As part of $2.1-billion deal inked with the American firm in January 2009

The Navy on Wednesday received the first of the eight P-8I maritime surveillance aircraft it is to get from Boeing.

India had signed a deal worth over $2.1 billion with the American firm in January 2009 for procuring the long-range surveillance aircraft, which are equipped with anti-submarine weaponry.

The first plane was handed over to Indian personnel by the company in Seattle. It will be used for training the crew there, Navy officials said here. This aircraft, along with two more will arrive in India in May 2013.

P-8I is a derivative of Boeing 737-800 long-range maritime reconnaissance aircraft and anti-submarine warfare aircraft. It is expected to replace the Navy’s Russian Tupolev Tu-142M maritime surveillance turboprop. The plane is an Indian variant of the P-8A Poseidon that Boeing is developing for the U.S. Navy. India requires aircraft able to patrol the vast stretches of the Indian Ocean. The Navy’s contract with Boeing included an option for four additional aircraft along with warfare, intelligence and surveillance systems, as well as training and maintenance support.

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