The "eye in the sky" will be delivered to India in June

The maiden flight of the second fully modified Embraer aircraft for India-developed Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) System took place on April 4 at Sao Jose dos Campos, Sao Paulo in Brazil.

This aircraft will be delivered to India in June 2012. The other mission systems will then be integrated and the mission system flight trials may begin from November 2012.

The mission systems and components, including the dummy Active Antenna Array Unit (AAAU), were fitted onboard an Embraer EMB 2451. The AEW&C System is mounted on top of the plane's fuselage.

India's first AEW&C System, with dummy electronics, made its maiden flight on December 6, 2011 on another modified Embraer from the Sao Jose dos Campos facility.

India will receive the third Embraer by the middle of 2013 to be fitted with the AEW&C System.

The Centre for Air-borne Systems (CABS) in Bangalore that comes under the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), is executing the System with other DRDO laboratories as partners.

CABS, headed by S. Christopher is Director, has developed about 1,000 mission system components for the System.

The Active Electronic Scanning Array (AESA), which is the processor part of the AAAU, has been developed by the Electronics and Radar Development Establishment, a DRDO laboratory in Bangalore. It is the primary sensor for the AEW&C System. It can look 240 degrees within a short time and has a range of 350 km.

It can track more than 500 targets simultaneously.

Two radiating planar arrays, assembled back-to-back and mounted on the fuselage will provide 120 degrees coverage on either side of the AAAU. The secondary surveillance sensor is the Identification of Friend or Foe (IFF) system. It is developed by CABS.

V.K. Saraswat, Scientific Adviser to the Defence Minister and DRDO Director-General, congratulating the project team on the flight, said the modified aircraft had performed well.

Dr. Christopher, who is also the Programme Director of the AEW&C System, said: “The AEW&C System has been developed in a consortium mode with the help of DRDO laboratories and Indian industrial partners. Apart from the external mission systems developed indigenously and fitted on this aircraft, the rest of the internal systems will be integrated with the aircraft on its arrival in India. The DRDO has contracted to procure three EMB 1451 aircraft from Embraer [to be fitted with the indigenous AEW&C systems]…”