The Indian Navy’s first P-8I, Long Range Maritime Reconnaissance aircraft took off on its first flight on Wednesday from Renton field in the US State of Washington, taking off at 1202 hours and landing two hours and 31 minutes later, at Boeing field in Seattle.According to a statement issued by Boeing, its test pilots, Regis Hancock and Chris Dobb and systems operator, Robin Holladay, performed airborne systems checks including engine accelerations and decelerations and autopilot flight modes, and took the P-8I to a maximum altitude of 41,000 feet prior to landing.
The statement quoted the navy’s Assistant Chief of Naval Staff (Air), Rear Admiral DM Sudan, as saying, “The P-8I program is progressing well and we are looking forward to this potent platform joining the Indian Navy as part of its fleet.”
The company says it will begin mission systems installation and checkout work on the aircraft in the coming weeks at a company facility near Boeing Field.The statement also quoted Boeing P-8I program manager, Leland Wight, as saying, “Flying the first P-8 for an international customer is a key milestone for our entire team. We have transitioned to P-8I production, and remain on track to deliver the first aircraft to the Indian Navy in 2013.”
This aircraft is the first of eight P-8I aircraft that the Indian Navy has ordered from Boeing. India retains the right to exercise an option for four additional aircraft.
Besides Boeing, the P-8I is built by a team that includes CFM International, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, Spirit AeroSystems, BAE Systems and GE Aviation.