The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in India is set to build six aircraft in a bid to enhance surveillance capabilities along borders with Pakistan and China.
According to an ANI report, DRDO will procure six aircraft from domestic carrier Air India and modify them into Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) Block 2 aircraft. The modified aircraft will be able to fly with radars to carry out surveillance operations.
The Rs105bn ($1.43bn) project is expected to be approved by the government soon.
Government sources told the news agency: “The six AEW&C block two planes would be highly capable than their predecessor NETRA plane and provide 360° coverage deep inside the enemy territory during missions.”
The sources further added, if this project is confirmed, India may not advance with its previous plans that involved purchasing six Airbus 330 transport aircraft and then equipping them with Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS).
The new project is expected to support the domestic defence industry as India has ramped up defence expenditure amid border tensions with Pakistan and China.
Last month, the Indian Air Force (IAF) received three more Rafale fighter jets. The journey from France took eight hours, demonstrating the jets’ long-range operational capability.
The first batch of five jets arrived in India in July and was formally inducted into the IAF in October.
Overall, India will receive 36 Rafale jets from Dassault Aviation. All the jets are expected to arrive in India by the end of next year.