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DRDO AEW&CS
Role Airborne early warning and control
Manufacturer Embraer (platform)
DRDO’s Bangalore-based Centre for Airborne Systems (CABS) (radar)
First flight December 6, 2011
Introduction 2014-2015
Status Under development
Primary user Indian Air Force
Developed from Embraer ERJ 145

The Airborne Early Warning and Control System (AEWACS) is a project of India’s Defence Research & Development                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Organization to develop an AWACS system for the Indian Air Force.

Program details

In 2003, the Indian Air Force (IAF) and Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) carried out a joint study of the system-level requirements and feasibility of development for an Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEWAC) system. The government then approved the project for the development of the AEWAC system by DRDO.

Primary responsibility for the project was with DRDO’s Bangalore-based Centre for Airborne Systems (CABS), which led the design, system integration and testing of the system. LRDE was responsible for the design of the radar array. Defence Electronics Application Laboratory, based in Dehradun, was responsible for the Data Link and Communication Systems for AEW&CS.

The DRDO AEWACS program aims to deliver three radar-equipped surveillance aircraft to the Indian Air Force. The aircraft platform selected was the Embraer ERJ 145. Three ERJ 145 were procured from Embraer at a cost of US $ 300 Million, including the contracted modifications to the airframe. The project goal was to deploy these AEW&C aircraft by 2013.

India’s sole previous effort to develop an AEWAC system was the Airborne Surveillance Platform, but the program, codenamed Airavat, was ended after the only testbed crashed.

The AEW&C project aimed to supplement the larger and more capable EL/W-2090 AWACS acquired by the IAF from Israel. Three EL/W-2090 systems have been ordered, with follow-on orders of 3 more expected in 2010.

Apart from providing the IAF with a cheaper and hence, more flexible AEW&C platform as a backup to its more capable EL/W-2090 class systems, the DRDO AEW&C project aimed to develop the domestic ability to design and operationalize airborne surveillance platforms.

The delivery of six additional systems ordered in October 2010 is to begin from 2015. In June 2010, it was reported that the Indian Air Force is said to be looking at acquiring up to 20 additional systems, in addition to the existing systems on order.

STATUS:-

The first fully modified EMB-145i Aircraft with the antenna and its electronic payload made its maiden flight on December 6, 2011 at Embraer facilities at Sao Jose dos Campos in Brazil with about 1000 Mission System Components provided by CABS, DRDO. These included the critical item – AESA (Active Electronic Scanning Antenna) Radar Antenna developed by DRDO and certified from ANAC, International FAR Certification Agency. at Sao Jose dos Campos in Brazil. Some of the sensitive advanced systems were replaced with dummy equipment of equivalent size and weight. These were to be integrated later in India following flight certification. A two year certification period is expected. DRDO is expected to receive the next two aircraft platforms to start integration by mid-2012.

“The flight is a major milestone towards realizing the dream of Indigenous Airborne Early Warning and Control System, which will put India into a Select Club of Countries” said SA to RM congratulating DRDO Scientists and M/s Embraer Engineers on this achievement.

Maiden flight of the second fully modified aircraft for the indigenously developed Indian Airborne Early Warning and Control System (AEW&C) was held at 1930 IST on 4th April 2012 at the San Jose dos Campos in Brazil. The necessary Mission systems & components including the dummy AAAU (Active Antena Array Unit) are successfully fitted onboard Embraer EMB 145I aircraft.

Capabilities

The AEWACS aircraft will have a locally developed AESA primary radar with IFF. The system will also have ESM (Electronic Support Measures) and CSM (Communications Support Measures) ability. Datalinks to network the AEWACS with fighters, and ground based control systems will also be provided, as will be the SATCOM (Satellite Communication System). The aircraft will also have a comprehensive self defence suite. The avionics suite will be linked via a datahandling system, controlled by Mission computers.

DRDO’s public overview of the AEWACS aircraft stated:

  • The Radar will have an extended range mode against fighter aircraft, and will consist of two back to back AESA arrays, with an additional dedicated IFF array.
  • The ESM system will be able to track sources with a directional accuracy of 2 deg. RMS and a frequency accuracy of 1 MHz.
  • The ESM system will have complete 360 degree coverage in azimuth and have a database of up to 3000 emitters against which threats will be scanned.
  • Communication Support Measure system will analyse and record intercepted communications both inflight and post flight.
  • Self Protection Suite will have a passive Missile Approach Warning System, a Radar Warning Receiver and countermeasures dispensers. The SPS will be integrated with the ESM & CSM suite.
  • The aircraft will support Inflight refuelling.
  • The aircraft will have SATCOM, and datalinks to pass on ESM, CSM and radar data to ground stations and datalinks to pass on target information to fighters. More than 40 other aircraft will be datalinked together by the AEW&C aircraft.                                                                               courtesy : wikipedia.org
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