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P-8I Patrol Aircraft

  • 04 May 2021
  • 4 min read

Why in News

The US State Department has approved the sale of six P-8I patrol aircraft and related equipment to India.

  • The six aircraft will come fitted with encrypted systems, as India has signed the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) with the US.
  • The Defence Acquisition Council approved the procurement of the aircraft in 2019.

Key Points

  • About the P-8I Aircraft:
    • It is a long-range maritime reconnaissance and Anti-Submarine Warfare Aircraft.
    • It is a variant of the P-8A Poseidon aircraft that Boeing company developed as a replacement for the US Navy’s ageing P-3 fleet.
    • With a maximum speed of 907 kmph and an operating range of over 1,200 nautical miles, the P-8Is detect threats and neutralize them if required, far before they come anywhere near Indian shores.
    • Indian Navy became the first international customer for the P-8 aircraft in 2009.
  • Indo-US Defence Ties:
    • This proposed sale will help to strengthen the US-Indian strategic relationship.
      • For the US, India continues to be an important force for political stability, peace, and economic progress in the Indo-Pacific and South Asia region.
    • Defense purchases from the United States have been increasingly an integral part of growing ties between the two countries.
      • From near zero in 2008, India-US defence trade touched USD 20 billion in 2020, helped along by major policy upgrades.
    • The US designating India a Major Defence Partner (in 2016) and then granting it the same access to defence technology as NATO allies and Australia, Japan and South Korea under Strategic Trade Authorization-1 (STA) in 2018.
  • COMCASA Agreement:
    • COMCASA (Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement) is meant to provide a legal framework for the transfer of communication security equipment from the US to India that would facilitate “interoperability” between their forces — and potentially with other militaries that use US-origin systems for secured data links.
    • It is one of the four foundational agreements that the US signs with allies and close partners to facilitate interoperability between militaries and sale of high end technology.
    • It is an India-specific version of the Communication and Information on Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA).

Four Foundational Agreements between the US and its Partners

  • General Security Of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA)
    • GSOMIA allows militaries to share the intelligence gathered by them.
    • Signed by India in 2002.
  • Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA):
    • LEMOA allows both countries to have access to each other’s designated military facilities for refueling and replenishment.
    • Signed by India in 2016.
  • Communications and Information Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA)
    • Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) is the India specific version of CISMOA.
    • Signed by India in 2018.
  • Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA)
    • BECA will allow India and US militaries to share geospatial and satellite data with each other.
    • India has signed BECA in 2020.

Defence Acquisition Council

  • The Defence Acquisition Council is the highest decision-making body in the Defence Ministry for deciding on new policies and capital acquisitions for the three services (Army, Navy and Air Force) and the Indian Coast Guard.
  • The Minister of Defence is the Chairman of the Council.
  • It was formed, after the Group of Ministers recommendations on 'Reforming the National Security System', in 2001, post Kargil War (1999).

Source: TH

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