INDIA TO HUNT GLOBALLY FOR HOMEGROWN AWACS
By Bulbul Singh
The Indian defense ministry is floating global tenders to select a platform for the Airborne Early Warning and Control Systems, AWACS which the state owned defense agency Defense Research and Development Organisation, DRDO is developing.
The tender is to be floated in the nest one to two months and comes after the cancellation of the Embraer 145 platform of Brazil in June this year. The Indian defense ministry had cancelled DRDO’s suggestion of buying only Embraer’s 145 platform and had ordered a fresh tender. Though Embraer of Brazil will be short listed to participatein the tender, there will half a dozen Global participation for selecting the platform.
Last year the Indian government had approved a DRDO proposal to develop a homegrown AWACS. The approval followed Pakistan’s deal with Sweden for mounting Ericsson’s Erieye radar on Sweden’s Saab 2000 aircraft for use as Early Warning Command and Control Aircraft.
India’s state-owned Center for Airborne Systems, (CABS) at Bangalore had been designated as the nodal agency for the development of the homegrown AWACS.
Three AWACS are to built costing over $500 million by CABS on an imported platform. The primary systems and sub-systems of the mini AWACS will consist of Radar, Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) Interrogator, Microwave Data Link, Electronic Support Measures, Operator Display Consoles with tactical software, Microwave data link and air-to-air voice and data channels. Besides it will also have satellite communication links and search and rescue capabilities.
The payload capacity of the platform would be around 3000 kilograms while the primary and secondary radar, mounted above the fuselage together with its associated electronics and support structures would need around 1000 kilograms. Consequently, around 2000 kilograms will be left for the cabin, mounted hardware of the radar, IFF interrogator, Operator Works stations, ESM systems and Mission crew.
The homegrown AWACS would have an endurance of six to 10 hours, and be able to fly at a height of up to 35,000 feet and the Primary Surveillance Radar on the AWACS will have a detection range of up to 300 kilometers for 2 square meter target. The coverage of the AWACS will be at an Azimuth angle of plus/minus 60 degrees, and have a resolution range of up to 150 meters for extended range.
DRDO’s homegrown AWACS had crashed in 1999 in development stage and the crash was blamed for selecting the Avro HS-748 platform which critics had said was unreliable. The Indian government is trying to get a reliable platform of the AWACS from overseas markets and preferred to go the global tender route rather then select Embraer of Brazil on a single tender basis, said officials in the Indian defense ministry.