India to get second AWACS on Thursday

Last Updated: Tuesday, March 23, 2010 - 18:23

New Delhi: India will receive another
Israeli-made Phalcon Airborne Early Warning and Control System
(AWACS) on Thursday, giving it the second `eye in the sky` for
enhanced surveillance that would virtually cover the entire
nation.

The second AWACS will arrive in Jamnagar in Gujarat and
will be deployed in Agra, IAF officials said here today.

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.

"After the induction of the third system, we would be
able to virtually cover the whole nation at one go," they
added.

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

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

The tripartite deal also involved Russia as three
Phalcon radars are to be mounted on Russia-make IL-76
heavylift 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 their induction 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.

Known as `eye in the sky` for its surveillance and
target acquisition capabilities, an AWACS provides IAF the
means to keep a tab on enemy aircraft and missiles taking off
from across the border, thereby enhancing response time.

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: Tuesday, March 23, 2010 - 18:23
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