The Indian Air Force will receive its second airborne warning and control system (AWACS) in March 2010, as part of the $1.1bn deal signed with Israel in 2004 for acquiring three AWACS.
The AWACS, called the eye-in-the-sky, will enhance the air force’s capability to see beyond conventional ground-based and tethered electromagnetic radars, as well as to detect incoming airborne threats.
The second AWACS, to be integrated with the IL-76 heavy-lift aircraft, will be based at the air force’s Agra Air Base, according to economictimes.indiatimes.com.
The AWACS, with range far greater than the existing systems, will detect aircraft, cruise missiles and other flying objects.
It will also collate surface information about troop movements and missile launches.
The air force will also use the AWACS to listen in on confidential communications between enemy front-line units.
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The AWACS will enhance the IAF’s offensive and defensive operations, and provide a secure aerial umbrella to neutralise any incoming threats.
Designed by Ilyushin and manufactured by Tashkent Aviation Production Association, the IL-76 is a multipurpose four-engined strategic airlifter, originally planned as a commercial freighter in 1967.
With the second AWACS, India has become member of a select club of nations, including the US, Russia, the UK, Japan, Australia and Turkey, which operate such a sophisticated system.
India received the first airborne warning system in May 2009 as part of the AWACS project, a tripartite contract between India, Israel and Russia.