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.
The 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
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
Israeli itself is flying the Phalcon system on
board a Gulf stream Executive jet for about two
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
Both the aircraft would do surveillance over
land, air and sea for oncoming threats, and direct
appropriate action from warfighters to counter
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.
The 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.
The 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
A few 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.
A fifth Legacy jet belongs to the paramilitary
Border Security Force (BSF), under India's Home
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.
One 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 Microwave.