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The Indian Air Force (IAF) and DRDO’s Electronics and Radar Development Establishment (LRDE) are collaborating to develop a successor to the framed N011M Bars Hybrid Phased Array Radar (PESA), which combined the best of both worlds by adopting technologies from PESA and AESA, which was created when Russia lacked the technology to develop an AESA Fire Control Radar on its own.

Because of its sheer size and massive weight for an entire radar system weighing around 500+kgs, the N011M will be replaced in 2024-25 by an upscaled Uttam AESA Radar that will weigh less than half of its predecessor while providing a significantly increased detection range.

IAF so far has been happy with the performance that Uttam Mk 2 which has been developed with 900+TR modules that offer 20-30% more search and track range when compared to Mk I had 700+TR modules and currently has been under testing board two LCA-Tejas Prototypes. Mk 2 which was initially developed for the LCA AF-Mk2 Program might also find its way into later batches of Tejas Mk1A.

LRDE claims that Mk 2 has superseded in terms of capabilities when compared to contemporary Radars in its class, it exceeds the performance of the Israeli ELTA ELM-2052 AESA Radar and Mk3 is a further buildup of the Mk2 technology will see a radar antenna that could accommodate 1200-1400+TR modules surpassing 270+km search range and 100+km track range of the present N011M Bars PESA Radar in all modes by a 25-40% that will allow pilots of the upgraded Su-30MKI to see further and engage targets with Astra Mk1 (110km), Mk2(160km) and Mk3 (200km+) for fighter size targets.

The IAF intends to send two Su-30MKI aircraft for integration and airborne flight testing, which will likely take another 24 months before the radar is ready for production in 2028-29. LRDE and IAF will most likely incorporate new radar on at least 150 Su-30MKI fleet units over the next 4-5 years after it enters production, most likely on the newer units, while older units may continue to operate with older N011M Bars PESA Radar due to age.

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