Navy shows off Super Hornets, Poseidon aircraft during Aero India 2019
By CHRISTIAN LOPEZ | STARS AND STRIPES Published: February 22, 2019
U.S. military aircraft — including Navy F/A-18E Super Hornets and a P-8A Poseidon — traveled to Yelahanka Air Force Station in Bengaluru, India, to take part in the 12th edition of Aero India 2019 underway through Sunday.
Hosted by the Defense Ministry of India, the Indian air force and many other organizations, Aero India is one of the largest air shows in Asia. Held every two years since 1996, it functions as India’s premiere aerospace exhibition, trade and air show.
The Navy sees Aero India as an opportunity to strengthen its military ties with India, a regional partner. This year, the trade show also provides a platform to show off the P-8A, the most up-to-date version of the Navy’s anti-submarine workhorse.
Boeing in April 2017 agreed to supply the U.S., United Kingdom and Australian navies with 17 of the modernized aircraft, a contract worth $2.2 billion. The Indian air force since 2009 has flown an older variant, the P-8I, according to Boeing’s website.
“Aero India offers an excellent opportunity to showcase the P-8A Poseidon to our regional partners throughout the Indo-Pacific,” said Lt. Cmdr. David Shultz, the Patrol Squadron 47 detachment officer-in-charge in a Navy statement released Tuesday.
Super Hornets of Strike Fighter Squadron 27, the Royal Maces, joined the P-8A and 17 other U.S. military aircraft to perform aerial demonstrations and be put on display, according to a Navy statement.
“Our participation in Aero India … will strengthen our partnership with India and help establish standardized procedures for continued anti-submarine warfare cooperation in the future,” said Lt. Michael Doehler, the patrol squadron assistant officer-in-charge of the air show detachment, in the statement.
Both squadrons — strike fighters and anti-submarine patrol — are-deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet, which is headquartered at Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan.
In May, the Defense Department renamed U.S. Pacific Command to Indo-Pacific Command, reflecting the rising strategic importance of the Indian Ocean, India and Sri Lanka.