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Amid delays in the take-off of Netra MkII AEW&CS, the Indian Air Force (IAF) was considering leasing such aircraft to bridge its capability gap and after sending feelers for such planes from global manufacturers and current operators, IAF was not able to get any offers for the lease of AEW&CS or AWACS.

Based on market research, Not many aircraft are available that are capable of meeting the requirements of the IAF. Some that are retiring are based on the vintage tech of the early ’70s era with little utility life left and companies like Boeing which is the only global player with facilities to manufacture platforms like E-767 and 737 AEW&C E-7 Wedgetail are not into leasing.

IAF plans to procure 2 Israeli Phalcon AWACS Mk2 with improved Radar but couldn’t take off due to the huge cost jump requested by Russia for the IL-76 Platform and Israel for conversion and Radar system. IAF plans to add 2 more Netra Mk1 based on the Embraer ERJ 145 also failed to take off due to some reservations about the capability of the platform.

DRDO that is working on Six Netra Mk2 based on the Ex-Air India Airbus A321 platform will take another 4-5 years and IAF’s current capabilities are limited to three Israeli-origin Phalcon airborne early warning and control systems and two homegrown Netra AEW&C planes.

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