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Indian Navy will soon activate its second aircraft carrier with pending clearance to begin construction work on the third aircraft carrier, has been informed that the Indian Navy is planning to revive its long pending plans to procure either deck-based or shore-based AEW&C aircraft that will enhance a carrier group’s offensive and defensive capabilities and improve overall situational awareness.

Nearly 18 years ago Indian Navy had expressed interest in acquiring six E-2C Hawkeye carrier-based airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft for its Two aircraft carriers but questions were raised if Hawkeye can operate from smaller Indian aircraft carriers that are not equipped with catapult systems nor has deck space like U.S Aircraft carriers for takeoff.

Northrop Gruman, the makers of the Hawkeye AEW&C had carried out detailed studies and had told that India-specific varaint can be developed that can operate from a 45000-ton aircraft carrier that India operates. Later Boeing also pitched its 737-AEW&C Wedgetail which can be used as a shore-based airborne early warning aircraft that can cover carrier battle groups.

Indian Navy is monitoring the Netra AEW&C Mk2 program that will be executed by DRDO to be mounted on the Airbus A321 platform for the Indian Air Force. has been told that locally developing a deck-based AEW&C aircraft is highly unlikely but a shore-based Netra AEW&C Mk2 program customized for the Indian Navy’s requirements is a possibility or the Navy might have a relook at the E-2D Hawkeye program.

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