New Delhi: India is soon to begin its second phase of indigenous AEW&CS (Airborne Early Warning and Control System) programme. The government has given necessary sanctions for the project.
Disclosing this, the DRDO Chief Dr. V. K. Saraswat in an exclusive interview to Bharat Defence Kavach, told that this project will be called AEW&CS India and will be developed alike the three Phalcon AEW&C systems acquired from Israel.
“For phase-2 of our AEW&CS programme, which we call AEW&CS India, the government has just given necessary sanctions,” Saraswat said, adding that once the clearance is given, DRDO will select a platform based upon the radar configuration. He then also said that full clearance by the government is very much in the process.
To counter threat from the adversaries, DRDO has two pronged approach to build indigenous Airborne Warning & Control System (AWACS) capabilities. In the first phase, DRDO has developed a radar system which will be mounted on board Brazilian Embraer aircraft. Three such aircraft have been acquired and the first of these three will land in India this month end.
The first phase of AWACS will have capability to do surveillance in limited sectors and it will have a limited endurance. “This programme is going on very well. The first aircraft is now landing in India in the last week of July. It will be followed by integration of our radar on board. A dummy radar has already been integrated in Brazil on the platform and we have found that all parameters and integration activities of aircraft have performed beautifully,” he said.
Keeping external threat in mind, the AWACS project is a priority project for DRDO. Two more Embraer145 jet aircraft are coming next year. In the mean while, the indigenous radars are also getting ready for integration on them. Dr. Saraswat told that three of these systems will be completely operational by 2014-15.
DRDO Chief told that the active phased radar working on synthetic aperture mode which is developed indigenously can be comparable to the best in the world. He said that the indigenous radar is Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar. It completely scans electronically; it can take images and send to the ground control centers. It has all the features which an airborne surveillance system should have.
On the AEW&CS India project, Saraswat told that DRDO will be developing a complete 360 degree surveillance system.
“Technology which we have realized for the AWACS programme will be directly applicable in the second phase of the project except that the configuration will be to ensure that we have a 360 degree coverage. It will have larger power and larger reach in terms of the surveillance capability,” he said.
On asking whether the indigenously developed AESA radar could also be integrated with the indigenous light combat aircraft Tejas , Saraswat said, “ The work is already on and the Tejas Mark-2 will have nothing but the AESA radar. In fact recently when I was in our lab LRDE, they showed me 1/8 size of RA which is already operational in the same frequency band delivering certain amount of power with the TR (Transmitter & Receiver) modules. The work on the development of AESA for LCA is on.”
The DRDO developed AESA radar will be of same size and volume of the present radar integrated on Tejas Mark-1. Once the work starts for the Mark-2 of Tejas aircraft, the old radar will be simply replaced by the indigenous AESA radar.
“Now we can configure small as well as large AESA radar. The advantage of AESA is that as you increase the numbers of TR modules, the more power you get,” said Dr, Saraswat.
It is claimed that the Indian AESA radar can be compared with the best in the world in terms of resolution, performance and electronic warfare capability. The basic element of AESA radar which are the TR modules are being produced today by Bharat Electronics and other private industries in India.