IndiaAir Force inducts its first self-made but incomplete mini-eye-in-the-sky plane

Air Force inducts its first self-made but incomplete mini-eye-in-the-sky plane


Air Force inducts its first self-made but incomplete mini-eye-in-the-sky plane

Today, while the Indian Air Force (IAF) received a shot in the arm, the country's research got a boost. They both flowed from the same event where the IAF got the first, self-made, eye in the sky aircraft from the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

The aircraft which goes by the technical name of Airborne Early Warning and Control System (AEW&C) still is incomplete in more ways than one. Yet there were hardly any resentful faces.

To be based at Bathinda in , these aircraft represent tactful use of Indian radars and complex on a foreign platform that the Brazilian Embraer jet represent.

Speaking at the occasion, Director General of DRDO, Dr S Christopher said, “Our western adversary Pakistan has a Swedish design plane. This system of ours is exactly like that and its elevation scan is advantageous. It has air to air refueling which Pakistan does not have. It has many more features and yet it costs only half the price of  the Pakistan plane does and I am including the cost of production and development. He added, “Many DRDO labs, IAF, public sector units and 50 private companies were involved in the project.

Dr G Satheesh Reddy, Scientific Advisor to Defence Minister said, “This aircraft is almost complete. All aspects demonstrated before the IAF. The next version will be upgraded and will have a longer range and better coverage. Yet, there are many areas we need to work in when it comes to Electronic Warfare like handling multiple frequencies. We also need to miniaturise our system and make it agile.”

Standing next to Dr Reddy were three women who one could well think of as excited visitors. But they were more than that.

“You asked about features and because time wasn't available we could not check out the extended radar range and performance. But we will do so in the second phase and now when we put this aircraft through operations in the next three months, we will get feedback. The next aircraft, in the Final Operational Clearance (FOC) configuration will be a splendid one,” said J Manjula, Director General, Electronics and Communication Systems of the DRDO.

Bhagya Lakshmi, her colleague said, “The IAF is very happy with us”.

WHAT IS THE AEW & C plane?

The DRDO termed the AEW&C, a ‘game changer in air warfare'. The system is a complex integration of Active Electronically Scanned Radar, Secondary Surveillance Radar, Electronic and Communication Counter Measures, LOS (Line of Sight) and beyond LOS data link, voice communication system and self protection suite, built on an Embraer 145 aircraft. The AEW&C system has undergone all and environmental trials and has been accepted by the IAF for induction. 


The Defence Ministry has ordered a Central Bureau of Investigation probe into the deal to procure the three Embraer jets. When the DRDO sought a clarification based on reports of Embraer paying bribes for bagging the contract, “Embraer, in their reply, admitted that they have entered into an Agreement with an Agency towards the Contract and that a sum of $5.76 Million was paid to the Agency” as per a note released in the Parliament. Has the case impacted the project? Dr Christopher said, “There has been no impact by CBI cases. We have held back part payment and legal action is on. Ours is technical work and we are carrying out”.



The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.


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