India to Procure Additional AWACS

By admin • July 20th, 2010

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India Defence Online, New Delhi — The Indian Air Force (IAF) has decided to acquire two more Airborne Warning and Control Systems (AWACS) to boost up the country’s air defence. The IAF will be going in for two more AWACS in addition to the three Phalcon AWACS to be inducted this year end.

The Phalcon AWACS deal was initiated in 2004 between India, Israel and Russia. The project involved the Israeli Phalcon early-warning radar and communication suites which had to be mounted on the Russian IL-76 heavy-lift military aircraft. The deal was to the tune of $1.1 billion. The last of the three contracted AWACS will be inducted by December, IAF officials indicated.

AWACS has complimented the IAF’s capability in terms of detection and the tracking of troop build-ups or aircraft movements in border areas and enemy territories. Besides detection of incoming cruise missiles and aircraft in a 400 kilometre range in all-weather conditions, AWACS is useful to direct air defence fighters during combat operations against enemy planes. It will provide a much enhanced situational awareness and the capability to truly project aerospace power.

A few months ago, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) noted that the IAF possesses less than the adequate number of surveillance radars needed for providing reliable detection. The PAC has insisted the speeding up of commissioning and installation of medium power radars and low-level transportable radars and the completion of associated civil and development projects be expedited to substantiate air defence assets of the country.

The IAF is consciously pursuing its mission to accomplish maximum air defence security through the induction of a variety of radars like 19 low-level transportable radars (LLTRs), 4 medium-power radars (MPRs), 4 Aerostat and 30 indigenous medium-range Rohini systems. The induction of 19 LLTRs is beginning in October 2011 and the 4 MPRs are expected to be delivered by December 2011. An indigenous mini AWACS programme to the tune of Rs 1,800 crore is also being developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). These homegrown airborne early warning systems will be put on the three Embraer-145 jets being acquired for $210 million from Brazil.

The acquisition of radars is a part of a larger IAF plan which is aiming for the setting up of five nodes of Integrated Air Command and Control System (IACCS) across India. The constant flow and transfer of data from a host of civilian and military radars including AWACS, all networked under IACCS, will enable the viewing of the air situation in ‘real time’. The IAF already has a very robust network called the air force net (AF-net) on which it will ride the IACCS and the operational data links. All the assets that are presently being acquired by the IAF will also have the capability and provisions to plug into this network. The AWACS will form an extremely important component of this command and control structure and will create the necessary transparency in the battle-space.

source: India Defence Online

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