February 14, 2009 -- IAF will now have to wait till March end for Israeli airborne early warning system, whose induction has already been delayed by 16 months, ddi Indian Government news reported on Friday.
"The Israeli PHALCON airborne early warning and control system (AWACS), which will provide the IAF an eye in the skies to perform surveillance and reconnaissance roles, will arrive in India only by March end," a senior IAF officer said in New Delhi on Friday.
The AWACS mounted on Russian-made IL-76 heavy lift transport aircraft was originally scheduled to be delivered by the Israel Aerospace Industries by November 2007, but could not meet the deadline.
AWACS, a major force multiplier for the Air Force, can provide advance information even as an enemy fighter jet takes off from enemy territory, giving enough time for the IAF to scramble its own fighter jets to counter the enemy aircraft.
It is also an important link in the IAF's plans to go network centric by establishing an advanced Integrated Air Command and Control System (IACCS) through the Air Force Net (AFNET) communication network.
"With IAF rapidly progressing with its network centricity plans, AWACS will be an important element...the air link...in the IACCS," the officer said.
The AWACS will link the IAF's ground and air-based weapon platforms and communication system, which would be vital for IAF's network-centric operations.
With IAF aiming to become a network-centric force by 2010-11, it has been trying to inter-link its land, air and space assets and platforms to provide real-time information for increasing its situational awareness during conflicts.
Under the AFNET project, the IAF has already linked about 70 percent of its land-based assets and platforms to the IACCS, the officer said.
India had in March 2004 signed an USD 1.1 billion deal with Israel for three AWACS fitted on IL-76 platforms that would help IAF detect incoming hostile cruise missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles much before ground-based radars track the rogue flying machines.
IAF's Agra air base has geared up to receive the first AWACS and has got its infrastructure improved by extending the runway, establishing an avionics lab, and integrating ground systems for future operations. (defpro)
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