NATIONAL

India to get Phalcon AWACS on May 18

Jerusalem: India will get its first ‘eye in the sky,’ the Phalcon Airborne Warning and Control Systems (AWACS), aircraft on May 18, which will provide the Indian Air Force the means to track incoming missiles and look deep into the neighbouring countries without violating any air space.

The first Phalcon was inspected by top Indian Defence officials, who came here to check the specially modified Russian Il-76 aircraft and set May 18 as the delivery date.

“The other two aircraft would be delivered by mid or late 2010, if everything goes on schedule,” defence sources said here on Thursday .

The delivery of the aircraft, bought at $1.1 billion, is almost a year and a half behind schedule.

As per the tripartite deal between India, Russia and Israel, the aircraft should have been delivered by the end of March this year.

India and Israel are reported to be in advanced negotiations for the purchase of three more Phalcon AWACS, which the IAF proposes to integrate with other air and ground assets.

All the six AWACS would be linked with the country’s first military satellite proposed to be launched by mid next year.

The Phalcons will be mounted on Russia delivered Ilyushin-76 aircraft and the technical difficulties involved in integrating the whole system is said to have contributed a good deal to the delay.

All-weather system

The surveillance system will provide the Indian Air Force with intelligence inputs, helping it to maintain air superiority, improve strike capabilities and conduct tactical surveillance. It is an all-weather system capable of logging 60 targets simultaneously and has a range of 400 km. — PTI

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