The Indian defence establishment is in the process of reviving a project to develop an indigenous airborne radar system. Though India has signed a $1 billion deal with Israel and Russia to purchase three Phalcon Airborne Early Warning and Control Systems (AWACS), the defence authorities have decided to go an indigenous system keeping in view the country's security concerns.
A proposal to this effect has been sent by the Bangalore-based Centre for Airborne Systems (CABS) to the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in New Delhi for approval." The proposal is under the consideration of the DRDO," CABS director KU Limaye said here on the sidelines of the International Radar Symposium India-2003.
An earlier project had been abandoned after the Avro aircraft with the rotar system mounted on it crashed at Arakkonam in Tamil Nadu four years ago, killing eight people — five scientists and three Indian Air Force crew." We will resume the programme by mounting the airborne radar this time on a smaller aircraft with a surveillance range of 200 km," Limaye said." Unlike the rotating antenna in dome shape in the earlier airborne platform that was mounted on an Avro aircraft, the electronic phased array radar will be installed on the Brazilian Embraer 145 jet."
To make up for time lost in building an indigenous system, the Indian government had to go for the Phalcons, which will be mounted on the Russian-built Ilyushin-76 aircraft that will have a range of 400 km." We will use signal processing devices, sub-systems and expertise gained in the previous project," said Limaye, who is also the director of the Electronics and Radar Development Establishment (LRDE) here.
The LRDE is also building two versions of multi-role three-dimensional surveillance radar for the IAF and the Indian Navy. The two defence services have seen the performance of the prototype. The versions are undergoing further checks for their induction in the next two years.