P-8I patrol aircraft
GS PAPER III: Security challenges and their management in border areas - linkages of organized crime with terrorism.
Context: The U.S. State Department approved the proposed sale of six P-8I patrol aircraft and related equipment, a deal estimated to cost $2.42 billion.
- In November 2019, the Defence Acquisition Council, chaired by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, approved the procurement of the long-range maritime surveillance aircraft manufactured by Boeing.
- The Government of India has requested to buy six (6) P-8I Patrol aircraft; eight (8) Multifunctional Information Distribution System-Joint Tactical Radio Systems 5 (MIDS-JTRS 5) (6 installed, 2 spares); forty-two (42) AN/AAR-54 Missile Warning Sensors (36 installed, 6 spares); and fourteen (14) LN-251 with Embedded Global Positioning Systems (GPS)/Inertial Navigations Systems (EGIs) (12 installed, 2 spares).
- The Indian Navy is currently in the process of inducting the four P-8Is contracted under the offset clause in 2016.
- With India having signed the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) foundational agreement with the U.S., the six aircraft will come fitted with encrypted systems.
- The P-8I is based on the Boeing 737 commercial aircraft and India was its first international customer.
What is COMCASA?
- COMCASA stands for Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement and is one of the four foundational agreements that the S. signs with allies and close partners to facilitate interoperability between militaries and sale of high end technology.
- COMCASA is an India-specific version of the Communication and Information on Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA).
- It comes into force immediately, and is valid for a period 10 years.
- COMCASA allows India to procure transfer specialised equipment for encrypted communications for US origin military platforms like the C-17, C-130 and P-8Is.
- Currently, these platforms use commercially available communication systems.