New Delhi/ São José dos Campos. India will buy three Embraer 145 jets
from Brazil for integrating the DRDO-designed and built AEW radar for Intelligence,
Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions for the Indian Air Force (IAF).
According to separate announcements by the Indian government and
Embraer, or Empresa Brasileira de Aeronáutica S.A., the Airborne Early
Warning and Control (AEW&C) System will be developed and supplied by the Bangalore
based Centre for Airborne Systems (CABS) for the Indian Air Force (IAF) while
the manufacturer will modify its EMB 145 to integrate the Indian design.
two sides have been in discussion for some time. At the Aero India 2007 air show
in Bangalore, CABS had displayed a model of its Electronically Scanned Array radar
in the Advanced Early Warning (AEW) role fitted on an Embraer jet. CABS is a unit
of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), which has shown some
remarkable successes in the recent past.
The deal, reportedly for US$ 210
million, includes a comprehensive logistics package that includes training, technical
support, spare parts, and ground support equipment. Embraer will modify its regional
jet aircraft, EMB-145 to carry the Active Array Antenna Unit (AAAU), developed
by the DRDO, on the aircraft's fuselage.
It may be noted that all the three
services, IAF, Army and Navy, are looking for 21st century ISR capabilities, and
IAF already has ordered three AWACs fitted with highly potent Israeli Phalcon
radars on board the Russian IL 76 aircraft. The Embarer AEWs will supplement them
for shorter range missions.
The first of the three Phalcon AWAC jets, built
and integrated by the Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) and its subsidiary ELTA,
is due for delivery later this year.
IAF is considering to acquire three
more AWACs aircraft.
Israeli itself is flying the Phalcon system on board
a Gulf stream Executive jet for about two years now.
Both the Phalcon and
DRDO units will be capable of detecting aircraft and cruise or ballistic missiles,
and give timely information to the ground and airborne units for counter-offensive.
Sources told India Strategic that an important element in
this capability would be that irrespective of their origins, both the IL 76 and
Embraer based ISR units would be "able to talk to each other as well as to
ground and airborne units for timely action, and they would also be capable of
connectivity through satellites."
"Connectivity is the key to
precision engagement in today's defensive systems and this has to be assured in
IAF, Naval and Army assets," sources pointed out.
Both the aircraft
would do surveillance over land, air and sea for oncoming threats, and direct
appropriate action from warfighters to counter them.
According to an Embraer
statement, three modified EMB-145 aircraft will be developed under this agreement;
the first one to be delivered in three years, which added that the proven ERJ
145 platform is currently being used on ISR missions in Brazil, Mexico and Greece.
deal was signed in New Delhi July 3rd between Dr S Christopher, Director, Centre
for Airborne Systems (CABS), DRDO, and Mr Luis Carlos Aguiar, Executive Vice President
(Defence and Govt Market), M/s Embraer, in the presence of Mr Marco Brandao, Brazilian
Ambassador, and Mr M Natarajan, Scientific Advisor to Defence Minister.
various sub-systems of the AEW&C Mission system will be integrated into the
'modified green' aircraft by DRDO in Brazil and the full-fledged EMB-145 based
AEW&C will be flight tested for Mission systems in India by DRDO along with
IAF from 2012. The AEW&C system comprises many sub-systems like Radar and
communication links that are being designed and developed by DRDO.
EMB-145 based AEW&C/AWACS versions are already in operation with Air Forces
of Brazil, Mexico and Greece.
Embraer said that the first delivery is scheduled
for 2011. The three aircraft will be outfitted by the customer with cabin equipment
and mission systems, and will join four Legacy jets in operation by the Indian
Air Force (IAF) used to transport Indian VIPs, as well as foreign dignitaries.
fifth Legacy jet belongs to the paramilitary Border Security Force (BSF), under
India's Home Ministry.
It may be recalled that DRDO has been experimenting
with AEW capability for some time. Its one experimental system, based on an Avro
HS 748 propeller-driven aircraft, crashed a few years ago, apparently due to the
mismatch between a relatively weak platform and the ISR radar equipment.
advantage today is that electronics are lighter in weight, and more capable as
their radar domes or receivers do not have to move from side to side or rotate,
but just scan a given area with beams at high speed.
DRDO scientists have
built sufficient knowledge in electronically scanned array radars, and this is
helping in developing the indigenous systems.
Brazil is operating its own
EMB 145 aircraft for ISR missions with the Swedish Erieye system built by Ericsson