Apr 1, 2014
India To Augment Awacs Fleet
Though the type of aircraft hasn’t been specified, India is looking at acquiring a platform that can support an Awacs antenna dome, which is about 10 meters in diameter. The aircraft also should have provisions for the installation of all external and internal elements of the mission systems, the official adds.
Only original aircraft manufacturers are qualified to submit the bids. Also, “the vendors should be willing to support the product for a period not less than 30 years from the date of acceptance of the aircraft,” he says.
In March 2013, Indian Defense Minister said the indigenous development of Awacs was envisioned to be completed in 84 months. The program started in late 2013 and is expected to be completed by around 2020, assuming there are no delays.
IAF currently operates three Awacs platforms: Ilyushin IL-76s upgraded with Israel Aerospace Industries’ (IAI) Phalcon Awacs radar and mission control systems, with a platform designation of A-50EI. The modified IL-76s already serves in Russia as the A-50 Awacs.
India has already activated a follow-on order for two additional A-50EIs from IAI.
According to the defense ministry official, the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO), which is developing the radars and sensors, is looking at either the Boeing-767 or Airbus A330 as the new platform. However, vendors such as Ilyushin, Antonov, Sukhoi, Bombardier and Saab could also be in the running.