The Indian Navy on 9 September received a fifth Boeing P-8I, filling out on time more than half of its planned fleet of maritime patrol aircraft.

The aircraft flew from Boeing Field in Seattle, Washington, to Naval Air Station Rajali in India, which plans to buy at least eight of the aircraft, which the nation designated P-8Is.

“The P-8I programme is progressing on schedule, and the aircraft are providing the capabilities to meet our maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare requirements,” Vice Admiral RK Pattanaik, India Deputy Chief of Naval Staff, said in a statement.

Boeing Defense, Space and Security plans to deliver another aircraft by the end of 2014 and two in 2015 under the contract awarded in 2009, says Dennis Swanson, the company’s vice-president in India.

“This is another important milestone for the programme, and we look forward to continuing our great relationship with India,” Swanson says.

The P-8I – based on the Boeing 737-800ERX – is the Indian Navy version of the P-8A Poseidon flown by the US Navy for maritime surveillance and anti-submarine warfare. The US Navy has at least 17 P-8s in its inventory of a planned fleet of 117.

The P-8A programme entered full-rate production in February with the award of w a $2.4 billion contract for 16 aircraft that brought the navy’s total buy to 53. The contract call for 12 P-8s for the US Navy and four slated for the Australian government.

The company builds P-8s in line with its commercial 737 production along with an industry team that includes CFM International, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, SpiritAeroSystems, BAE Systems and GE Aviation.

The P-8I incorporates specific features, such as a 360-degree radar and a magnetic anomaly detector, and Indian-built subsystems that are tailored to meet the country’s maritime patrol requirements, Boeing says.