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Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer is set to make a significant foray into the Indian aerospace and defence market with its Praetor 600 super mid-size business jets. This move aims not only to promote the Praetor 600 within the country but also to showcase these jets to the Indian Air Force (IAF), which has plans to acquire six more indigenous Netra-Mk1A Airborne Early Warning and Control System (AEW&CS) aircraft.

Six additional Netra-Mk1A AEW&CS, similar to its two predecessors, will be based on the ERJ145 aircraft, which was initially manufactured by Embraer. However, since 2020, this model has been discontinued. To address this, Embraer has put forth an innovative proposal to the IAF. They have offered the Praetor 600 business jet as a platform to mount the Netra-Mk1A AEW&CS sensors.

The Praetor 600, though smaller in size compared to the ERJ145, offers a remarkable increase in range and endurance. This enhancement is attributed to the Praetor 600’s smaller, yet highly fuel-efficient engines. These features make it a compelling choice for hosting AEW&CS systems, which require prolonged flight times and comprehensive coverage.

The IAF’s intention to procure ERJ145 aircraft from the used commercial market and subsequently convert them in India is a notable development in India’s defence strategy. It is estimated that around 700 ERJ145 aircraft remain operational in the commercial aviation sector. These planes are still being utilized by regional airlines for shorter routes, indicating a readily available supply of airframes for the IAF’s AEW&CS program.

The Netra-Mk1A AEW&CS aircraft are vital components of India’s defence infrastructure, providing critical early warning and control capabilities. These systems play a crucial role in ensuring airspace security and surveillance. IAF already has placed orders for Six Netra MkII that will be based on the Airbus A321 platforms and also cleared a proposal to procure Six more Netra Mk1A.

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