Stalled AWACS Deals Hit Air Force

If airborne warning and control systems (AWACS) are considered “eyes in the sky”, India is battling debilitating cataract in this military arena. Even as China and Pakistan induct more such force-multipliers, the IAF is faced with a double whammy due to a deadlocked deal with Israel and Russia as well as painfully slow progress in indigenous efforts.

IAF currently has only three AWACS, with Israeli Phalcon radar systems mounted on Russian IL-76 heavy-lift aircraft, which were inducted in 2009-2011 under a $1.1 billion deal inked in 2004.

The force also inducted an indigenous AEW&C (airborne early-warning and control system) christened “Netra” in February this year, about seven years behind schedule. Moreover, while Netra has a normal radar range of just 250-km with 240-degree coverage, AWACS like the Phalcon have an over 400-km range with 360-degree coverage. Read More…

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