India’s state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has recently gone ahead and has signed a deal with Israeli Company for the supply of 83 ELM-2052 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radars and ELL-8212/22WB electronic warfare suite (EW suite).

Interestingly DRDO developed Electronic warfare suite (EW suite) onboard Tejas-PV1 light combat aircraft has been performing developmental trials for close to last four years and the program is near completion of its development, Which obviously raised few eyebrows and raised questions why local indigenous Electronic warfare suite (EW suite) was ignored for an imported one.

Just to clear some confusion, DRDO developed Electronic warfare suite (EW suite) is an Integral Compact Self-Protection Electronic Warfare Suite which needs to be incorporated within air frame of the aircraft and also requires integration with platform’s avionics, including Chaff and Flares Dispenser, Missile Warning System, Laser Warning System, Towed RF Decoy and Multi-Function Display to function properly.

Due to limited availability of space internally on the Tejas-PV1 aircraft had to go through removal of other essential on board equipment so that the aircraft can be available only for developmental trials of the Indigenous Electronic warfare suite. Due to space constraint, IAF had recommended an EW suite based on a Self-Protection Jamming Pod, which can be installed on outer wing stations as per the mission requirement.

lightweight (100kg) and low drag ELL-8212/22WB which also has serves on-board IAF’s Sukhoi-30MKI fleet as seen in the above picture is the preferred system by IAF officials due to its history with the air force. Indigenous Electronic warfare suite (EW suite) which was actually developed for Tejas Mk-2 fighter aircraft program to be integrated internally and never had any requirement for integration on the Tejas Mk-1, but after IAF agreed to place orders for 83 upgraded Tejas Mk-1A there was a demand for an EW suite on an External Pod.

While there is yet no clarity why no efforts were made to develop an external Self-Protection Electronic Countermeasures (ECM ) pod based on the hardware and systems which has been already developed for the Integral Compact Self-Protection Electronic Warfare Suite as developed by DRDO, We can only assume that due to strict developmental schedule of the Tejas Mk-1A program or due to long development cycle required for an indigenous external Self-Protection Electronic Countermeasures (ECM) pod, importing Israeli developed ELL-8212/22WB seems to make logical choice due to products history within the fleet and due to easy availability.

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