SOURCE: RAUNAK KUNDE / NEWS BEAT / IDRW.ORG
The Indian Air Force (IAF) plans to make a strong case for the induction of six more Netra Mk1A airborne early warning and control system (AEW&CS) aircraft in the upcoming year. This upgraded variant will complement the three existing Netra Mk1 AEW&CS aircraft that are already operational with the IAF.
The Netra Mk1A aircraft will be equipped with an enhanced Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar system, currently under development by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). These aircraft will be based on the Embraer ERJ 145 twin-engine platform, similar to the existing Netra Mk1 fleet.
The IAF’s current Netra Mk1 AEW&CS aircraft have proven their operational capabilities during the 2019 standoff with Pakistan, demonstrating high availability and effectiveness. These platforms provide crucial surveillance and early warning capabilities, enabling the IAF to effectively monitor and respond to aerial threats.
In parallel with the Netra Mk1A program, the IAF is also pursuing the development of the Netra Mk2 AEW&CS program. This program aims to develop an AEW&CS aircraft based on the Airbus A321 platform, equipped with an advanced AESA radar system.
The IAF’s requirement for AEW&CS aircraft stands at 18, while the current inventory includes only six aircraft, comprising three Netra Mk1s and three Phalcon AWACS. The IAF plans to induct an additional 12 AEW&CS aircraft by 2030, through the combined efforts of the Netra Mk1A and Netra Mk2 programs.
The acquisition of more Netra Mk1A and Netra Mk2 AEW&CS aircraft will significantly enhance the IAF’s situational awareness and surveillance capabilities, enabling it to effectively defend India’s airspace and maintain a decisive edge in aerial warfare.
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