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SOURCE: IDRW NEWS NETWORK

Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria in a recent webinar confirmed that the Indian Air Force (IAF) is looking to procure more Netra Airborne Early Warning and Control System developed by DRDO to beef up its Indigenous AWACS fleet capabilities which are grossly inadequate to fight a two-front war with Pakistan and China.

DRDO had proposed to develop an Airbus C295 based Netra 2.0 AEW&CS once a deal for the same is inked with Airbus-Tata but as informed to idrw.org, IAF is keen to procure 5 more Netra AEW&CS based on Embraer ERJ145 regional jet instead. Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer has been accused of paying a bribe to middlemen in a previous deal for three ERJ145 due to which the Indian Government wanted to Blacklist the firm but it wasn’t done so to avoid crippling or grounding of the entire fleet.

Embraer is still supplying spares and support to the three ERJ145 based Netra AEW&CS procured by India and Two are flying with IAF and one is still retained by DRDO as Test Bed. Indian Government is also in talks to procure the commercial wing of the Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer which includes the ERJ 135/140/145 regional jet family, talks with Embraer could be one of the possible reasons why IAF is keen on procuring more ERJ145 based Netra AEW&CS other than going for Airbus C295 based Netra 2.0 AEW&CS which might take time for testing and recertification on a new aircraft type.

Embraer’s ERJ 145XR (Extra Long Range) introduced in 2020 with a 2,000 nm range is a significant increase over other commercial ERJ 145 versions could be one of the reasons why IAF is keen on more jets from the same family said Defence Analysts Ranesh Rajan to idrw.org. Airbus C295 based Netra 2.0 AEW&CS might happen in the future since the combined requirement is still nearly 15 units but the focus now is to get Six Airbus A330 based AWACS by 2030 and add 2 more IL-76 Phalcon AWACS by 2025-26 said Defence Analysts Ranesh Rajan to idrw.org.

DRDO is been working on upgraded Netra AEW&CS with improved range, detection, and hardened anti-jamming mechanism based on the feedback received from the IAF. The second lot of Netra AEW&CS will carry a much more advanced AESA Radar and if Embraer’s ERJ 145XR is selected then will come with reduced specific fuel consumption, improved hot and high operation capabilities, and higher fuel carrying capabilities for more inflight time.

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