NEW DELHI, March 1 (UPI) -- The Indian government has allocated its navy funds to buy an additional nine mid-range reconnaissance airplanes for nearly $1 billion.
The new aircraft will assist in maintaining India's Indian Ocean security and supplement the Indian navy's earlier order of P-8I Poseidon long-range reconnaissance airplanes from U.S. defense manufacturer Boeing.
The tender for the new aircraft is being sought by not only by Boeing and U.S. defense contractor Lockheed Martin, but Sweden's Saab, France's Dassault Aviation, Brazil's Embraer and European concern EADS, Web site navaltoday.com reported.
India's military specifications demand the new aircraft must carry missiles and torpedoes capable of destroying both surface ships and submarines and have a minimum flight range of the airplanes of 400 miles. The range of Boeing's P-8I is in excess of 1,250 miles.
In 2008 India signed an initial procurement contract with Boeing for eight P-8I Poseidon airplanes worth $2.1 billion, with another contract for an additional four P-8Is expected to be signed this month, as India intends to increase its fleet of Poseidon P-81 patrol aircraft to 24 in total.