India receives second AWACS, to be deployed in Agra

Last Updated: Thursday, March 25, 2010 - 23:52

New Delhi: India on Thursday received the second
of the three contracted Israeli-made Phalcon Airborne Early
Warning and Control System at the Jamnagar air base, giving it
the second `eye in the sky` for enhanced surveillance
capabilities.

The second AWACS arrived in Gujarat from Israel in the
evening and will be deployed in Agra, IAF officials said here.

With the arrival of the second AWACS, officials said the
IAF can keep an eye on both the eastern and western front at
the same time and with the induction of the third system,
expected later this year, virtually covering the entire
nation.

The system, primarily used for detection of incoming
hostile cruise missiles and aircraft from hundreds of
kilometres away, can also direct air defence fighters during
combat operations against enemy jets. It also helps detect
troop build-up across the border.

The AWACS from Israel are being procured under a 2003
deal worth USD 1.1 billion.

The tripartite deal also involved Russia as three
Phalcon radars are to be mounted on Russian-make IL-76
heavy-lift transport aircraft, of which the first was
delivered in May last year.

The AWACS aircraft are operated by the Agra-based 50
squadron and after the induction of the first system on May 28
last year, they have been carrying out extensive flying
operations with frontline fighters such as the Su-30MKI,
Mirage-2000 and the Jaguars.

The AWACS also took part in the recently-held major
exercise codenamed `Vayushakti` and controlled the flight
operations of over 100 aircraft participating in the massive
fire-power demonstration.

India and Israel are said to be in advanced
negotiations for the purchase of three more Phalcon AWACS,
which the IAF proposes to integrate with other air and ground
assets.

All six AWACS would be linked with the country`s first
military satellite, proposed to be launched by the middle of
next year.

PTI



First Published: Thursday, March 25, 2010 - 23:52

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