The Indian Air Force (IAF) is near to completing the purchase of two additional EL/M-2075 Phalcon airborne warning and control system (AWACS) aircraft, a defence ministry source has revealed.

The Times of India reported the source as saying that the $800m draft contract for the two new AWACS aircraft was in the final stages of negotiation.

The aircraft are in addition to the three A-50EI variants previously procured under a $1.1bn tripartite contract signed with Israel and Russia in 2004.

The AWACS aircraft is based on the Russian Ilyushin Il-76 military transport plane, which is equipped with the Phalcon solid-state L-band conformal array radar system.

The aircraft will be used by the air force for airborne early warning, intelligence gathering and tactical surveillance of aerial and surface targets.

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