, the P-8I submarine hunter is the Indian Navy's variant of the P-8A Poseidon being developed for the US Navy. The US Navy plans to purchase 108 P-8As.