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India officially selects Airbus A330 platform for next-gen indigenous AWACS aircraft

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World Aviation Defense & Security News - India
 
 
India officially selects Airbus A330 platform for next-gen indigenous AWACS aircraft
 
India on Saturday took the first step towards developing an indigenous airborne warning and control system (AWACS), with the India's defence acquisition council (DAC) giving its go-ahead to a $817 mn project involving mounting two such complex surveillance systems on the Airbus A330 platform.
     
India on Saturday took the first step towards developing an indigenous airborne warning and control system (AWACS), with the India's defence acquisition council (DAC) giving its go-ahead to a $817 mn project involving mounting two such complex surveillance systems on the Airbus A330 platform.
Airbus A330 medium twin-engine jet aircraft
     
The DAC’s ‘acceptance of necessity’ for weapons and systems is the first step towards making proposed procurements.

The radar system to detect far off targets will be developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). Airbus Defence & Space was the only bidder for the AWACS India programme, making it the first single vendor project to be cleared by the NDA government.

The IAF currently operates Israeli Phalcon AWACS mounted on Russian IL-76 heavy-lift planes. The system has a range of 400km. It is also on course to induct Brazilian Embraer airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) system aircraft. The AEW&C systems developed by the DRDO are being installed on Embraer-145 jets imported from Brazil.

The approval for the AWACS India project paves the way for the country developing more complex airborne surveillance systems to detect incoming aerial threats such as hostile planes and missiles.

The AWACS is a robust monitoring system that provides 360-degree coverage, compared to AEW&C's 270-degree capability. The AWACS also has better range and endurance.

Several long-pending projects to modernise the military with next-generation submarines, anti-tank guided missiles, attack helicopters, heavy-lift choppers and tanks have gathered momentum during recent months following the DAC’s approval. Signing of contracts and final induction of equipment could take up to 10 years, with staggered payments being made at different stages.