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Praetor 600

The Indian Air Force (IAF) is embarking on a search for used ERJ145 aircraft, a prior generation of Embraer regional jets, to bolster its Netra Mk1A Airborne Early Warning and Control System (AEW&CS) program. This decision comes despite the fact that Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer SA ceased production of this specific aircraft type in 2020.

Presently, the IAF operates two ERJ145 Netra Mk1 AEW&CS platforms, while one remains under the custody of the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) for further development and research.

Earlier this year, during Aero India 2023, Embraer officials disclosed to that the company was willing to offer the Praetor 600, a super-midsize jet. While smaller than the ERJ145, the Praetor 600 boasts nearly twice the range and a higher service ceiling, reaching 45,000 ft compared to the ERJ145’s 37,000 ft. Embraer claimed that these enhancements would result in improved radar performance. The Praetor 600 also boasts a slightly higher maximum cruise speed of 0.83, and its increased fuel capacity provides improved on-station endurance.

Additionally, DRDO is simultaneously working on the Netra Mk2 AEW&CS program, which is based on the ex-Air India Airbus A321 platform. This program aims to achieve a broader search and tracking range with a 300° coverage, a significant upgrade from the current 240° coverage offered by the Netra Mk1. The IAF envisions operating a fleet of 18 AEW&CS/AWACS platforms as part of its broader airborne surveillance strategy.

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