The Indian Air Force has received the first of three Phalcon airborne warning and control system (AWAC) from Israel Aerospace Industries.

The $1.1bn deal involves India, Israel and Russia and was announced in 2004.

The system fitted to a Ilyushin-76 aircraft can detect cruise missiles, aircraft at long range, troop movements and missile launches and even confidential communication between enemy frontline units.

It has can simultaneously track flying 250 objects within a radius of 800km and has a ‘look-down capability’ for monitoring movements on ground or sea.

The early warning and surveillance radar will help pilots in tactical manouevres in air under controlled direction, enhancing both offensive and defensive operations.

Its high mobility will help in neutralising threats by being made available at short notice.

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The AWACs will be operated by the Agra air base under Central Air Command.

The remaining two will be delivered by end of 2011 making India the second country to acquire the systems after China.