Indian Air Force to get new 'prying plane' at Aero India

Indian Air Force to get new 'prying plane' at Aero India

The Indian Air Force (IAF) will get delivery of the first Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) system, Prying Plane, at the Aero India 2017, kicking off at the Yelahanka Air Force Station here on February 14.

Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) Chairman S Christopher told mediapersons here on Saturday that the second platform would be inducted by April this year. So far, DRDO has spent Rs 2,400 crore on the programme sanctioned in October 2004.

Built on Embraer EMB145, the AEW&C System project is being executed by DRDO lab Centre for Air Borne Systems (CABS). The aircraft had to be extensively modified to equip itself with the mission system developed indigenously by multiple DRDO labs.

The system includes structural, mechanical interfaces, electrical power and interfaces. The modifications were based on interface requirements that were already  agreed upon.

According to Christopher, all the three aircraft will be similar. The Air Force has no immediate plans to acquire more platforms of similar kind. But, considering enquiries from other countries, additional platforms could be procured.

Christopher said, the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) had cleared another proposal for two AWACS that are to be built on an Airbus A330. The total demand is for eight aircraft and the total project cost is about Rs 9,000 crore. The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) clearance is awaited for the project, which could take 84 months to complete.

Christopher said DRDO was looking at optimising defence products for which the advanced versions have been developed, by exporting them to other countries. Besides bringing in economical advantage, it will also help India build its might in the region, he said.

Stressing on experts, he said: “Apart from importing foreign defence goods, if we can make a small change in terms of delivering or exporting some of our defence goods, that will be the happiest moment for the nation.” Here’s how he explained it by taking ‘Pinaka’, a multiple rocket launcher, as an example: “When you have Pinaka Mark-III, the user will have interest on it rather than Mark-l or ll.

So, instead of abandoning l and ll we should produce it at a reasonable cost and export it to neighbouring countries and thereby we can get back the returns of the amount that has gone into their development."

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