AESA radar on Embraer-145 has a range of 350 km, 260-degree coverage
India’s efforts to build its own Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) system crossed a milestone on Wednesday when a fully modified Brazilian Embraer-145 aircraft, on which the system will be installed, arrived on Wednesday night at the HAL airport in Bangalore.
The aircraft, with the indigenous Active Electronic Scanning Array (AESA) radar, will be an “eye in the sky.” The radar can look 240 degrees within a short time and has a range of 350 km. It can track more than 500 targets simultaneously.
Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), with its various laboratories, is spearheading the (AEW&C) system programme.
The aircraft was given an enthusiastic welcome by engineers of the Centre for Airborne Systems (CABS), nodal agency for building the AEW&C system. The CABS is a DRDO facility.
The aircraft and its flight crew from the Indian Air Force and M/s Embraer were given a water cannon salute. They were received by S. Christopher, Director of CABS, and K. Tamil Mani, Chief Executive, Centre for Military Airworthiness and Certification (CEMILAC), Bangalore.
Mr. Christopher is also the Programme Director of the AEW&C system, which has about 1,000 mission system components developed by DRDO laboratories.
The most critical of these is the AESA radar, which is developed by the Electronics and Radar Development Establishment (LRDE), Bangalore, and the antenna called Active Antenna Array Unit (AAAU), made by the CABS.
The radar is the processor part of the AAAU.
While the primary radar mounted on the aircraft is the AESA, the secondary surveillance sensor is the Identification of the Friend or Foe (IFF) system.
“The important modes of operation of the system are surface surveillance and air surveillance,” Mr. Christopher said earlier.
The IFF system was developed by the CABS. The IFF determines whether the target, determined by the primary radar, is a friend or foe.
CABS engineers said it was a challenge for them to integrate the AEW&C system components with the aircraft, which had to be modified.
The AAAU weighed 1.5 tonnes and it had to be mounted on the fuselage without affecting the aircraft’s stability.