KOCHI: Nearly a decade after its dreams of flying an indigenous Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) crashed, the vroom of a breakthrough has announced the return of this prestigious programme of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
The Centre for Airborne Systems (CABS), Bangalore, has developed an Indian transmitter/ receiver module that will form the nerve of the system. It’s an array of a number of T/R (transmit/receive) modules that make up the AWACS’ nervous system making it capable of rummaging through all electronic movements in a radius of hundreds of kilometers.
Top CABS sources told this website’s newspaper that India would soon patent its T/R module as “it’s unique in many respects.” It’s a cost effective system and through its development we’re now independent and needn’t rely on imports, sources said. The phased array that India will be using on the AWACS will have the potential to engage multiple targets once it’s fitted on a Brazilian Embraer jet.
With a view to speeding up the programme, the CABS has completed the testing of individual components. This apart, they will soon fly the prototype of a radome minus electronic components to Brazil for test flying it on Embraer jets. “We plan to roll out three usable AWACS within four years. The Brazilian manufacturers will fly the radome prototype for structural corrections. The inputs from the Air Force are also being passed on to them regularly so that the custom made AWACS can be deployed from day one,” sources pointed out.
The AWACS on Embraer will further the strategic prowess of Indian forces and act as the main control room in the air in a battle zone. The next phase of the programme, sources said, will be to develop a more powerful and larger system that can be flown on a bigger platform like an Airbus 319/320 or a Boeing in the 777 series.
Here’s B. Harry’s excellently illustrated page on the various indigenous AEW&C platforms.
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