April 22, 2021
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Aerial scanners
Upgrading indigenous AWACS capability

India is set to upgrade its indigenous airborne early warning and control systems (AEW&C) aircraft to the larger airborne warning and command system (AWACS) based on a western platform. Hitherto it has used the Russian Ilyushin-76 to fit an Israeli Phalcon radar and the smaller Brazilian Embraer-145 on which it attached an airborne radar system designed and developed in Indian laboratories.

While these two systems complement each other, a larger-bodied platform indigenously constructed is a long term requirement. The French Airbus company has offered is A-330 aircraft to be converted into a radome-carrying package. It remains to be seen how the NDA government handles this “single vendor” proposition which was hitherto taboo.

India has been working on airborne radar systems for the past quarter century. It began an indigenous project based on the HS-748 Avro transport aircraft but abandoned it when the lone testbed  crashed while testing an imported radome (radar dome). To save time and yet acquire state-of-the-art technology it turned
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