The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is taking Indian Air Force (IAF) surveillance capabilities to new heights with the development of next-generation Gallium Nitride (GaN) radars for the Netra Mk1A and Mk2 Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) aircraft. These advanced radars promise exceptional long-range detection and identification of objects in air, sea, and land, bolstering the IAF’s situational awareness and operational effectiveness.
Both the Netra Mk1A and Mk2 programs will be equipped with the latest sensor suites specifically designed for comprehensive air, sea, and land surveillance. The GaN technology represents a significant leap forward, enabling the radars to detect even smaller and future targets at extended ranges, even under challenging conditions with heavy clutter and jamming attempts.
Despite its impressive power and range, exceeding 500km in instrumented conditions, the GaN technology is also energy-efficient, contributing to the overall operational cost-effectiveness of the platforms.
The Netra Mk1A, based on the EMB-145 platform, will boast 240° radar coverage, while the Mk2 will have an additional frontal radar, expanding its coverage to 300°. This enhanced coverage ensures superior situational awareness, allowing the IAF to effectively monitor vast areas of interest.
Both programs will run concurrently, reflecting the IAF’s keenness to rapidly expand its AEW&C capabilities. Currently, the IAF operates six AEW&C aircraft, but the addition of these advanced platforms equipped with next-generation GaN technology will significantly enhance its surveillance and defense posture.