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The Indian Air Force (IAF) has opted for continuity over novelty, choosing to acquire used Embraer ERJ-145 regional jets for its next-generation Netra Airborne Early Warning & Control System (AEW&CS) platform instead of the Brazilian aerospace major’s new Praetor 600 business jet.

The Brazilian Aerospace major extended an offer to supply the Praetor 600 as the new platform for mounting the Netra AEW&CS Sensor suites, last year at Aero India 2023 However, the IAF opted to stick with the older ERJ-145 business jet, which has been serving this role for the Netra Mk1 AEW&CS already inducted into the IAF.

Aviation experts have highlighted to that the ERJ-145, despite production cessation, is readily available in significant numbers. The COVID-19 pandemic severely impacted air travel demand, leading to the closure of some large ERJ-145 operators globally. Currently, around 220 ERJ-145s are in storage worldwide, with approximately 350 still in service. The IAF, having inducted a newly built ERJ-145 in 2012, now faces the need to procure from the used market and engage in Embraer’s conversion process to configure these aircraft for military use.

One of the primary factors influencing the IAF’s decision is the cost-effectiveness of utilizing the existing ERJ-145 fleet. With a significant number of these aircraft available in storage, the procurement cost is expected to be lower compared to acquiring new Praetor 600s. Additionally, the IAF is already familiar with the ERJ-145 platform, having successfully integrated the Netra AEW&CS on the Mk1 variant.

The ERJ-145 has been a popular choice among regional jet operators globally, contributing to its widespread availability. Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, the existing ERJ-145 operators present an opportunity for the IAF to source these aircraft and adapt them for their specific AEW&CS requirements.

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