How Does Indian Navy’s P-8I Poseidon Detect Submarines From The Air

P8 Poseidon aircraft
The P-8 Poseidon Aircraft

The P-8 Poseidon is an aircraft designed for long-range anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions. It is capable of broad-area maritime operations. It is a derivative of the Next-Generation 737-800. It combines superior performance and reliability with an advanced mission system that ensures maximum operational capabilities in the future battle space.

Most aircrafts detect submarines using their Magnetic Anomaly Detectors (MAD). One thing that separates them from the P-8 Poseidon is that it does not have a Magnetic Anomaly Detector.

It uses, among other things, passive sonar via dropped sonobouys to detect submarines. All submarines make some noise which depends upon the frequency of their electrical system. There exist gigantic databases of noises made by almost each and every submarine. This helps to distinguish between the types of submarines and their allegiance.

Working of Sonobuoys
Working of the Sonobuoy System

These sonobuoys are powered by ocean water activated batteries and self scuttle after a pre-determined period of time. An aircraft may launch a field of sonobuoys to detect and track a submarine and once the submarine is located the buoy field will be advanced in the proper direction to maintain contact with the target submarine.

Operators on Indian Navy's Boeing.
Operators on Indian Navy’s Boeing.

The Indian Navy has inked a deal to acquire four of these P-8 Poseidon aircrafts for around $1 billion. The Navy already has eight P-8 aircrafts presently. Currently, the eight aircraft are based at INS Rajali and are operated by Indian Naval Air Squadron 312A.

Armed with deadly Harpoon Block-II missiles, MK-54 lightweight torpedoes, rockets and depth charges, these aircrafts are India’s hawk eyes over the Indian Ocean Region (IOR). It has achieved a number of operational milestones which includes participation in the search effort for Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370, the first successful firing of air launched Harpoon Block II missile in the world, torpedo firing and active participation in major naval exercises across the globe. With a maximum speed of 907 km/h and an operating range of over 1,200 nautical miles, the aircraft will be able to detect threats and neutralize them if required, far before they come anywhere near Indian shores.

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