After a delay, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) would help in enhancing Indian Air Force’s capability to snoop and detect activities of Pakistani and Chinese air force as it is planning to induct the indigenously-developed snooping plane later this month.
“The plan is to induct the Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEWC) aircraft on December 23 at our newly developed Chitradurga Aeronautical Range in Karnataka,” DRDO officials told Mail Today here. Once inducted, the aircraft would help the Air Force to detect, identify and classify threats present in the area under its surveillance and can send the IAF fighters towards enemy planes and other airborne assets.
WHAT IS THE AIRCRAFT CAPABLE OF?
“The plane can act as a command-and-control centre to support air defence operations like the AWACS aircraft India got from Israel and can monitor multiple target aircraft and areas,” the officials said. “The AEWC system can support Air Force in offensive strike missions and assist forces in the tactical battle area in case of hostilities with the enemy countries,” they said.
Sources said most of the capabilities in the aircraft have already been proven but some of them are still undergoing testing and would continue while the aircraft flies in the Air Force. India had contracted for three AWACS aircraft from Russia and Israel which are already flying for the Air Force and the service is looking for inducting two more in another tripartite deal. The planes for the system are provided by Russia while the radar and other snooping systems were provided and integrated by the Israelis.
The only difference between the Indian and Israeli ‘eye in the sky’ is that the IL-76 heavylift aircraft-mounted AWACS system can carry out 360 degree surveillance at a time while the AEWC can monitor only 270 degrees due to limitations in the type of radar.